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Online Training Software: Open Source and Supported

If you’re looking for a learning management system for your company, you have two broad options: an open-source LMS, or a supported LMS. Lessonly is a licensed learning management system whereas Moodle is an open-source learning management system. When it comes to learning in a business, an open-source LMS has shown to provide more challenges than successes compared to that of a licensed one.

By licensed, we mean that a client purchases Lessonly through yearly contracts, and we assist them in the implementation and running of Lessonly, all while constantly improving the product on our end. Lessonly’s online training software is maintained and improved by a team of developers, we have a client experience team at the ready to help any clients with issues, and even a creative learning department to help clients put together the best lessons for learning.

Though originally an open-source course management system, platforms like Moodle is now a free online learning management system geared mostly towards the education system. Schools and universities use it to administer and manage assignments as well as some courses. It has received a lot of praise as a free LMS, but ‘free’ still has its caveats. Moodle offers open-source LMS SCORM compliancy but insists that reporting and grading be done within Moodle. SCORM is a process that content goes through to agree with the LMS in place. That is, the content has to be created outside of SCORM, then sent through SCORM to be delivered to the LMS. It’s a bit outdated and isn’t exactly necessary anymore. In business, if you were to create a Moodle wiki for company learning, you’d still be stuck with this odd Moodle SCORM dilemma of testing with or without SCORM compliant content.

The Difference Between an Open Source Learning Management System and a Licensed One

A lot of open-source learning management systems are free, but there are caveats. Generally, the open-source LMS software takes the form of a free LMS software download. It’s downloaded by the organization and structured from there. When we say structured, we mean that open source elearning software is only the framework of the free LMS. Open source means that much of the basic code is given to you to use, but when it comes to customization, growth, and issues, you’re on your own.

Open source online training course software is essentially a good starting point for a teacher in a classroom, but not a learning administrator in charge of learning for an entire company. Open-source software provides a dashboard for posting information and a discussion board for communication, but it falls short in tracking, customization, and some user experience. Ultimately, online training software open source systems aren’t for businesses in dire need of efficient elearning. They’re hard to scale due to the customization, the user interface and experience is rough, and the lack of tracking capabilities makes it difficult to note patterns or improve learning practices.

In business, free learning management systems with an open-source elearning software require a team to maintain. That is, hiring a few developers to customize the code, having an internal learning team to construct and disseminate learning internally, and a team for outside learner support. Furthermore, free LMS hosting is free because you have to host it on your servers, i.e., you need to own servers or purchase server space from someone else.

An open-source LMS system, in turn, is not free. You’d have to use time and money to hire a staff to customize and maintain it. Growing businesses that simply need to use that time to get current and new staff on board can’t take on the bulkiness of building onto free LMS software.

As a growing business, implementing a system like this that’s supposedly free, could cost upwards to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Before you look into free learning management system software, consider the hidden costs. Make sure you already have the resources in place before signing up. More often than not, it’s growing businesses that need more than a free LMS. WordPress isn’t cutting it either, and even the WordPress LMS plugins require code maintenance on your end.

Any LMS comparison will show that the purchase of a licensed LMS will always prove more cost-efficient for budding businesses. For example, a free LMS for small businesses could work to keep things steady, but if you want your business to grow, having a platform you don’t have to worry about supporting saves you significant time and money.

All in all, open-source software is not free. It takes a lot of work to customize it to fit your brand. It’s not a one-person job. You’ll need a team on deck to fix any issues, and the usability is never going to be that of a supported, licensed LMS.

Lessonly’s licensed software allows teams to grow without worrying about the retention of the employees they’re onboarding. Using Lessonly for elearning significantly minimizes costs compared to free online LMS software.

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Why Lessonly Isn’t an Open Source LMS

Lessonly is a software-as-a-service (SaaS), because we know, that like Dylan sang, “The times, they are a-changin’.” With learning system software, there’s always something to be updated or added, and we don’t want to leave it up to clients to figure out, get behind. We embrace feedback because we credit a lot of our product’s progress to it. What one client wants we ask if other clients would want, then we develop from there. Lessonly remains a licensed LMS because we don’t want the burden of implementing, housing, and maintaining an LMS to be on our clients’ shoulders. We want to help our clients reach their learning goals faster.

LMS Software Reviews

If by now you’ve decided to forego the open-source e-learning LMS for a licensed one then you should take the time to compare licensed LMSs. It’s important to know where your business is now and where you want it to be after elearning. Elearning software reviews can help you make the right choice, but knowing what you want in features, functionality, and what you’re willing to spend will drive your buying decision.

Software comparison sites, like G2Crowd, are great to look at when creating a list of wants and not wants in LMS software. These sites review software, collect testimonials, show some available features and functions, and even provide demos. Testimonials are important to look at. Though initially, they may seem biased, many of the reviews are quite honest. And as someone searching for an LMS for their company, you will more than likely find a similar situation without even having to talk to a sales rep! Not that sales reps are bad, but initiating a call as a prospect who is informed will help you make the best buying decision faster. With reviews, the best elearning software will have some features and functions listed to differentiate themselves from competitors, making it easier to check things off your list. Also, if the software offers a user demo, then you can test out the user experience.

Having online training software reviews at hand can help dwindle your options before contacting a sales representative. When you do make that call, the rep will likely ask a lot of questions to discover your needs. On the same token, you’ll probably discover more needs you didn’t know you had. Our advice here is to take notes on the pros and cons of each software — and the service.

An important thing to remember when talking with the representative of your choices is communication. The best representative will help you discover needs, show the ins and outs of the software, and ultimately let you know if the software is a good fit for your company. At Lessonly we emphasize that last part. Our discovery questions asked by sales reps are to benefit both sides of the sales process. We know when a client is a right fit and when they’re not.

Training and Learning with Lessonly

At Lessonly, we’re happy to help our clients grow. Not only does our software make it easy, but our team does too.

Lessonly’s elearning software is equipped with the tools to build, deliver, and track effective training throughout an organization. With elearning, you can onboard employees with essential information, and keep the information updated with ease. Our team sticks by on the other line to help you kick off your first lessons and answer questions or solve any issues along the way.

From the administrative end of Lessonly, admins are able the create, disseminate, and track training for any team or individual. Lessonly’s user interface is intuitive, making all of these things easy to execute and understand.

Delivering lessons and courses is seamless. After adding all your learners into Lessonly, you can type in a user to assign or even assign an entire group. Groups work great for learning in various departments. For instance, if you only need the sales department to take a lesson, you can organize them into a group labeled so, and with one click of a box, all of those learners are assigned that lesson.

When creating a lesson, admins can incorporate text and rich media from all your favorite platforms — no SCORM necessary. Our ideal lessons have a media mix of text, photos, videos, and GIFs! We suggest keeping lessons under 15 minutes and sprinkling a few laughs within. Quiz questions can be incorporated throughout the lesson to add another element to tracking.

Lessonly lets you track employee learning and engagement. With a lesson, you can see when a learner entered the lessons, how much progress they’ve made, and receive a detailed progress report every day that tells you so. With quizzing in a lesson, you can not only measure the retention of employees, but you can also analyze your testing methods. For example, if I noticed that every learner was missing a certain question on Lessonly, I would know to rephrase the questions or create a separate lesson elaborating on that topic.

On top of bulk onboarding, Lessonly is great to use for ongoing training. Administrators can update a lesson by simply logging in and changing it. Information is saved automatically. You don’t have to worry about buying ink and paper for superfluous, untrackable learning packets, or attaching PDFs in emails that might never be opened. A great example of course refreshing is for annual certification training. If members of your team have to take a test every year to get re-certified in something, by using Lessonly, you won’t get caught up in logistics; you update the lesson with any new information and check the name boxes or group box of learners.

As a learner, you can take lessons at your convenience before a deadline. Lessonly works on laptops, smartphones, and tablets. That way, you learn in your best environment. No longer do you have to dread sitting at a computer for two hours, taking a bland, outdated test in a room you are sure was once a closet. You can check your progress on a lesson and if an admin adds an open-ended question to the lesson, learners can provide honest feedback. This helps open up a dialogue between learners and teachers. It helps improve learning and innovation within the company, all as efficiently as ever imagined.

Lessonly software is split up into several different service packages. Regardless, the Lessonly team is comprised of account executives, creatives, developers, and client experience experts to help you, as the client, get your team up-to-speed and keep them there. Take a tour of Lessonly today.