Patrick runs a small culinary school where he and several cooking instructors release cooking manuals on different cuisines every month on their website. Now, they are planning to create learning materials and share them via online medium. Now, Patrick and some of his techie friends are convinced that running their program via a free open source learning management system is the way to go. The hurdle now is, what is the best free open source LMS suited for their project?
“Hey there! I am currently on the lookout for some LMS software to help me with my ongoing project. I intend to use a free open source learning management system for the initial stages of my endeavor and hopefully upgrade to paid LMS solutions once I see positive signs of growth. I hope to grow this endeavor into a small business in the future. But for now, I am looking at free stuff to help me get started. Maybe you could name some of the best free open source learning management systems? That will really help me a great deal. Thanks!”
Hi Patrick! They say the best things in life are free. While that saying may hold true for certain circumstances, there good stuffs out there that you need to pay for before you can actually enjoy them. Fortunately, there are free open source learning management systems out there. With a vast selection in front of you, picking one will be a taxing task.
That said, I have jotted down three top picks from an extensive list of popular and widely used free open source LMS platforms. Read on and check them out.
If you are looking for a free open source learning management system, then you would probably like Moodle. Considered as the alpha dog of free open source LMS solutions, Moodle boasts of a simple construct, clean and user-friendly interface, easy navigation, and loads of features that you would expect from a free open source LMS.
Not only is Moodle very popular among small enterprises and startups, this open source LMS is widely employed even by huge corporations for e-learning and internal training. Big companies such as Cisco and Subaru are known to use Moodle for instructional, training, and personnel development purposes, a clear indication that Moodle is corporate worthy, even with its “FREE” label.
Moodle’s functionalities include student dashboards, progress tracking, customizable themes, third party plug-ins compatibility, and multimedia class support. It also offers PayPal support, particularly in selling web based courses. Because it is the leading free open source, Moodle enjoys vast professional support from its huge communities of users which include business professionals, software specialists, and IT experts.
A perfect option for small companies with up to 100 users, Latitude Learning is another widely used open source LMS solution that comes at a “freemium” plan. Free up to 100 learners, Latitude Learning offers basic LMS functionalities but can be upgraded with optional add-ons for $1,000. This particular LMS solution is designed to handle corporate training and has been the go-to open source LMS for huge companies such as Chrysler, GM and the American Board of Emergency Medicine.
Latitude Learning goes will with third party applications and tools including Webex and GoToMeeting, whiteboards, and supports nine languages. Additional features like eCommerce can be purchased.
Over three million people use Latitude Learning, which means that this LMS is scalable. But you are better off looking for something else as Latitude Learning is built to be a corporate application rather than be useful for academic learning. Another downer is that additional options and upgrades can be costly and that it still does not have mobile support.
A free open source LMS that also has a paid version, eFront carries the features that a small startup needs, including course builders, internal communications, and integrated forums. Support is above good, mainly because eFront has support forums that are very active and keen on helping users with technical issues. However, eFront does not have some features that may boost your business’ potential, such as social media integration, certification, and eCommerce functionality.
Bear in mind that these picks are based on my personal preferences. I would still recommend further research and reading intelligent articles and comparison on free open source LMS platforms. Gather all the information that you can and from there, make the most intelligent decision in accordance to what your business requires.
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