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8 Best Open Source LMS Solutions of 2024

AI is changing the landscape for businesses in every industry. At the same time, the new generation of employees is demanding more opportunities for professional growth and development. 

By using a learning management system (LMS) to deliver best-in-class training and education, you can simultaneously close skill gaps and future-proof your organization while also attracting top-tier talent. You can also use an LMS to educate your customers, leading to higher customer satisfaction, increased customer retention, and improved product adoption. 

There are various types of learning management systems, such as open-source vs. closed-source options. Using an open-source LMS helps you save money while giving you more freedom to customize the software around your company’s needs. 

Learn more about what makes an LMS open-source and the potential benefits of choosing an open-source LMS for your business.

We’ll review eight of the best open-source learning management systems to consider in 2024. If you’ve been wondering whether an open-source platform is a good fit for your organization, this overview is for you. 

What is an open-source LMS? 

To understand what an open-source LMS is and how it works, there are two concepts you need to know: open-source software and learning management systems. We’ll define both of these concepts below, and then compare open-source LMSs against closed-source (proprietary) and cloud-based (hosted) learning management systems. 

What does open-source mean?

Open-source is a category of software that uses publicly available code. Anyone can access and modify the code, which allows users to collaborate and share ideas easily. 

Open-source software can be used to build websites (like Joomla), edit images (like GIMP), edit audio (like Audacity), create text documents (like Open Office), and accomplish other tasks—including training and educating your employees, partners, and customers.

Due to its affordability and accessibility, many organizations opt to use open-source software instead of closed-source software (also known as proprietary software). 

For example, many businesses use the open-source content management system WordPress to publish and edit their blog posts, landing pages, and other site content. 

What is a learning management system (LMS)? 

An LMS provides a centralized platform for all types of eLearning content, from mobile-friendly training courses to articles, videos, quizzes, and discussion forums. 

For example, the Learning Cloud from WorkRamp is an all-in-one LMS for all your employee and customer learning needs. It allows you to centralize employee training and customer learning on a single platform.

An LMS is not just a place to store content—it’s also a platform for creating content. Businesses can use an LMS like the Learning Cloud to create and deploy training for internal and external audiences. 

Some examples include, but aren’t limited to: 

When you combine these two concepts, you get an open-source LMS: a learning management system that anyone can freely access, modify, and use. 

Since any developer can make changes to the source code, organizations can easily customize the platform to suit their specific needs—for instance, creating custom branded dashboards. 

Open-source LMS vs. proprietary (closed-source)

While open-source software is generally free for public use and modification, closed-source or proprietary software charges licensing fees and product subscriptions. The main benefit is that proprietary LMSs come with a higher degree of technical support since the vendor is responsible for maintenance. 

On the other hand, proprietary LMSs often have limitations when it comes to customization—an area where open-source LMSs excel. When using a proprietary LMS, organizations may not be able to modify certain aspects of the system or add new features, which can limit flexibility and adaptability. 

We’ll discuss the flexibility and customizability of open-source platforms later, but first, let’s compare hosted or cloud-based LMSs against self-hosted LMSs. 

Open-source LMS (self-hosted) vs. cloud-based (hosted) 

Open-source LMSs are typically (but not always) self-hosted, which means that organizations need to install and manage the software on their own servers or cloud infrastructure. 

This gives organizations full control over the LMS, including data privacy and security. However, it also means that organizations are responsible for system maintenance, updates, and backups—and, consequently, need more technical expertise. 

Cloud-based LMSs, also known as hosted LMSs or software-as-a-service (SaaS) LMSs, are learning management systems hosted and managed by a third-party provider, such as WorkRamp, Docebo, or TalentLMS. Organizations simply access the LMS through a web browser. If any technical issues occur, they can rely on the provider for support, eliminating the need to install, maintain, or configure the system. 

The cloud-based LMS provider handles system updates, data backup, and security. However, organizations may have limited control over system configuration and customization options depending on which LMS they choose. 

By combining secure, cloud-based hosting with a highly customizable layout, the Learning Cloud delivers the best of both worlds. It gives you the flexibility to create tailor-made content without requiring detailed technical knowledge. With no-code, custom CSS, and Javascript options, you can easily design a learner experience that aligns with every detail of your branding.

When choosing between different LMS categories, organizations need to consider their specific requirements, budget, and IT resources. 

Self-hosted LMSs potentially offer more flexibility and control but require technical expertise and resources for installation and maintenance. Cloud-based LMSs offer ease of use and convenience, but some may have limitations in terms of customization.

Why choose an open-source LMS? 

There are several reasons to consider choosing an open-source LMS instead of using closed-source or proprietary software. 

Here are three of the main advantages of using an open-source learning management system: 

  • Collaboration — It facilitates communication between learners, instructors, and admins
  • Personalization — It can be customized to meet your organization’s evolving needs  
  • Affordability — It offers a cost-effective, budget-friendly option for managing large volumes of content  

Easy collaboration 

Open-source LMSs provide a platform for effective collaboration and communication between learners and admins. For example, while each platform differs, they often come with built-in communication tools like discussion forums, chat features, and messaging systems. 

Using these tools, learners can interact with instructors and peers, ask questions, and share ideas. This fosters a sense of community and engagement, enhancing the learning experience.

And it isn’t just learners who benefit: from an IT perspective, admins can easily manage users, courses, and assignments. Depending on the platform, they can also track learners’ progress, monitor achievements, and provide personalized feedback. 

Open-source LMSs also offer reporting and analytics features, allowing admins to gain insights into learners’ performance and identify areas for improvement. This saves money on training by efficiently targeting skill gaps while ensuring your team develops the skills they need to perform successfully. 

Customization and modifications

One of the key advantages of open-source learning management systems is that they can be customized. 

For example, your organization can modify the system to match your branding, workflows, and learning objectives. Admins can modify the user interface, create custom reports, and develop plugins or extensions to enhance the functionality of the LMS. 

You can also integrate the LMS with other systems you use, such as sales software, like Salesforce, HR software, like BambooHR, and the communication tools you use, like Zoom or Slack). 

This high degree of customizability enables you to create a personalized learning experience for customers, partners, and employees.

Affordability 

You need software that will deliver the maximum value within your budget. Open-source software is typically free or low-cost, making it an attractive option for many organizations. 

While open-source software is generally free to use, it’s important to note that various expenses can be associated with support and implementation, such as costs to manage or host the platform. Additionally, some open-source platforms charge for premium or add-on features beyond what’s available through the basic free version. 

Despite these potential expenses, open-source platforms generally provide an affordable option for organizations in need of a cost-efficient LMS.

8 best open-source learning management systems in 2024

Not sure which learning management system is the right fit for your organization’s training and education goals—or L&D budget? 

To help jumpstart your search, we’ve compiled eight of the best open-source LMS platforms for businesses in 2024, including a summary of each platform, a list of key features, and pricing information. 

Here are eight open-source LMS options to consider: 

  1. WorkRamp LMS
  2. Canvas LMS 
  3. Moodle (Moodle LMS, Moodle Workplace, MoodleCloud) 
  4. Open LMS
  5. Open edX 
  6. Masteriyo LMS
  7. Forma LMS
  8. ILIAS 

1. WorkRamp LMS

WorkRamp is a cloud-based, all-in-one LMS for small, midsize, and enterprise businesses. You can use WorkRamp to train and upskill employees and empower and educate customers and partners. 

Some internal and external use cases for WorkRamp include leadership development, workplace safety training, compliance training, sales training, customer education, and more. 

WorkRamp enables you to: 

  • Analyze and measure the impact of your training programs 
  • Close skill gaps on your team 
  • Deliver mobile learning resources that are available anytime, anywhere 
  • Design and build eLearning courses for employees, customers, and partners 
  • Engage learners with personalized, role- and industry-specific content
  • Leverage eLearning trends, like microlearning, to drive engagement and improve learner performance  
  • Maintain compliance with state and federal laws and industry regulations 
  • Promote a culture of learning at your workplace 
  • Track learner progress, skill mastery, and engagement 

Key LMS Features: 

  • Advanced reporting and custom dashboards to show ROI of learning programs
  • Best-in-class content authoring and creation capabilities for admins, including AI Assist  
  • Blended learning capabilities to engage learners including text, video, live events, and quizzing
  • Intuitive, user-friendly interface for admins and learners
  • Mobile-friendly for on-the-go learning
  • Custom branding capabilities to drive brand advocacy
  • Badging and certifications for customers and partners to highlight achievements and milestones 
  • Integrations with Intercom, Outlook, Zendesk, Google Analytics, and more

Pricing: WorkRamp pricing varies depending on which package your organization chooses. 

Whether your goal is to reskill employees, train your sales team, develop the next generation of leaders, or boost product adoption by educating customers, WorkRamp provides the features you need. 

Discover more about WorkRamp’s Employee Learning Cloud and Customer Learning Cloud

2. Canvas LMS

Canvas LMS describes itself as the world’s #1 Learning Management System for schools, colleges, and universities, so it’s no surprise that the platform is geared toward  professors and college students. 

The platform empowers educators and learners to communicate in real-time, share and review assignments, manage course content and other learning materials, contribute to group discussions, and more.

Key Features:

  • Course creation and management capabilities 
  • Interactive course analytics to monitor learner engagement 
  • Learner quizzes and assessments 
  • Mobile learning
  • Social media integrations 
  • Supports text, videos, audio files, and other types of content 

Pricing: According to its website, A Canvas Free-for-Teacher account has the essential features and functionality of Canvas LMS, even if your institution is not a Canvas customer. Pricing for additional features or other types of accounts is not currently listed. 

3. Moodle

Moodle is an open-source LMS for online teaching, training, and learning. According to its website, the platform offers a wide range of inbuilt features, plugins, and integrations, allowing users to create any course or learning environment they envision. 

Note that Moodle LMS, which is geared toward students and educators, is separate from Moodle Workplace, which is an enterprise learning and training platform. Both are separate from MoodleCloud—which, as the name implies, is hosted for you in the cloud. 

Key Features: 

  • Learner assessments and quizzes
  • Learner progress tracking 
  • Mobile app 
  • Social learning and collaboration tools
  • Third-party integrations 

Pricing: Moodle pricing varies depending on which solutions and features you choose. 

For example, MoodleCloud plans range anywhere from $120/year (Starter) to $1,680/year (Standard). 

4. Open LMS

Open LMS actually consists of three separate platforms:

  • Open LMS Edu (for higher education organizations)
  • Open LMS Work (for businesses)
  • Totara Learn LMS (an open-source enterprise LMS for corporate learning) 

While Totara is built for enterprises, Open LMS Work is suitable for small and midsize organizations. 

Key Features: 

  • Course authoring tools
  • Customizable reports  
  • eCommerce integrations 
  • Mobile app 
  • Push notifications for learners 
  • Synchronous and asynchronous learning tools 
  • Training tracking tools 

Pricing: Open LMS offers three pricing plans: Starter 100 (up to 100 active users), starting at $1,800 per year; Starter 250 (up to 250 active users), starting at $3,750 per year; and Starter 500 (up to 500 active users), starting at $4,800 per year. A free 30-day trial of Open LMS is available. 

5. Open edX

Co-created by Harvard and MIT, Open edX allows schools and other organizations to create online campuses, instructor-led courses, degree programs, and self-paced courses, according to its website. 

The platform can also be used to build certification programs, test learners via assessments, and launch hybrid degree or micro-credential programs. 

Key Features: 

  • Cloud-based hosting or on-premise hosting available 
  • Content management capabilities 
  • Course-authoring tools 
  • Integrations with content management systems like WordPress and Drupal 
  • Learner progress- and activity-tracking tools 
  • SCORM compliance  
  • Single sign-on (SSO) 

Pricing: Open edX offers a Self-Managed version and Fully-Managed version. According to the platform’s website, The Open edX platform provides a fully managed and branded experience through a monthly subscription model. A free 30-day trial is available. 

6. Masteriyo LMS

Masteriyo LMS enables users to design and sell online courses using WordPress. Organizations can use Masteriyo LMS to edit and manage courses, offer certificates for course completion, monitor learner progress, assign and grade work, and more. 

Key Features: 

  • Built-in Paypal support 
  • Drag-and-drop course-building tools 
  • Integrates with WordPress, WooCommerce, and more
  • Interactive quiz builder 
  • Secure login and course registration
  • Tools for creating certification programs

Pricing: Masteriyo LMS offers four plans: a free version, which provides minimal features to get you started; the Starter plan, which is $149 per year or $599 for a lifetime plan; the Growth plan, which is $299 per year or $1,199 for a lifetime plan; and the ThemeGrill Agency option, which is $299 per year or $999 for a lifetime plan and includes other ThemeGrill products like Everest Forms.

7. Forma LMS

Forma LMS describes itself as an open source Learning Management System built around the specific needs of corporate training. 

Organizations can use Forma LMS to provide training for employees, partners, dealers, and sellers and create and sell off-the-shelf courses. 

The platform also features a wide range of plugins, including two-factor authentication, deadline reminders, screen sharing, and more. 

Key Features: 

  • Automatic notifications, such as course registration notifications
  • Forums and messaging features 
  • SCORM compatibility 
  • Skill gap analysis reports 
  • Third-party integrations 
  • User management features, such as user-specific permissions
  • Webinars and video conferencing 

Pricing: According to its website, Forma LMS is free to use. 

8. ILIAS 

ILIAS is an open-source LMS designed for universities, public agencies, and businesses. Available for desktop and mobile, ILIAS enables users to easily create and share eLearning content, including courses, blogs, surveys, learning modules, tests, and more. 

One potential advantage of ILIAS is its ease of implementation. According to the platform’s website, ILIAS runs in your browser once installed. No extra software is needed for trainers, learners, or assistants.

Key Features: 

  • Blog and content creation tools 
  • Collaboration tools, including mail and chat features
  • Course-authoring and management tools 
  • Learner assessments 
  • Learning modules
  • SCORM compliant 
  • User permissions

Pricing: ILIAS is generally free to use. According to its website, should you have any special requirements, their service providers can help you implement them. 

Choose the best open-source LMS

Scale learning, upskill your teams, enable customers, and grow your business faster—with one versatile, powerful eLearning platform. 

The Learning Cloud is purpose-built to engage learners, drive performance, and help your organization reach its goals.  

Discover how WorkRamp can elevate employee and customer learning. Schedule a free, personalized demo today to start exploring the platform.

Complete the form for a custom demo.



Emily Homrok

WorkRamp Contributor
Emily Homrok is a freelance copywriter with over eight years of writing experience. She graduated from Drexel University in 2011.

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