Online Training Software: Open Source and Supported
If you’re looking for a learning management system for your company, you have two broad options: an open-source LMS, or a supported LMS. Lessonly is a licensed learning management system whereas Moodle is an open-source learning management system. When it comes to learning in a business, an open-source LMS has shown to provide more challenges than successes compared to that of a licensed one.
By licensed, we mean that a client purchases Lessonly through yearly contracts, and we assist them in the implementation and running of Lessonly, all while constantly improving the product on our end. Lessonly’s online training software is maintained and improved by a team of developers, we have a client experience team at the ready to help any clients with issues, and even a creative learning department to help clients put together the best lessons for learning.
Though originally an open-source course management system, platforms like Moodle is now a free online learning management system geared mostly towards the education system. Schools and universities use it to administer and manage assignments as well as some courses. It has received a lot of praise as a free LMS, but ‘free’ still has its caveats. Moodle offers open-source LMS SCORM compliancy but insists that reporting and grading be done within Moodle. SCORM is a process that content goes through to agree with the LMS in place. That is, the content has to be created outside of SCORM, then sent through SCORM to be delivered to the LMS. It’s a bit outdated and isn’t exactly necessary anymore. In business, if you were to create a Moodle wiki for company learning, you’d still be stuck with this odd Moodle SCORM dilemma of testing with or without SCORM compliant content.
The Difference Between an Open Source Learning Management System and a Licensed One
A lot of open-source learning management systems are free, but there are caveats. Generally, the open-source LMS software takes the form of a free LMS software download. It’s downloaded by the organization and structured from there. When we say structured, we mean that open source elearning software is only the framework of the free LMS. Open source means that much of the basic code is given to you to use, but when it comes to customization, growth, and issues, you’re on your own.
Open source online training course software is essentially a good starting point for a teacher in a classroom, but not a learning administrator in charge of learning for an entire company. Open-source software provides a dashboard for posting information and a discussion board for communication, but it falls short in tracking, customization, and some user experience. Ultimately, online training software open source systems aren’t for businesses in dire need of efficient elearning. They’re hard to scale due to the customization, the user interface and experience is rough, and the lack of tracking capabilities makes it difficult to note patterns or improve learning practices.
In business, free learning management systems with an open-source elearning software require a team to maintain. That is, hiring a few developers to customize the code, having an internal learning team to construct and disseminate learning internally, and a team for outside learner support. Furthermore, free LMS hosting is free because you have to host it on your servers, i.e., you need to own servers or purchase server space from someone else.
An open-source LMS system, in turn, is not free. You’d have to use time and money to hire a staff to customize and maintain it. Growing businesses that simply need to use that time to get current and new staff on board can’t take on the bulkiness of building onto free LMS software.
As a growing business, implementing a system like this that’s supposedly free, could cost upwards to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Before you look into free learning management system software, consider the hidden costs. Make sure you already have the resources in place before signing up. More often than not, it’s growing businesses that need more than a free LMS. WordPress isn’t cutting it either, and even the WordPress LMS plugins require code maintenance on your end.
Any LMS comparison will show that the purchase of a licensed LMS will always prove more cost-efficient for budding businesses. For example, a free LMS for small businesses could work to keep things steady, but if you want your business to grow, having a platform you don’t have to worry about supporting saves you significant time and money.
All in all, open-source software is not free. It takes a lot of work to customize it to fit your brand. It’s not a one-person job. You’ll need a team on deck to fix any issues, and the usability is never going to be that of a supported, licensed LMS.
Lessonly’s licensed software allows teams to grow without worrying about the retention of the employees they’re onboarding. Using Lessonly for elearning significantly minimizes costs compared to free online LMS software.