COMPARISON

8 Best Open Source LMS Platforms 2024 (Compared) 

Last Updated: 14 mins By: ThemeGrill Author

Are you struggling to select the perfect open source learning management system (LMS)? Are you wondering which is the best open source LMS? You’re in the right place!

Open source LMS are platforms that are freely accessible to everyone and can be modified by anyone. Hence, such LMS platforms give you full flexibility to customize your LMS site.

Fortunately, several open source LMS platforms are available today. However, with so many choices, finding the right one can be overwhelming.

That’s why we’ve come up with this article. In this article, we’re going to simplify your decision-making process by comparing the top 8 open source LMS platforms.

So, let’s explore the best open source LMS platforms for your organization. 

In a hurry? Have a glance at the top three open source LMS:

Top Picks

1st

Masteriyo LMS
Features:

Created Using React JS

Distraction-free Mode

It works with any Theme

Incorporates ChatGPT

2nd

Canvas Official Logo
Canvas
Features:

Responsive Design

Cloud-based

Mobile Apps Available

Accepts Audio & Video Content

3rd

Moodle Open Source LMS Logo
Moodle
Features:

Highly Flexible

Scalable to any size

Offers Addons and Plugins

Robust, Secure, and Private

What is an Open Source LMS platform? 

Open source refers to any program or piece of software with publicly available source code. Hence, the code is accessible easily for collaboration, modification, and distribution.

One such example is WordPress. It’s a free, open source website-building platform allowing you to build a website easily

LMS, an acronym for Learning Management System, is a software application that lets you create an online course or an online learning website.

It’s basically for storing educational materials such as videos, presentations, courses, lessons, etc., and making them accessible to learners.  

What is Learning Management System

So, an open source LMS platform is freely accessible learning management software that allows you to create an LMS website. You can use the software for free, modify it as needed, and redistribute it to others. 

Open source software is licensed under the GNU, i.e., General Public License (GNU GPL or GPL). This license guarantees end users the freedom to share, study, run, and modify the software. 

Examples of open source LMS software include WordPress LMS, Masteriyo, Canvas, Open edX, Moodle, and others.


Closed Source vs Open Source LMS Platforms 

Besides open source, other types of LMS software also exist, like closed-source, proprietary, and commercial.

Those are the online learning management systems owned by people or organizations. They can’t be modified by other users and require payment to use.  

Thus, the open source LMS has flexibility in almost all aspects compared to the closed-source LMS.  

Some of the benefits of using open source LMS software over others are as follows:  

  • Full control over your content  
  • Allows you to maintain your brand integrity  
  • Provides you with full development capabilities  
  • Cost-effectiveness, as the base software is available freely 
  • Access to the community involved in providing valuable improvements 

Best of all, the open source LMS can adapt to the changing world of eLearning technology, providing you with complete control of your content.


How do Choose the Right Open Source LMS Platform? 

Before choosing an open source LMS platform, there are a few things that you need to consider. So, let’s find out what they are: 

  • Know Your Niche: LMSs are used for education, training, onboarding, and more. Different LMSs are built for each niche. So, if you want to use the LMS for training your employees or solely for teaching students, choose the LMS accordingly. Although popular LMSs these days support almost all niches, it’s better to be alert.  
  • User Interface: The user interface is an important aspect of LMS for both teachers and learners. If it is simple and easy to navigate, your website’s visitors will become your regular audience. At the same time, a good user interface also makes it easy to get started.  
  • Audience Size: LMS supports a range of audiences; while some are suitable for small audiences, others are suitable for large audiences. So, know your audience size and choose the LMS to fulfill your demand.  
  • Technical Requirements: Technical requirements include many things like supported content types, grading systems, analytics, certifications, customer support, security, and so on. Therefore, you must first list what you want in your course or training and choose the LMS that meets your requirements. 

Please read our article on must-have learning management system features for a detailed guide.


8 Best Open Source LMS Platforms 2024 (Compared) 

Now that we know much more about LMS, let’s examine the list of the best open source LMS platforms and their pros and cons in detail. 

1. Masteriyo LMS  

Masteriyo LMS is an open source learning management system that allows the easy creation of online learning websites.

Masteriyo LMS One of the Best Open Source LMS

Created using modern React JS, the plugin offers the most user-friendly experience to you and the learners on your site. 

Following WordPress.org’s guidelines, Masteriyo LMS is fully open source LMS software released under the General Public License (GPL).

This means the plugin is freely available for everyone to use, modify, and redistribute without paying a penny.  

It seamlessly incorporates OpenAI’s ChatGPT, facilitating course creation with the help of artificial intelligence.

You can download the plugin from WordPress.org or Masteriyo.com and install it on your WordPress site. Meanwhile, if you don’t have a WordPress site setup already, you should do that first.

Don’t worry. It’s pretty simple. First, register a domain name and choose a reliable WordPress hosting like Bluehost or Kinsta. Then, you can install WordPress on your hosting account.

Similarly, install the best WordPress LMS theme. After that, you can set up Masteriyo LMS and start using it to have your LMS site ready in no time.

Key Features 

  • Drag-and-drop course builder
  • Interactive quiz builder available 
  • Allows to sell courses with built-in support for payment gateway 
  • It works seamlessly with all WordPress themes.
  • Certificate builder is available to award attractive certificates to learners 
  • Allows to add sections and lessons in the course 

Pros  

  • Customizable and extendable with add-ons 
  • Distraction-free mode to keep students engaged 
  • Progress bar is available to show learners their progress on the course
  • There is No third-party plugin dependency 

Cons 

  • It requires you to build your website on WordPress  

2. Canvas   

Canvas is an open source LMS software built to make teaching and learning easier for everyone. It supports customization and is adaptable and reliable.

Canvas LMS - Open Source LMS

It also has top-rated mobile apps that are accessible to both teachers and students. It gives them access to what they need on the go.

Besides, the community powered by Canvas is one of the largest, most connected, and most active, where you can communicate with other users.  

Canvas lets you add video and audio and allows you to interact face-to-face with the learners. Its responsive design makes the system run across all screen sizes without any complication.

Canvas LMS offers everything in a single place: course materials, grades, communication tools, and actionable insights.  

Key Features 

  • Interactive analytics are available for admin
  • 99.9% system uptime 
  • Easy upload and sharing of information 
  • Provides personalized learning 
  • Canvas API is available to link other apps and tools 
  • Accepts unlimited file size for audio and video contents 

Pros  

  • Cloud-based LMS
  • There are a large number of options for customization 
  • Sends alerts and notifications for important events 
  • Easy for third-party integration 

Cons  

  • It might be difficult to get started 
  • The presence of some useless tabs might bother you
  • Frequent issues while navigating and editing 

3. Moodle   

Next on the list of best open source LMS platforms is Moodle, a customizable online learning management system.

Moodle Open Source LMS

Developed in the early 2000s, it has improved teaching and learning outcomes with its feature-rich platform. It has powerful add-ons that you can integrate into your site.  

It’s suitable for K–12, higher education, and vocational training. The platform can be used to implement a fully remote or blended learning approach. 

Besides, it lets you use custom themes to give your learners the feel of your brand color and logo. 

You also have complete control over everything, including data privacy, security, and the site’s functionality.

Key Features 

  • Translated into 100+ languages 
  • Offline access with Moodle app 
  • Badges and certificates are available 
  • Generates custom reports and analysis 
  • Calendar, messaging, and notifications for learners 
  • Highly secure

Pros  

  • Completely free 
  • A large number of add-ons and plugins 
  • Vast online community of user groups 
  • Cross-browser compatibility 

Cons  

  • Might not suit a large mass of learners 
  • The admin interface is quite difficult to get familiar with 
  • Lacks flexibility while creating the course

Also, read our article on Moodle alternatives.


4. Open edX   

Open edX is one of the most successful open source learning management systems, trusted by top organizations such as EDX, IBM, Microsoft, Harvard, MIT, etc.

Open edX Official Site

As of the date the article was written, more than 50K courses have been deployed through various sites worldwide. The platform supports 53 languages.  

The LMS has a feature to review content before publishing to avoid errors. Besides, you can use interactive content like adaptive video streaming, animation, AR, VR, and more.  

As mentioned on Open edX’s official site, the Times Higher Education World University report states that nine of the top 10 universities use Open edX. This proves that the LMS is trustworthy and flexible.

Key Features 

  • Customizable and easy to use 
  • Real-time data analysis 
  • Interactive forums and discussion boards 
  • Cross-device compatibility 
  • Supports live video conferencing 
  • Allows to use in the cloud as well as on-premise

Pros  

  • Wide choice of content types 
  • Provides verified certificates on course completion 
  • Let you create courses as well as degree programs 

Cons  

  • Limited third-party integration 
  • Lacks course structure 

5. Forma LMS   

Forma LMS is a modern, responsive, open source LMS with an engaging user interface. It’s specially designed to deliver online or corporate training courses for companies.

Forma LMS

You can easily organize your courses into multiple categories, catalogs, and coursepaths. Similarly, it allows you to manage multiple clients and brands with custom layouts.

Additionally, you can integrate it with any intranet software and extend its functionalities using a wide range of plugins.  

You can easily create custom reports and add as many features as you require to meet your needs. It offers plenty of configuration and automation options for course management.  

Key Features 

  • Complete control of the courses 
  • Allows the generation of PDF certificates after course completion 
  • Allows for the creation of webinars and virtual classrooms 
  • Integrates eCommerce features 
  • Automatic notifications for important events, like user registration 
  • It is easy to create countless custom reports

Pros 

  • Responsive layout 
  • Easy to customize and integrate 
  • Suitable for businesses of all sizes  

Cons  

  • It might be difficult to integrate different languages 
  • Lacks in customer service 

6. Open LMS    

Like its name suggests, Open LMS is an open source LMS that empowers organizations and workplaces to meet their learning needs.

Open LMS An Open Source Learning Management System

It’s available in two forms: Open LMS EDU (LMS for higher education) and Open LMS Work (LMS for Business).

It opens the door to flexibility for you to adapt to open source LMS without merchant and commitment pressure.

Open LMS also provides industry-leading customer support, with the largest support team working 24/7. 

Meanwhile, it hosts clients through Amazon Web Service (AWS), which guarantees security and uptime for users worldwide.

Other sources, such as an online resource library, a community site, the Open LMS Academy, and a YouTube channel, are also available to guide you.  

Key Features 

  • Moodle-based LMS platform 
  • Easy integration with leading education-related products 
  • Simple and intuitive user navigation experience 
  • Personalized learning experiences 
  • Full mobile and offline access 
  • Scalable to meet the needs of any-sized institution 

Pros  

  • Highly reliable  
  • Quicker to get started 
  • Continuous innovation 

Cons  

  • It takes more loading times 

7. Odoo     

Oddo is another most-loved open source learning management system, with over 7 million users.

Odoo Open Source Learning Management System

The platform lets you add all kinds of content to the courses, like videos, infographics, external links, etc.

At the same time, it provides access to over 1 million royalty-free images and graphics to make your content look more vibrant.  

Quizzes, points, badges, and Q&A are other elements you can easily add to engage students and show their progress. This can lead to meaningful learning experiences and increased attention and focus.

You can also make learners engage with your community through forums, leaderboards, emails, and reviews. 

It enhances your content by including external links at the conclusion, providing your students with supplementary resources.

Key Features 

  • Self-paced learning is available
  • Provides drag-and-drop interface 
  • Quizzes and reviews are available 
  • Promote tool helps optimize SEO by suggesting keywords
  • Analytics are available for participation, feedback, and revenue reports 
  • Students can instantly check their answers

Pros  

  • Easy navigation with a simple interface 
  • Robust features 
  • Enough customization options 
  • Easy third-party integration 

Cons  

  • Difficult to maintain 
  • Long waiting time for support 
  • Lack of proper guidance in documentation 
  • Frequent bugs 

8. ATutor   

Lastly, we have ATutor for comparison among the best open source LMS platforms.

ATutor LMS Open Source LMS

It’s designed with accessibility in mind and a wide range of features to ensure more user participation.

Instructors can easily assemble, distribute, and import prepackaged content to conduct the online course.  

For better security, it encrypts passwords, and forgotten passwords are reset instead of retrieving them through email.

You can also use CAPTCHA, email confirmation, and SSL to protect system security and user data.

On the other hand, ATutor users have an inbox through which they can exchange private messages with other users. Users can also export and save messages.

Key Features 

  • Installation and update of the LMS instant
  • Provides individual content usage statistics 
  • Allows to create work groups for various purposes manually 
  • The content editor is available in both HTML and plain text form 
  • Allows to send bulk emails to course members and assistants 
  • Developer documentation is available for those wishing to develop core features 

Pros  

  • Easy to install, configure, and run 
  • Available in both open source and hosted versions 

Cons  

  • GUI is old-fashioned 
  • Supports only web platform 

Wrapping Up with the Best Open Source LMS Platform! 

And that concludes our in-depth comparison between the eight best open source LMS platforms.

Each of the LMS options we’ve discussed has unique strengths and capabilities, so consider your specific requirements before making your choice.

We understand that choosing the ideal platform can be daunting, but after reading this article, you might have already chosen your favorite.

However, if you’re seeking a user-friendly and cost-effective solution for creating a feature-rich education website, we recommend giving Masteriyo LMS a closer look.

This WordPress plugin simplifies the process and also offers budget-friendly premium versions.

If you’re in the process of creating an LMS website with WordPress, don’t forget to explore our article on creating an LMS website in WordPress.

For more such articles, be sure to visit our blog page.

Also, you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook to stay updated on our latest content.

We value your input, so please feel free to leave a comment if you have any additional questions or suggestions. We’re here to help you make the most of your LMS journey!

Disclaimer: Some of the links in the post may be affiliate links. So if you purchase anything using the link, we will earn affiliate commission.
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ThemeGrill Author

We are a team of SEO copywriters and editors who work both individually and in the team. ThemeGrill author is where one of the editors here is working on one project personally. Write to us @themegrill_blog in Twitter.

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