Open-Source Learning Management Systems: Sakai and Moodle

As education and training become more critical to success, organizations are struggling to find the right blend of people, protocols, and systems to manage their learning programs. During the past 15 years, learning management systems (LMS) have become important for eLearning providers as platforms to handle course registration, content storage and delivery, assessments, administration, and reporting.

The LMS market, however, has remained highly fragmented. No single vendor has gained dominance, and analyst firms that track this industry, such as Bersin & Associates, report that customers can choose from dozens of different providers. Each vendor may target different types of organizations — including multinational corporations, universities, government agencies, and nonprofits — and all have strengths, weaknesses, and costs.

Today, more than 40 percent of U.S. training organizations report that they have an LMS installed, but levels of satisfaction, return on investment, and effectiveness vary, making selecting the right tool for your situation a complex process.

In this environment, open-source LMS solutions have been steadily gaining ground on their commercial counterparts. Many of these open-source platforms got their start in academia, but they have made inroads in the government, nonprofit, and corporate markets. Today, the top open-source LMS options provide:

  • Feature-rich toolsets;
  • Enterprise-grade stability, scalability, and security;
  • A high degree of control and flexibility; and
  • Generally lower long-term costs than commercial options.

This white paper provides an overview to help you decide if an LMS is right for your organization. It will also explore the strengths and weaknesses of open-source LMS solutions overall, and Moodle and Sakai, two of the most popular open-source offerings, in particular. Read the white paper here (pdf).