The 5 Best LMSs for Small Business to Keep an Eye On in 2023

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Best LMSs for Small Business
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Just imagine, 66% of CEOs fear talent shortages will constrain their company’s growth, and it’s no wonder why. Global talent shortages have reached a 16-year-high as three in four report that they’re struggling to find the right people to fill positions. 

Another baffling and recalcitrant issue small business executives face is employee resistance to change. Many people feel uncomfortable adapting to new circumstances and adopting any other kinds of transformation in the workplace, and this, of course, should somehow be fixed. 

Fortunately, you can address both of these challenges with a single solution — a learning management system (LMS). The right platform will help you upskill your employees and implement new processes and other changes in your company much faster. 

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the best LMSs for small business, compared them according to the criteria important for small companies, and evaluated these eLearning platforms on a 10-point scale. Continue reading to check out the solutions and choose the one that fits you most. 

  1. iSpring Learn
  2. TalentLMS
  3. LearnUpon
  4. SAP Litmos
  5. SkyPrep

What to Consider When Choosing an LMS for Small Business

All LMSs have much in common — they allow you to store learning content, assign online courses to employees, and keep track of their results. But they also have some crucial differences that may affect your choice. We outline below the key considerations when selecting an LMS for a small business and what opportunities it should give. 

  • Provide guidelines or update employees on new procedures quickly and easily. It’s important for managers to be able to create policy and procedure manuals, and any other kind of operating instructions for employees and verify if they have studied them or not. This will help introduce changes in the workplace quickly and ensure that the entire staff is on the same page.
  • Be aware of employees’ level of knowledge and stay abreast of their progress. To make sure that team members have the necessary knowledge and skills to perform their jobs, you need to assess them with tests regularly. This will also help you identify knowledge gaps and fill them in before they affect work quality or customer care.
  • See if employees match their job requirements and which competencies need improvement to benefit your business. You can identify this by conducting performance reviews. When conducted well, they can help you create a talent pool and build tangible paths for employee growth. Of course, you can buy a separate tool for employee evaluation, but it’s much more convenient to have it integrated in your LMS. 
  • Help new hires feel welcome and become productive as quickly as possible. Onboarding each new employee individually requires a great deal of money and effort. With an LMS, you can create an induction program for each job position once and put it on autopilot.
  • Provide consistent channel training to your partners and certify them. This LMS functionality will be helpful if you have partners that sell your products and would like to have greater success doing so. Opt for a platform that will let you create separate training programs for partners and issue certificates of completion to them.
  • Amass a knowledge base that employees can access 24/7. Every company has documents that should always be at hand — instructions on how to prepare a business trip report, a list of books for professional development, a video on configuring a corporate email account, and more. Instead of using other services for storing these materials, it would be easier to have them all in your LMS.  
  • Launch online training quickly and easily. Small businesses don’t always hire L&D managers who have experience managing corporate training. If this is your case, you need to first choose a cloud-based solution with a simple interface, and then seek out a vendor that provides a customer success service. 

Best Learning Management Systems for Small Business

Now that you know the requirements for your corporate LMS, let’s look at specific solutions and compare them due to the criteria we’ve defined above. 

1. iSpring Learn

iSpring Learn LMS

iSpring Learn is a powerful LMS that provides learners with a great learning experience and helps trainers manage the entire training cycle, from creating eLearning content to automating its delivery, collecting reports, and evaluating results. 

It has twice received one of the most prestigious awards for excellence in technology in the world. The platform was named a gold winner in the “Learning Management Technology for Small- and Medium-Sized Business” category by Brandon Hall in 2018 and 2022. 

Guideline creation

The LMS comes with a built-in tool for creating page-like multimedia courses. The authoring process takes minutes and is like making a post on social media. But here you can divide content into chapters, add lists, quotes, and other engaging blocks, and create quizzes. This tool will come in extremely handy if you need to create a guideline and deliver it to your employees fast. Take a look at this course created in iSpring Learn by a non-professional:

And if you’d like to create professional courses, you can use the integrated iSpring Suite authoring toolkit. Here’s how a course created with iSpring Suite looks:

Knowledge assessment

iSpring Suite also allows you to build interactive quizzes with 14 question types, customized designs, and testing rules. Or, if you need to assess your employees’ knowledge as quickly as possible, you can create a simple quiz with multiple-choice, multiple response, and short answer questions right on the platform. Regardless of the option you choose, the LMS will arrange quiz results into comprehensive reports. 

Performance reviews

iSpring Learn enables you to run 360-degree surveys to evaluate your employees’ performance. It collects feedback from the individuals that an employee works with, from subordinates to managers, and ensures the entire confidentiality of the survey. Once the review is completed, the system analyzes the responses and generates a report.

New hire onboarding

With iSpring Learn, you can put together a general onboarding program for all newcomers or separate programs for different departments and job positions. The platform lets you create learning tracks that include a series of courses. You can specify the order in which your employees should view the content and set deadlines. You don’t even need to assign an onboarding program to each new hire manually. Just set up the rules once and the LMS will enroll all new employees in the program automatically. 

Certification

As with onboarding programs, you can create separate programs for training partners and set up the platform to issue certificates of completion. You can use a certificate template from iSpring Learn or upload your own. 

Knowledge base

The LMS has a knowledge base section where you and your colleagues can upload all relevant materials. The system supports a wide range of file types, including HTML5, SCORM, PPT, PDF, DOC, XLS, MP3, and MP4.

Easy LMS implementation

iSpring Learn has an intuitive interface, so you’ll master the platform quickly. Besides, iSpring has a dedicated customer success team that will help you get the system up and running in no time. They’ll guide you through each stage of eLearning implementation: from a pilot project to an analysis of the results. 

Our evaluation of the LMS 

Guideline creationKnowledge assessmentPerformance reviewsNew hire onboardingCertificationKnowledge baseEase of implementation
1095810610

Overall score: 58

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2. TalentLMS

TalentLMS

TalentLMS is another easy-to-use learning platform that boasts a fairly rich functionality. It’s a single platform for creating and delivering courses and monitoring learner results. 

Guideline creation

The platform doesn’t feature a tool for building interactive courses but it allows you to create articles with images that may be sufficient if you need to provide your employees with a guideline quickly. It also has an audio recording tool so you can share important information vocally. 

If you’d like to create more advanced learning content, you might need an additional course creation tool. For example, you may opt for iSpring Page, which allows you to create page-like interactive courses and publish them to SCORM for your LMS. 

Knowledge assessment

The LMS has a built-in tool for creating tests. You can build quizzes with five question types and customized testing rules. The system enables you to add duration to your test, set the passing score, shuffle questions and possible answers, and more. 

Performance reviews

There is no performance appraisal tool. 

New hire onboarding

Like iSpring Learn, TalentLMS allows you to set up learning paths for creating different training programs, including onboarding courses. You can specify the order in which your learners will complete their courses, define how the score will be calculated, and when the program is considered completed. The system lets you track your new hire’s progress at every step with on-demand reporting.

Certification

You can award your partners with customized certificates each time they complete training. Certificates can also be set to expire after specified periods of time. That’s useful if you want your partners to retake courses periodically to update their knowledge.

Knowledge base

There is no knowledge base section. 

Easy LMS implementation

TalentLMS is easy to set up and use. It offers customer success as a part of its personalized service for customers on Annual Premium and Enterprise plans. A dedicated success manager will learn your training needs, resources, and goals and help you use TalentLMS to achieve the results you want.

Our evaluation of the LMS 

Guideline creationKnowledge assessmentPerformance reviewsNew hire onboardingCertificationKnowledge baseEase of implementation
570810010

Overall score: 40

Also read: A Credible Alternative to TalentLMS – iSpring Learn

3. LearnUpon

LearnUpon LMS

LearnUpon represents itself as a centralized training solution designed to support and drive success for employees, partners, and customers. 

Guideline creation

Similar to TalentLMS, LearnUpon doesn’t have a built-in tool for creating interactive courses but it lets you build so-called Text and image modules that let you type in or insert text, embed images and videos, and build custom tables. 

Knowledge assessment

If you’d like to test your employees’ knowledge, you can do so right on the platform. The process is pretty straightforward: pick from six question type templates (True/False, Pick one, Multiple correct, Order list, Match list, Fill in the blanks), customize it with your question and answer options, and set the rules: passing score, number of attempts allowed, and more.

Performance reviews

There is no performance appraisal tool. 

New hire onboarding

The platform enables you to use Learning Paths to build structured training programs for your new hires. You can define a specific sequence of courses or let your employees choose the order of completion on their own, and add time frames for completion. The LMS also lets you connect it to your HR system so you can automate everyday onboarding tasks. 

Certification

LearnUpon allows you to centralize and standardize partner training. You can create a separate learning portal for your partners, fill it with the necessary content and see how they’re learning with out-of-the-box reports. Once your partners complete a training program, they can be awarded with personalized certificates. You can use automated processes to set training reminders, re-enrollment dates, and recertification timelines.

Knowledge base

You can upload Resources to the platform, which can include documents and videos that are available to your employees beyond any course they may be enrolled in. Resources are shared through the portal library, or by a direct link. To make them easier to find, you can add portal categories. 

Easy LMS implementation

Like the abovementioned LMSs, LearnUpon is quite easy to use. Besides, no matter which pricing plan you choose, it comes with Customer Success, which empowers you to optimize learning and hit long-term goals, and an Implementation Consultant who helps you launch the LMS without a hitch.

Our evaluation of the LMS 

Guideline creationKnowledge assessmentPerformance reviewsNew hire onboardingCertificationKnowledge baseEase of implementation
570810510

Overall score: 45

4. SAP Litmos

SAP Litmos LMS

SAP Litmos describes itself as an LMS that provides everything that might be needed to manage an entire training program from a single centralized environment. It unifies virtual, classroom, mobile, and social learning.

Guideline creation

SAP Litmos features the Content Author module that allows you to create dynamic and visually appealing SCORM content right on the platform and deliver it to learners quickly. You can choose from among different components like texts, pictures, headings, etc., and combine them to get a single course. The tool also comes with ready-made page templates that make content authoring even easier and faster.

Knowledge assessment

There’s also a module for creating assessments. You can build quizzes with seven question types, including multiple-choice, hotspot, and sequence questions. The tool provides a wide range of quiz settings. For example, you can set a specific weighted value for each question, decide if you want to show feedback information, and enable answer hints. 

Performance reviews

There is no performance appraisal tool in the LMS. But it comes as a part of another company product, SAP Success Factors. This is a complete solution for human resources that includes tools for employee experience management, core HR and payroll, talent management, and more. 

New hire onboarding

With SAP Litmos, you can create training programs for your new employees by stringing together multiple courses in logical groupings. You can define the order in which your employees will take courses and set due dates for each course. 

Certification

The LMS allows you to add a certificate to any course or learning path. This will then be issued to the learner as a PDF upon successful completion. You can choose a ready-made template or upload your own. 

Knowledge base

As with LearnUpon, there’s no separate Knowledge base section. But if you’d like to add materials that need to be available outside of courses that learners are enrolled in, you can add them to the Additional References section. It supports most common file types and is limited to 250MB per file.

Easy LMS implementation

SAP Litmos boasts a simple UX-driven design in both admin and learner roles. As for customer success services, the vendor doesn’t provide any information about it on its website. So, customers will probably have to handle any issues regarding launching the LMS on their own. 

Our evaluation of the LMS 

Guideline creationKnowledge assessmentPerformance reviewsNew hire onboardingCertificationKnowledge baseEase of implementation
710081058

Overall score: 48

5. SkyPrep 

SkyPrep LMS

SkyPrep is an easy-to-use LMS that has all the basic functionality for employee training — course authoring and delivery, conducting ILT sessions, and reporting. 

Guideline creation

The LMS has a Content Builder that allows you to create courses from ready-made text-based blocks: lists, quotes, maps, and more. The authoring process is pretty easy — you just need to select a block you like on the right and then drag it to your article and edit text/replace image. Finished content can’t be exported to SCORM and downloaded.

Knowledge assessment

There’s also a basic quiz making tool with 4 question types supported: multiple-choice, true or false, fill in the blank, and short answer. All questions that you create are added to a single question bank so you can reuse them later. The tool enables you to set point values and add hints and feedback.

Performance reviews

SkyPrep has no performance appraisal tool but there’s a so-called Skills Tracking suite that contains two items: skills and competencies. Used together, they let you track what your employees are proficient in easily. You can set the skills and the number of points that are awarded for successful completion of courses, assessments, or learning paths. They are then used to define what your employees are competent in. Each competency may include several skills. 

New hire onboarding

Multiple courses can be combined in Learning Paths, which can be considered as training programs. So, you build an onboarding program for all your new hires or each department or job position and enroll newcomers in them. There are not many differences in terms of possibilities here as compared to other LMSs mentioned above.

Certification

You can train your partners and award them with a certificate of completion when they finish a course or an entire training program. Like many others, the LMS enables you to upload your own HTML certificate of completion or use the default one.

Knowledge base

SkyPrep features a Learner Resource Center in which you can store all reference files, manuals, and other important files. Your employees can view content in this section at any time.

Easy LMS implementation

The platform has a simple user interface, so almost anyone can use it. The vendor says nothing about helping clients to implement the LMS on its site, so perhaps customers will have to handle this on their own. 

Our evaluation of the LMS 

Guideline creationKnowledge assessmentPerformance reviewsNew hire onboardingCertificationKnowledge baseEase of implementation
108581058

Overall score: 54

Our LMS Evaluation Summary Chart

Here you can see a detailed comparison chart of the best LMSs for small business and how we rated them according to their capabilities. 

LMS Evaluation Summary Chart
 Guideline creationKnowledge assessmentPerformance reviewsNew hire onboardingNew hire onboardingKnowledge baseEase of implementationOverall score
1. iSpring Learn109581061058
2. TalentLMS57081001040
3. LearnUpon57081051045
4. SAP Litmos71008105848
5. SkyPrep10858105854

FAQ

Here you’ll find the most frequently asked questions related to learning management systems. 

How should you choose an LMS for a small business?

In this article, we’ve outlined the most typical requirements for an LMS that’s going to be used in a small company. But, of course, you need to decide which LMS capabilities are must-haves and which are nice-to-haves based on your needs. Then use a comparison chart to narrow down your options according to what matters to you. Once you’ve short-listed a few, make use of their free trials to test drive them in real life or book a demo of the LMS.

Also read: How to Choose an LMS: A 5-Step Guide

How can you estimate the cost of an LMS?

Of course, an LMS’s capabilities are what will define your choice of platform. Still, pricing is also a major factor in the competitive force. Since pricing models vary significantly, you need to understand how they differ and which model is best suited for you. Check out our LMS pricing guide to find out how much your LMS will really cost you.

Conclusion

Managing any business requires a great deal of energy and resources that might not always be available to you. As for small businesses that focus on sticking to a budget and sustaining themselves, they often keep training on the back burner. Even though they offer some kind of training, lots of small businesses do without a learning platform. And this is unfortunate because an LMS can help them develop and thrive. 

Looking for a great platform that will let you train your employees, customers, and partners effectively? Opt for the iSpring Learn LMS. Sign up for a demo of the LMS now and our experts will show you how iSpring Learn will help you make training in your company a breeze.