While an LMS platform can solve many online learning and assessment problems, you should know that there are different types of LMS platforms. In general, they’re all designed to accomplish the same goals, but there are some slight differences.
Web-Based LMS vs. Installed LMS
In the beginning, organizations had to install LMS software on their own server and maintain it themselves. This involved big setup fees and maintenance agreements. Like most things involving technology, there has been a shift in the industry to move things online. And it makes sense. Web-based LMS platforms involve fewer setup expenses and are maintained by the vendor who created it. That means that the vendor is responsible for developing and improving its technology. Depending on how tech-savvy you are, you’ll want to research which type of LMS is best for you and your organization. More likely, you’ll want to end up with a web-based LMS.
SaaS (Cloud) LMS vs. Hosted LMS
If you choose to go with the web-based LMS, there are generally two options therein – SaaS or Hosted. SaaS is a method of software delivery and licensing in which software is accessed online via a subscription, rather than bought and installed on individual computers. With this option, the vendor who created the LMS controls its security and upgrades. Alternatively, with the hosted LMS, you can host the software on your server and control it (including uptime and security). Hosting the LMS also means that you’re responsible for making any upgrades to the system, as they become available. If you’re not sure which option makes sense for your organization or want more information about these options, give us a call at (800) 460-2575 We can build and customize the system for you and help you with LMS Hosting.
Free vs. Not Free
There are free LMS platforms available, but they typically require that you have someone in-house with technical skills who can customize and manage the software. If you’re willing to spend some money, you can install and setup LMS software with a commercial vendor.
Open Source vs. Closed Source
All LMS software will fall under one of these categories – open source or closed source. Open source refers to software where its original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. This gives LMS administrators the most freedom. Closed source, on the other hand, refers to computer programs whose source code is not published, so when you choose this option, you’re buying into the original program and how it was designed. You’ll be locked into its original settings, which may be okay if you’re looking for a quick and easy system to implement.
Just when you think you have all the technical questions answered, then you have to determine which “brand” LMS you’re going to use. The most well-known LMS platforms are Canvas, Blackboard, and Moodle. Perhaps you used one of these systems when you were in college. Many organizations use these leaders, but more LMS brands are popping up. And in some organizations, where IT skills are prevalent, there might be the option to build a proprietary LMS system. There are several options to consider. Hopefully we can help you ask the right questions and help you find all the information you’re looking for.
If you’re new to the process of LMS installation, it can be overwhelming having to answer all these questions – or to research what some of the terminology even means! We have 10+ years of experience working in different types of LMS systems, and we can guide you through all the decision-making steps. Simply call (800) 460-2575 to get started.