Your employees require guidance at every stage. As new recruits, they need to understand your organizational policies and procedures. As they grow in their position, you'll want them to acquire new skills for their role. And as your company evolves, so will your guiding principles—and all your employees will need to be informed of these changes too.
Learning management systems offer a solution for all of those stages. They allow you to create online courses with rich content, assess employee progress through various assessment types, and track employee progress throughout the courses.
After testing nearly 20 LMS platforms, we've selected the eight best. Read on to see which one will best serve you and your employees.
What Makes a Great LMS?
How we evaluate and test apps
All of our best apps roundups are written by humans who've spent much of their careers using, testing, and writing about software. We spend dozens of hours researching and testing apps, using each app as it's intended to be used and evaluating it against the criteria we set for the category. We're never paid for placement in our articles from any app or for links to any site—we value the trust readers put in us to offer authentic evaluations of the categories and apps we review. For more details on our process, read the full rundown of how we select apps to feature on the Zapier blog.
Learning management systems aren't only used by companies to train their employees. High schools and colleges—both online and traditional—use LMS software to host content, deliver assessments, and manage student data. But for this piece, we've only considered apps that help businesses deliver courses to their employees.
The LMS software solutions covered in this piece meet a number of important criteria:
An easy way to add employees to the training platform
Simple course creation tools that don't require technical skills
The ability to include images and video in the course content
The ability to create assessments
The ability to assign specific courses to employees
Tools to create certificates for employees
Analytics and reporting features to gauge employee progress
Let's take a look at the best learning management systems.
The 8 Best Learning Management Systems to Train Your Employees
TalentLMS (Web, Android, iOS) for pre-built courses
GoToTraining (Web, Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS) for live online training
Coassemble (Web) for visually rich courses
Teamie (Web, Android, iOS) for a social learning experience
[eFront](#eFront LMS) (Web) for skill-gap testing
Lessonly (Web) for practice-based learning
AdaptiveU (Web) for creating a simple training portal
[Litmos LMS](#Litmos LMS) (Web, Android, iOS) for bundling courses into learning paths
TalentLMS (Web, Android, iOS)
Best LMS for pre-built courses
TalentLMS is an all-in-one learning management system that offers flexible course creation features, gamification and certification, and various other learning tools.
But its most valuable offering is an extensive course marketplace. A well-curated library, the marketplace allows you to buy pre-built courses on numerous topics, including sales training, IT skills, workplace safety, customer service, policy and compliance, personal development, communication, health, and project management. There are over 400 courses to choose from. Pick an individual course, or buy a course bundle with access to multiple courses.
Each course is built to engage employees with animated video content and infographics. But if you decide you want to add more to it, TalentLMS allows you to edit and supplement the course to your liking. You can add your own video, audio, images, and other content, reorder the lessons, or add tests and assignments. And even though you're purchasing courses from a marketplace, TalentLMS allows you to customize your portal with your own domain name and logo, or even create your own home page. You get the benefits of customization without having to use the resources to develop courses from scratch.
If you wish to build a course from scratch, the platform accepts audio, video, and plain text and allows you to pull content from YouTube, Flickr, Prezi, Wikipedia, Slideshare, Scribd, and Vimeo. Simply enter a URL, and the text on the page will be available for you to use or edit.
TalentLMS Price: Free for up to five users, 10 courses, and free support; from $39/month (billed annually) for the Small plan that includes 25 users and unlimited courses.
Automate TalentLMS with TalentLMS's Zapier integrations.
GoToTraining (Web, Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS)
Best LMS for live online training
GoToTraining is a part of the communication apps family by LogMeIn, which also includes LogMeIn Rescue, GoToAccess, GoToMeeting, and Grasshopper. Whether you're looking to welcome new employees, review a new feature with your team, or conduct a strategy session, GoToTraining offers the best live online training tools for every scenario.
To conduct or participate in a live training, instructors and employees must download the GoToTraining software on their device.
Before the live training, the instructor will complete the details of the session. The interface will ask if you want to send any pre-session and post-session emails or conduct any tests, evaluations, or polls during the session. If you do intend to use any of these features, you need to create them before the session starts. While the training is in progress, you can share your screen with attendees or share audio and images that you've previously stored in your content library with your employees.
Like many video conferencing apps, GoToTraining allows you to conduct breakout sessions, where two to five attendees can huddle up virtually before reconvening with the larger group. If you plan to conduct a breakout session during your training, be sure to indicate as much when filling in session details. Finally, select the option to create a recording of your training if you plan to share or archive it.
Once you've filled in the particulars of your session, share the registration URL with your team via email or social media. Then, when it's time to start the training, log in to the GoToTraining software on your device (it will appear as a small widget on your screen), and you'll be live. Attendees can join a training session from the web app, desktop app, or mobile app. Options such as hand-raising and chat allow students and trainers to interact during a session. At the end of a training, you'll get access to a detailed report on attendance and any test results. There's even an option to send a certificate of completion to your attendees.
GoToTraining offers the benefits of a fully-featured video conferencing app and an LMS in one, making it the best choice for anyone intending to conduct live, interactive trainings.
GoToTraining Price: From $109/month (billed annually) for the Starter plan that includes up to 25 attendees, online course catalogs, polls, tests and evaluations, the ability to distribute training materials during sessions, recording management, and reporting.
Automate GoToTraining with GoToTraining's Zapier integrations.
Best LMS for visually rich courses
While most learning management systems allow you to add text, images, and video to your courses, Coassemble helps you build a visually appealing course, with presentations and other interactive content to keep employees engaged.
The app is equipped with numerous content templates to help you get started. For example, the presentation templates allow you to create flowcharts, springy lists, drop-tabs, word circles, and slide-in text. This granular level of customization extends to the assessments. There are many full-fledged quiz templates to choose from for every lesson, and the question types include options like spot the mistake, choose the correct image, hotspot, or label a diagram, in addition to more standard question types. To enhance your course further, you can add case studies, slideshows, and images with text overlay.
To get started, drag and drop the template you want to work from, fill in your content, and that's that. Once you publish a course, share its link with team members or embed it on your website.
Coassemble Price: From $149/month for the Author plan that includes unlimited course creation, live chat, free course templates, custom URL, unlimited URL sharing, and 5 seats.
Automate Coassemble with Coassemble's Zapier integrations.
Teamie (Web, Android, iOS)
Best LMS for a social learning experience
If your team learns better together, Teamie will give you the social learning experience they need. You'll create a classroom for course, and each classroom includes its own set of lessons and assessments. The classrooms also contain a Newsfeed: a place for learners and instructors to post discussions, ask questions, or find out if new lessons or assessments have been created. As the instructor, everything you post to a classroom automatically appears as a post in its Newsfeed.
There are two types of Newsfeeds: a central Newsfeed that shows information from all classrooms a learner is enrolled in, and the classroom Newsfeed that displays posts unique to that classroom.
One thing we found particularly compelling about the Teamie Newsfeed: When you post a question for employees, you can choose the Lock Comments option, which prevents employees from seeing their peers' answers until they make a comment of their own. You'll want to gauge if this feels right for your team, but it can certainly prevent confirmation bias.
The social learning continues with the Stories feature within each classroom. With Stories, students can share their knowledge on a topic, describe an experience, or express their thoughts on a classroom-related topic. As opposed to posts in the Newsfeed which are for quick questions or updates, Stories encourage deeper collections of text, images, video, or audio. What's more, employees can collaborate and create Stories together.
Teamie Price: Pricing available on request.
Automate Teamie with Teamie's Zapier integrations.
Best LMS for skill-gap testing
eFront uses skill-gap testing to help you identify which skills your employees need to develop, so they don't spend time and resources on material for skills they've already mastered. This can be helpful in a variety of situations, like being sure new hires are on the same page as the rest of the team and evaluating employee progress.
Creating a skill-gap test in eFront is relatively straightforward. Go to the Skill-gap tests page to add a new test, list the skills it should test, select the users who should take the test, and assign a deadline. eFront even allows you to add questions to your skill-gap test from an existing assessment within your LMS, so you don't need to reinvent the wheel each time.
To better tag the skills being tested, you can a assign a skill to each question. Once users complete a skill-gap test, depending on the results, they'll either be assigned a set of skills or presented with a list of courses to take in order to further develop the required skills.
eFront Price: From $750/month for the Business plan that includes up to 1,000 users.
Automate eFront with eFront's Zapier integrations.
Best LMS for practice-based learning
Assessments can help test an employee's knowledge, but practice makes perfect. Lessonly's practice tools help learners apply their training and get meaningful feedback from their managers, specifically in the sales and customer service departments. With practice sessions, learners can improve their chat skills with customers, practice handling support tickets thoughtfully, learn to deliver effective product presentations, rehearse pitches and customer interactions on video, and compose mock emails to prospects or customers.
When you select the Practice option, you'll see a list of activities you can assign to learners: webcam recording, screen recording, written response, email reply, email composition, chat reply, or ticket handling. For each activity, you can test employees on different criteria that you select beforehand.
Let's say you want to test how well an employee handles support tickets. First, you'll enter a sample customer query. Then, you'll select the criteria, e.g., brevity, clarity, including actionable next steps. If you're testing a candidate on delivering a sales pitch, you might select different criteria, such as confidence, tone, differentiation provided, and case studies cited. This allows you, as an instructor, to provide specific and actionable feedback to employees once they've submitted their practice session.
Lessonly Price: Pricing available upon request.
Automate Lessonly with Lessonly's Zapier integrations.
Best LMS for creating a simple training portal
AdaptiveU helps you set up a simple training portal with a custom URL, your logo, and banner images. Invite users to your portal with a URL, or send them an email invite. Every member you add gets their own user profile, showcasing the courses they've completed.
Courses in AdaptiveU are made up of lessons, referred to as Challenges. Each Challenge includes a title, description, and attachments. You also have the option to add a Q&A. At the end of a lesson, employees either have to summarize what they learned in the lesson or rate and review it. This helps you get feedback about your courses and be sure employees are completing them in earnest.
The simplicity of the platform is what sets it apart, but it also includes basic interaction features: a forum for members to share their ideas and an instant messaging option to interact with peers.
AdaptiveU Price: Free for 50 active users and lessons, 2 GB storage, custom branding, and role management; from $99/month for the Starter plan that includes 100 active users and lessons and 4 GB storage.
Automate AdaptiveU with AdaptiveU's Zapier integrations.
Litmos LMS (Web, Android, iOS)
Best LMS for bundling courses into learning paths
Along with easy-to-peruse analytics and reporting features, Litmos LMS is equipped with an important tool for companies: learning paths.
Not every course in your LMS might be essential for every member of your team. Learning paths allow you to indicate prerequisites, organize courses into groups, and guide learners to their next course. Instead of manually assigning different courses to different employees, learning paths help you bundle relevant courses together, assign them to teams or individual employees, and ensure they are taken in the order required.
A single learning path can include up to 50 courses, but it could also be a set of two. Select the Reorder Courses option to change the order in which members should take courses, or mark certain courses as Optional while keeping them within the learning path. At the end of a learning path, you can award certificates to those who have completed it. Think of them as mini-degrees for your employees, who may want to add the certificate to their resume.
Note that there's a minimum of 150 users for Litmos LMS, but if you're looking for learning paths in your LMS, it's likely you're working at a large scale anyway.
Litmos LMS Price: From $4/user/month (billed annually) for the Pro plan that includes 151-500 active users, course builder, learning paths, phone and email support, learner dashboard, and custom branding.
A well-oiled employee training machine is an asset for a company, and a good learning management system helps you get there. It helps you track your employees' progress, provide them with meaningful feedback, and empower them to do their best work.
When selecting an LMS for your company, consider the size of your organization, the number and type of courses you'll be adding, and how much flexibility and customization you need while creating courses and assessments. Above all, make sure your team is comfortable using the platform you choose.