A learning management system (LMS) is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, and reporting of training programs, classroom and online events, e-learning programs, and training content. An LMS, based on the focus can also be called as e-Learning software, Virtual learning environment (VLE), Course management system (CMS), learning delivery platform, course delivery systems etc.
A virtual learning environment (VLE) is also a prominent term which stands out. It is an education system based on the Web, that models conventional real-world education by integrating a set of equivalent virtual concepts for tests, homework, classes, classrooms and perhaps even museums and other external academic resources. It normally uses Web 2.0 tools for 2-way interaction, and includes a content management system.
LMS is a software for planning, delivering, and managing learning events within an organization, including online, virtual classroom, and instructor-led courses. For example, an LMS can simplify global certification efforts, enable entities to align learning initiatives with strategic goals, and provide a means of enterprise-level skills management. The focus of an LMS is to manage students, keeping track of their progress and performance across all types of training activities. It performs administrative tasks, such as reporting to instructors, HR and other ERP systems but it is not used to create course content.
In this article we shall be reviewing the following open source LMS/e-Learning software.
A robust LMS should be able to do the following:
- Centralize and automate administration
- Use self-service and self-guided services
- Assemble and deliver learning content rapidly
- Consolidate training initiatives on a scalable web-based platform
- Support portability and standards
- Personalize content and enable knowledge reuse
One should be able to use LMS for hosting
- Pre-recorded content in text, picture, and multimedia.
- Interactive contents like flash, SCORM
- Live classroom or pre-recorded classroom
LMS should help the educators with
- Assessing the student/end users
- Taking feed backs
- Letting them submit and share their work
- Collaborate with the peers
- Track student progress
- Generate reports
LMS should have following to help the students/learners
- Institutive design and easy navigation
- Preferably built on web 2.0 (e-learning 2.0)
- Supports application integration with other content management applications
- Access from different mobile devices
We see a good number of LMS out in the market. Moodle is probably the most prominent one. There are other open source LMS available. The beauty of open source LMS/e-Learning software is with the right support/skills, which you may start using them with no licensing fee, however you may want to take support from the community or work with vendors who has experience dealing with these products for assurance and support.
Following are some of the highlighted one, which I think can be useful going through if you are thinking of deploying one for your institution/business
eFront is designed to assist with the creation of online learning communities while offering various opportunities for collaboration and interaction through an icon-based user interface. The platform offers tools for content creation, tests building, assignments management, reporting, internal messaging, forum, chat, surveys, calendar and others. It is a SCORM 1.2 certified and SCORM 2004 / 4th edition compliant (commercial). As you would see they have an interesting list of modules but not all of them are available in the open source model.
Dokeos is a company dedicated to open source Learning Management Systems. Its main product is a SCORM-compliant open source learning suite used by multinational companies, government agencies and universities. Provides modules like SCORM Courses authoring, template based document producing, mind map, scenarios, podcast, tests (different type), forum, chat, group, survey, gradebook, ldap/openid authentication. Supports converting Office documents into Learning Paths. Offers user synchronisation with HR management systems such as Oracle and SAP.
Claroline Aimed more at the educational than corporate arena. It is a space for training and collaboration. It supports creating course, publishing documents, forums, learning path, announcement, agenda, assignments, wiki and reporting etc. It also supports SCORM.
ATutor is used in various contexts, including online course management, continuing professional development for teachers, career development, and academic research. Atutor has divided their focus into three different areas. ATutor Course Management, AContent Content Management, ATutor Social Networking, AChecker Accessibility. It also supports for SCORM, IMS etc.
ILIAS offers a lot of features to design and run online-courses, create learning content, offer assessments and exercises, run surveys and support communication and cooperation among users. The list looks impressive. It contains modules like Course Management, Groups, Virtual Classroom, Chat, Discussion Forums, Text Messaging SMS, General Notification System, Learning and Content Management, Files Glossaries, HTML Learning Modules, Media, SCORM, Wiki, Exercise, Survey, Test.
OLAT is an acronym for Online Learning And Training. OLAT has support for various E-learning standards such as IMS (IMS Content Packaging, IMS QTI), and SCORM 1.2. It also has the standard modules for learning delivery and course management like Content managing, Forums, File discussions, Quizzes, Wikis, Blogs, Podcast, Surveys, Chat, Submission and more
Sakai is a community of academic institutions, commercial organizations and individuals who work together to develop a common Collaboration and Learning Environment (CLE). The Sakai CLE is a free, community source. This Community is focused on learning management, research collaboration, project collaboration, e-portfolio. Sakai uses tools,s list of tools for maintaining LMS learning management platform such as presentation, profile, schedule, assignment, gradebook, assessment, syllabus, forms, glossary, reports, wiki and more. It is built on Java.
.LRN Originally developed at MIT, .LRN claims to be the most widely adopted enterprise class open source LMS solution.
openelms Open elms is a collaborative project designed to create an open-source Learning Management System for use in businesses and training organizations. Open Elms is also aimed solely at business users, therefore it is a highly focused product and not cluttered with unnecessary collaborative educational tools. They have a big list of corporate client base. Openelms provides a list of SCORM based course for businesses like on health and safety, systems security etc.
Fedena is developed on Ruby on Rails framework. It is a web 2.0 application being developed by Foradian Technologies. Fedena is used by the Education Department of Government of Kerala to automate the system and process of over 15,000 schools. Fedena is more than just a LMS/VLE. It also has ERP like features to manage a school. LMS side includes modules like, Video Conference, Online Examination, Moodle Integration, Library, Task, Transportation, Discussion, Poll, Instant Fee, Assignment, Data Management, Placement, Custom Report, Photo Gallery, Inventor etc.
RRP like features in Fedena includes Courses and Batches, User Management, Human Resources, School Calendar, Student Attendance, Finance, Timetable, Student Information, Examination, Event Management, Multiple Dashboards, Employee Login, Student Admission, Teacher Login, News Management, Student/Parent Login etc.
And the Bonus One!!
WeBWorK It is an open-source online homework system for math and sciences courses. It is probably not a compete LMS system. It is primarily used for mathematics and science. It allows students to complete their homework over the web, and receive instantaneous feedback as to the correctness of their responses. WeBWorK uses a Perl-based language called PG to specify exercises which allows instructors a great deal of flexibility in how exercises are presented.
This blog was to identify some noteworthy Moodle alternatives, in case you have missed out here is a bit about “The Moodle”
Moodle abbreviation for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment is a GPL/free open source e-learning software platform. It is an LMS/VLE. Probably the most widely used LMS out there. It is flexible, comes with many standard modules and has a big community support.
Some of the key features in Moodle: User and group management, course management, reporting and grading. Key modules modules: lesson, wiki, resources, forum, assignment, quiz, chat, glossary, survey, workshop, feedback, ISM, SCORM.
Tag: e-Learning software, lms, top 10, comparison, feature list, open source, Moodle, business, education,