What Is an eLearning Platform?
In general, an eLearning platform is considered to be an information system that schools, universities, and corporations use for teaching/training. However, there’s no agreement of what specific features it should definitely have.
Some consider it to be more like a content management system (CMS), some see it as a learning management system (LMS), others regard an eLearning platform as a computer-supported collaborative learning system (CSCLS), and still, others see it as a virtual community of students, tutors, and professors using knowledge management (KM) strategies.
In this article, we’ll consider an eLearning platform to be an LMS and will define it as a software for managing online training. An LMS automates the most boring and tedious parts of training such as grading, processing statistics, and generating reports. Plus, regarding corporate training, it allows you to educate your employees without leaving the office, managing all the processes right from your work computer. As for employees, they can learn anytime, anywhere online, even through their smartphones.
How to Choose an eLearning Platform
With over 800 learning management systems competing in the learning marketplace, it can be quite challenging to choose one solution, especially if it is your first eLearning platform. The first thing you need to do when selecting a platform is to address your needs. Here are three important points to consider when making a choice:
Academic vs. corporate
Both corporate and academic eLearning platforms allow you to automate some training processes and provide access to learning materials online, although they have some significant differences. At the very least, they have distinct organizational structures, scheduling units, and tracking and assessment systems. Besides, corporate LMSs are more flexible and allow for easy and frequent content updates.
Industry and use cases
There may be some special requirements for an LMS, depending on your business industry. For example, if you’re a healthcare organization, you might need an LMS that can be integrated with a hospital management system and ACCME web services.
When choosing an eLearning platform, you also need to know if it can cover all of your use cases. For instance, can it help you automate employee onboarding or does it fit for channel partner training? For example, when training business partners, you might want to create groups of external learners who will have access to specific learning materials but will be limited in terms of viewing other content and using other LMS capabilities.
Well, that’s quite a broad field of research. It can be a useful hack to make a list of LMS requirements and then find out if one or another vendor provides the features you need. To help you narrow the field, we prepared a list of common learning management system requirements, so you can check them out.
Now, let’s take a detailed look at 5 top-performing eLearning platforms on the market in 2020.
|eLearning platform||Type of solution||Best for|
|1. iSpring Learn LMS||A cloud-based LMS that is easy to use but features advanced user and content management, powerful authoring capabilities, and a strong reporting engine.||Works well for small to medium-size businesses that need to both quickly create and share eLearning courses and conduct blended training using a single platform.|
|2. TalentLMS||An intuitive LMS that has all the basic options expected with an LMS and also features e-commerce and Zapier integration.||Fits the companies that are looking for a cost-effective LMS for training employees, partners, or customers. It is also a good choice for those who are planning to sell online courses.|
|3. Docebo||A learning management system that offers ample opportunities for both formal and informal learning.||A great LMS for those who want to engage their employees in social learning. However, since its interface is quite complicated and requires customization, it won’t be a perfect fit for those who don’t have any prior experience with LMSs.|
|4. Adobe Captivate Prime||A cloud-based learning platform that stands out with its advanced social learning capabilities, skill management, and extensive reporting.||A good solution for large companies that need to train channel partners and provide multilingual eLearning.|
|5. SAP Litmos||An eLearning platform for business that combines an LMS with a robust course library.||Particularly suited for organizations looking to integrate their training with CRMs and HR systems and combine off-the-shelf courses with their custom eLearning.|
iSpring Learn is a cloud-based LMS that is easy-to-use but full of great functions that allow you to create and deliver training programs fast. It covers all training needs, from new hire onboarding to building complex step-by-step programs for ongoing training, and supports not only bare eLearning through online courses, but also instructor-led training via Zoom web conferencing.
Unlike many other eLearning platforms, iSpring Learn comes with great authoring capabilities. It has a built-in tool for creating simple courses right in a browser and an integrated full-featured authoring toolkit, iSpring Suite. The latter allows you to build engaging interactive courses, dialogue simulations, quizzes, and video tutorials. The seamless integration with iSpring Learn ensures that all your learning contents will work perfectly after uploading it to the LMS.
Other great advantages of iSpring Learn include a robust reporting engine, perfect user experience, and native mobile apps for iOS and Android that allow users to learn on the go.
- Learning tracks for building step-by-step training programs and automating the learning process
- A built-in authoring tool that lets you create adaptive eLearning courses right in a browser
- Integration with the powerful course authoring iSpring Suite toolkit that is included for free
- An advanced reporting system with a visual dashboard and flexible customization
- Beautiful native mobile app with the option of offline learning
- Integration with Zoom for online meetings and instructor-led training
- Simple modern interface
- Gamification with leaderboards, badges, and points
- Great technical support
- No xAPI, PENS, or LTI support
- No integration with CRM or HR systems available
- No discussion boards for social learning
Best suited for
iSpring Learn LMS works well for small to medium-sized businesses that need to both quickly create and deliver eLearning courses and conduct blended training using a single platform.
There are several pricing plans that depend on how many learners sign in to the LMS per month – starting from $3.66/user/month for up to 100 active users.
TalentLMS is an intuitive cost-effective LMS that has all the basic options expected from an LMS and also features e-commerce and Zapier integration.
It has basic content authoring options – allows you to create plain courses from various content types, including PPT presentations, videos, and SCORM packages. You can also build quizzes and surveys and make them a part of your course. Since the system has robust e-commerce capabilities, you can not only assign your courses to employees but also sell them right from the platform.
TalentLMS is also good for social learning – there are discussion boards that can help your learners and trainers stay in touch. It also provides great integration capabilities – the platform can connect up to 2,000 different web services and apps via Zapier, Zoom, Bamboo HR, and LinkedIn Certifications.
- Built-in tools for creating simple courses, quizzes, and surveys right in a browser
- An ability to switch between different user roles quickly
- Instructor-led training can be provided via integration with webinar services
- Different branches can have individual URL and custom design
- Branches with custom URL and different design can be created inside the main account
- Custom reports and scheduled reports
- Robust e-commerce capabilities
- Integrations with Zapier and some other web services
- Intuitive but outdated interface
- Reports can’t provide real analytical feedback on your learners’ progress
- Some useful features like Custom Reports are only available in the expensive plan
Best suited for
TalentLMS fits companies that are looking for a cost-effective LMS for training employees, partners, or customers. It is also a good choice for those who are planning to sell online courses.
The pricing depends on how many active learners use the LMS each month. The initial tier begins from $59/user/month for up to 40 users. There’s also a free plan limited to 5 users and 10 courses.
Docebo is a learning management system that offers ample opportunities for both formal and informal learning.
The LMS allows you to upload different content types including SCORM and xAPI courses and has a simple built-in content editor that allows you to create HTML pages from text and media. All the content uploaded is analyzed by the system’s AI and tagged with keywords. It helps learners find the materials they need much more quickly. This option can be especially helpful when surfing the Marketplace, a part of the platform where users can buy ready-made courses on various topics created by professional course developers. The system also allows you to create quizzes, though it may be quite challenging because of a clunky user interface.
Besides discovering and sharing curated content, Docebo enables learners to record demos, lectures, webinars, and calls directly in the system and share them with peers and ask questions to the experts and receive answers. However, all these options are available for an additional fee.
- Advanced content management with AI technology
- A built-in quiz editor with 8 question types and a screen recorder
- Great support for social learning with an ability to create and share learner-generated content
- An ability to localize the user portal to 40+ different languages
- A rich library of ready-to-go courses
- Custom reports and scheduled reports
- A great number of branding options; it’s possible even to create a mobile learning app with custom design
- 30+ available integrations with CRM, HRIS, HCM, Content Authoring, Video Conferencing tools, and more
- A cumbersome and unintuitive interface that is complex for novice LMS users to use
- Requires much customization for a good learning experience
- Many modules (e.g., “Coach & Share”) and features are only accessible in higher-priced plans
Best suited for
Docebo is a great LMS for those who want to engage their employees in social learning. However, since its interface is quite complicated and requires customization, it won’t be a perfect fit for those who don’t have any prior experience with LMSs or want to launch eLearning fast.
There’s no price listed by the vendor. So, if you need to get details, you need to request a custom quote from their sales team.
Adobe Captivate Prime is a cloud-based learning platform that stands out with its advanced social learning capabilities, skill management, and extensive reporting.
Unlike many other competitors, this LMS allows admins to create and manage external groups – for training business partners, for example. However, Adobe Captivate Prime doesn’t provide any authoring features, so to create the content, you need to buy an additional authoring tool. Still, the LMS has a library of off-the-shelf courses that can be purchased separately. If you work in a multilingual environment, the platform will be a great help as it enables you to make multiple versions of courses in different languages.
The LMS is quite interesting in terms of social learning capabilities. It allows learners to record videos and audios and share them with their colleagues, provides course-specific discussion boards where users can post their questions, and uses a system of skills that can be created by admins and acquired by learners by completing courses.
- A robust reporting engine with graphics and custom and scheduled reports
- Extensive social learning features with an ability to create user-generated content
- A system of skills for increasing learner engagement
- A course catalog that offers a great number of courses on various topics
- Allows managing not only internal learners but also external users, which is helpful for training channel partners
- An ability to create multiple versions of the content in different languages
- Integrations with third-party services, including Zoom, Salesforce, BlueJeans, ADFS, and LinkedIn Learning
- No built-in authoring tools
- Courses available in the content library can be too expensive
- Quite limited branding functionality and a lack of security features
Best suited for
Adobe Captivate Prime is a good solution for large companies that need to train channel partners and provide multilingual eLearning.
The price depends on the maximum number of learners that can sign in with the LMS each month and starts at $4/month per learner. However, to get an exact price, you’ll need to contact Adobe.
SAP Litmos is an eLearning platform for business that combines an LMS with a robust course library and has a decent suite of content authoring features. You can create quizzes and surveys, assemble simple text pages with information, embed content from other websites, and add ready-made courses. The platform also enables learners to record and upload their own videos that can be assessed through an AI engine based on keywords and rate of speech, as well as by coaches or managers.
Then there’s Litmos Heros, which is a course catalog offering a collection of video-based courses on different topics, including personal development, customer service, and IT skills. However, access to the entire library is accessible only with the more expensive pricing plan.
There’s also a lot to unravel about the integrations in Litmos. It is integrated with several webinar platforms, services like Zendesk or BambooHR, and with almost all other web apps via API.
- Simple UX-driven design
- A built-in quiz editor and a tool for authoring simple courses
- A built-in capability to create video assessments
- Off-the-shelf content with Litmos Heroes course library subscription
- A lot of integrations that allow for expanding the functionality of the eLearning platform
- There’s an easy-to-use mobile app that provides access to the same options as the browser version
- An ability to create multiple Brands inside the portal that feature unique learner portal design
- An e-commerce option that allows you to run your own course catalog on the Web
- Very limited customization capabilities for user roles
- The course library is separate from the LMS and is not available with a cheaper pricing plan
- Some additional options like Automation Bundle that helps you manage course enrollments need to be purchased separately
Best suited for
SAP Litmos is particularly suited for organizations looking to integrate their training with CRMs and HR systems and combine off-the-shelf courses with their custom eLearning.
No prices are listed on the website. So, if you have any questions about pricing, you’ll need to request a quote from the vendor.
This post took an in-depth look at five eLearning platforms that are a perfect fit for corporate training. All of the solutions may seem very similar at first sight, but each one comes with its own unique capabilities.
Are you looking for a straightforward and user-friendly platform that allows you to launch training in one day and provides great functionality for eLearning content authoring? Get an iSpring Learn LMS free trial. No credit card or corporate email is required.