In the modern world, organizations are increasingly using learning management systems (LMS) for corporate training. However, with the availability of both open-source LMS and commercial LMS, choosing the more appropriate one for your organization can be challenging.
Although leading open-source industry pioneers such as Moodle has dominated eLearning over the past few years, many organizations still prefer proprietary LMS over open-source LMS. In this article, we have assessed both these options and jotted down the factors you must consider before making a decision.
Let’s Understand What An Open-Source LMS Is
Open-source LMS has an open-source code that is downloadable and accessible for free. One of the most popular open-source LMS is Moodle that comes with a feature-rich platform with community support. Although it was designed for academic purpose, Moodle has been increasingly used in corporate training as well. It offers the prospect to implement LMS at a little cost. Hence, small organizations with a limited budget can make effective use of such a platform. With the availability of various online training software, you can create and build online eLearning courses easily and quickly.
Advantages of Open-Source LMS:
Accessibility To Multiple Vendor Support: A commercial LMS restricts you to get the support, service, and maintenance from multiple vendors. As such, you cannot perform internal trouble troubleshooting, unlike in the case of open-source LMS.
Usually developed by a community of practitioners, open-source LMS allows you to share knowledge. You can troubleshoot a problem with assistance from online forums and discussion groups, catering specifically to users.
Highly Customizable: You can design courses according to the unique company objectives and specific quarterly targets or requirements. You get complete control over the content without worrying about underlying features being altered or discontinued.
Cost-Effective: Unlike the licensing cost attached to commercial LMS, an open-source LMS does not include any costs. Although the development and maintenance costs exist, they are relatively lower. Moodle, as an open-source LMS have their partners who provide support to users and the costs are again comparatively lower as that of a licensed LMS.
User-friendly: An open-source LMS is a result of the collaborative efforts of its end-users. Based on the discussions and recommendations between the users, the functionalities of an open-source LMS is developed, and hence it is more user-friendly in nature. You can effortlessly build add-ons and integrate other open-source plug-ins without hampering the files of the core system.
The Hidden Cost Of Open-Source LMS Deployment
Although an open-source LMS is devoid of any license fees, other fees are included in setting up the platform, hosting, arranging storage areas, customizing, upgrading, support, and maintenance. For instance, leading open-source LMS, Moodle requires you to pay for at least two stable upgrades, every year, requiring for added development. You must keep these factors into consideration before jumping into the decision to adopt an open-source LMS. If you find that the advantages of deploying an open-source LMS surpass the costs, you can choose one from the few highly acclaimed open-source LMS platforms available out there.
To summarize, the decision to opt for an open-source LMS purely depends on your organizational requirements and workforce composition. If you have a technical team in your organization, then choosing an open-source LMS is an appropriate choice; however, without a technical team, partnering with an open-source LMS can be a burden. This is where you can choose a commercial LMS that suits your eLearning budget and offers sufficient technical assistance. Looking into the success of a few of the open-source LMS in the past few years, we can say that they are here to stay, providing advantages to organizations both in terms of reducing costs and improving efficiency.