LMS stands for Learning Management System, and in general terms, these software solutions are used by colleges and universities to offer online courses to students. They’re designed to deliver organized, structured digital content to learners and guide them along specific learning paths.

But the problem is, not all learning management systems are created equal. In fact, historically, many LMSs were notoriously difficult to use and hard for students to understand without any training. As such, the software would confuse students so much it either contributed to them dropping out or their failure to navigate the program effectively.

Thankfully, there are LMS solutions on the market now that have made incredible improvements and innovations to the LMSs of old. And I’m going to cover some of those right now.

The following are what we feel are the top 5 LMS software solutions on the market today. The companies on this list go above and beyond to offer students and educators all of the tools needed to be successful.

Okay, let’s dive into the list!

Top Pick

A leading EdTech company, Blackboard offers an LMS they hope inspires a love of learning. Their software solutions are used around the world in education, business and government.

The company has partnered with higher education clients around the globe, providing the learning solutions that drive student and educator success. Through an integrated technology stack, robust data & analytics capabilities and best-in-class services, Blackboard aims to help your institution thrive.

We chose this LMS provider because they offer thoughtful features that can help both teachers and students excel. Here are some of the features we absolutely love:

Pedagogical Autonomy

Many factors influence the outcomes of higher education, one important one being teacher accountability. Pedagogical autonomy refers to the ability of educators to choose for themselves what learning materials they use in their instruction. This kind of autonomy allows institutions to offer a variety of programs, innovate methods of instruction, and adapt their course offerings to the particular needs of students. In our experience, giving teachers this autonomy beats a centralized educational system, where content is the same for everyone and determined by a Department of Education.

Blackboard’s LMS allows educators to deliver engaging learning experiences with unmatched pedagogical autonomy.

Keep Students on Track

Quality LMSs keep learners highly engaged and on track. Blackboard provides system reliability and efficient workflows, so student learning feels seamless, organized, and easy.

Simple Integration

Colleges and universities already use tech tools to help them run their institution. The last thing they need is to try and introduce an LMS that won’t play nicely with their current software solutions. Blackboard has been designed and built to easily integrate with existing technology.

Engaging Interaction

Blackboard has multiple methods of communication built right into the system, so educators and learners can easily and effectively interact. And they can do so on any internet-accessible device.

Personalized Support

Students can only be successful when they get the help and answers they need. Blackboard offers educators the resources to offer students personalized support whenever and wherever students need it.


The Canvas LMS has been likened by some to be a kind of digital unicorn. You think it can’t possibly exist, it’s that magical. But it does exist!

Canvas is the brainchild of two enterprising grad students who thought they could build a better LMS, one that makes teaching and learning easier. And they must have done something right because Canvas currently has over 6 million users worldwide who have given the platform an over 90% on its best-in-class satisfaction score. Not too shabby!

Here are some of the reasons we think Canvas is a top contender in the LMS space:

Tons of Mobile Apps

Thanks to online education, today’s students can learn while on the go. That is, if they have access to the right apps.

Canvas offers a plethora of top-rated mobile apps for both learners and instructors so everyone can have access to material no matter where they are. And teachers are sure to love SpeedGrader, which is reported to cut grading time by as much as 50%!

Unlimited File Size

A teacher’s number one priority should be to engage students and inspire them. To do this, they should be able to offer the exact kind of course material they want without being hampered by limited file storage.

Canvas lets teachers upload as much audio, visuals, and video as you’d like to enrich students’ learning experiences.


Here’s a scenario no student ever wants to experience: they log on to their dashboard to finish important coursework only to be told the system is down because of updates.

Canvas was born in the cloud and is completely cloud-based, so there’s never any downtime due to updates.

Comprehensive Insights

Data helps people make better decisions. Canvas offers insights into how students are interacting with course material so instructors may increase engagement.

SAP Litmos

Created in 2007, SAP Litmos has developed what many call “the world’s easiest-to-use LMS.” SAP is also the fastest-growing enterprise learning solution, which is currently being used by more than 30 million people in 150 countries, across 35 languages. That’s incredibly impressive!

So what exactly makes SAP so popular with teachers and students alike? Well, in addition to offering some basic, although incredibly essential, features such as being cloud-based and providing tools that allow collaboration, tracking and easy distribution of courses, Canvas also has some pretty innovative features as well.

An Online Course Builder

SAP Litmos provides embedded content creation tools that support a variety of formats. And these tools are ready immediately, right out of the box. This allows teachers to get creative and teach in their own style to reach and engage more learners.

E-Commerce Capabilities

A top LMS platform should give you monetization options, and SAP Litmos does. You can either monetize your courses using pre-packaged features or set up an online storefront using SAP’s powerful Shopify integration.

Task Automation

In an ideal world, teachers would be able to automate burdensome tasks to free up time to focus on teaching. SAP Litmos allows educators to automate tasks like group enrollment and task assignment.


One of the best ways to increase student engagement and motivation is through gamification, whereby students can earn points and badges. SAP Litmos encourages friendly competition and encourages learners to complete more courses and make it to the Leaderboard.

Video Assessments

There are those courses that require students to give a presentation. This can pose challenging for many online degree programs. But with SAP Litmos, students can record and upload videos of themselves, which can then be assessed through AI functionality or by instructors.

Adobe Captivate Prime

Adobe has been changing the world through digital experiences for decades now. Through creative and game-changing innovations, Adobe has completely redefined the possibilities of digital engagement. This includes their learning platform called Captivate Prime.

Captivate Prime allows educators to deliver a personalized learning experience that inspires students to discover and engage. Offering rich analytics as well as a robust API framework, Adobe’s LMS has been adopted by organizations around the world and has received multiple awards for excellence across multiple categories.

But perhaps what really sets this platform apart from the others on this list is the very fact Adobe is such a trusted, household name. With a proven track record of delivering powerful digital solutions, and its best-in-class for safety and security, it’s easy to see why so many institutions put their faith in Captivate Prime.

Here are some of the features we think are terrific and worth a shout-out.

AI-Powered Recommendations

This LMS offers AI-powered recommendations that make course suggestions to users based on a numerous variables. And you can make these suggestions accessible right on students’ homepages.

Peer Recommended Training Widget

Through this nifty widget, you can allow users to take a look at the courses that are trending among their peers. Configure the widget so the course will populate in the students’ feed.

Content Provider Integration

Sometimes an instructor might want to offer materials that are offered by third-party content providers. Captivate Prime allows educators to integrate content from platforms such as LinkedIn Learning (Lynda.com), Harvard Manage Mentor, and Get Abstract.

Note-Taking for Revision

Historically, students have marked up their books and made notes to help them retain information. This can be a challenge when course material is in digital format.

Adobe allows learners to bookmark and create revision notes that can be taken in real-time. Learners can even email these notes to themselves to help them digest new information.

Fluidic Player

Of course Adobe would have the technology to allow students to enjoy a seamless playback experience in their media player. This means students can view virtually any kind of eLearning content without a need for any plugins or third-party solutions.


Launched in 2002, Moodle stands for “Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment.” But moodle has another meaning. Coined by George Bernard Shaw, moodle also means to “tinker” or “to experiment with.” And that is precisely what the Moodle learning platform allows students to do. Learners can deeply engage with lessons in creative and interesting ways.

Moodle is an open-source platform, which means anyone can take the base code and develop new features on top of it to meet their own specific needs. Talk about customization!

Moodle currently has 200 million users worldwide, boasting the largest user base of any online learning platform. And when you see the features the platform offers, it’s easy to see why so many educators choose this particular LMS.

Here are some of the out-of-the-box features we’re incredibly impressed with:

Responsive Interface

The team at Moodle is constantly updating their software so that students can experience superior performance no matter what device they are accessing the platform from. When learners can choose to be on their laptop, desktop or mobile phone, it means they have more control over when, where and how they learn.

Customizable Dashboard

You get the sense that Moodle is all about allowing educators and learners to customize their experience. After all, customization supports deeper learning. When users log on to their dashboard, they can customize it to their own preferences. Choose to display details of individual courses, upcoming assignment deadlines and important dates like exams and assessments.

Collaborative Tools

Moodle’s thoughtful design fosters collaborative learning. Tools like wikis, forums and glossaries are combined with a simple internal messaging system to help students keep in touch with peers and instructors.

Easy File Manager

Students and teachers can use Moodle’s easy drag-and-drop file manager to effortlessly move files around while also connecting to cloud storage services.

Notification System

Students never have to worry about missing an important announcement about a due date or upcoming exam. A centralized notification system allows instructors to push alerts to users’ dashboards so they are front and center when that user logs on. They can also be sent in real-time to the mobile app for instant alerts. Users are also notified when any new messages are posted in the internal messaging system.

Those are just the out-of-the-box features. Moodle also has some incredible add-ons like polling, chat rooms, a robust content bank with over 70,000 courses to choose from, video conferencing and more!

Full List of LMS Software


360Learning LMS Didacte LMS iSpring Learn Qintil LMS
Abara LMS DigitalChaulk itslearning RedVector LMS
Absorb LMS Docebo LMS JoomlaLMS Relias LMS
Academy of Mine Donesafe Kallidus Saba LMS
Accessplanit Easy LMS Kanuu SafetySkills
Accord LMS Easygenerator Kenexa 2x LMS SAP SuccessFactors
Administrate Edmego LMS KMI LMS SchoolKeep
Adobe Captivate Edsby LMS Knowledge Anywhere Schoology
Aktiv Mind LMS EdTek LMS Lanteria Learning Schoox LMS
Arlo LMS EduBrite LatitudeLearning ScriptoPro
Articulate 360 EducationFolder Learn-Wise SET Safety LMS
Auzmor Learn Edvance360 LearnCore ShareKnowledge
Axonify eFront LMS LearnDash SilkRoad Learning
BIStrainer LMS Elan by Brainier LearnerNation LMS Skillcast
BizLibrary LMS eLeaP LMS LearningCart Skilljar
Blackboard Learn eLearning Cloud LearningStone Skillport
BlueVolt LMS eLMS LearnUpon LMS SkyPrep LMS
BrainCert LMS Eloomi Lectora SmarterU
Brainier Engrade Lessonly LMS Spoke LMS
Bridge LMS ePath Learning Litmos LMS Storyline 360
Brightspace LMS eSSential LMS Looop SyberWorks
Bugle eTrainCenter LoveMySkool TalentLMS
BXP Eurekos MATRIX LMS Teachable
Canvas LMS Everwise Learning MC | LMS Teachlr
Capabiliti Evolve Learning Mindflash Technomedia
CD2 Learning ExpertusONE LMS Mindscroll Thinkific
Centralpoint Exponential Impact Moodle Thought Industries
Certspring LMS Firmwater myQuest Top Hat
Classe365 GoConqr LMS Open edX Torch LMS
Coassemble Google Classroom OpenSesame Totara
Collective U GoSkills Oracle HCM Cloud Tovuti
ComplianceWire Grovo LMS Paradiso LMS TraCorp LMS
Configio GyrusAim LMS Path LMS Trainual
Convergence LMS HandyTrain Pathgather LMS Travitor
Coorpacademy HealthcareSource PeopleFluent LMS Udutu Guru
Cornerstone iCohere LMS PeopleMatter USATestprep
CourseGenius Infor HCM PeopleStreme LMS Valamis LXP
CourseStorm Inquisiq R4 LMS PiiQ Velpic LMS
Create eLearning Intuo LMS PlayerLync Wisetail LMS
Curatr Iridize LMS ProProfs Training WizIQ LMS
Prosperity LMS WorkRamp LMS

Without learning management systems, it would be next to impossible for students to earn their degree online. LMSs house all of the institution’s lessons in one place. They also have the ability to allow instructors to monitor student participation, assess performance and generate reports.

But perhaps the most important things LMSs do is to make learning fun and engaging! In this way, they help students retain information better so they can be successful in their academic endeavors.

Final Thoughts

Online learning has forever changed the way people obtain their degree and increase their earning potential. It has allowed students, particularly adults learners, to learn at their own pace, when and where is convenient for them, and all at a much more affordable price. And thanks to the software solutions on this list, students can learn without any difficulty or hassle.

About the Author
Grant founded OnlineDegree.com with a purpose-driven mission: make college accessible and affordable for everyone. After graduating college with an overwhelming amount of debt, he was determined to change how students embark on their education. He's a frequent speaker and author in higher education, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, American Express, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader's Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.