18 Types of LMS: Complete Guide to Major LMS Types

The landscape of education & training is rapidly evolving. Amidst this, the quest for effective ways to deliver learning experiences is unending.

At the forefront of this quest are learning management systems. Platforms that have gradually become synonymous with modern learning.

But not all LMS platforms are created equal. There’s a wide ranging spectrum of the types of LMS available in the market today.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the major LMS types to find out which one suits you the best.

Why are there Different Types of LMS?

Why are there Different Types of LMS?

The existence of different types of learning management systems is a reflection. One that depicts the diverse needs, objectives and contexts within which learning occurs.

The table below mentions the key reasons why this diversity is not only necessary. But also beneficial.

Key Reasons Why there are Different Types of LMS

In short, understanding this diversity of LMS types crucial. Majorly, for selecting one that aligns with your educational goals and needs.

18 Major Types of LMS in 2024

18 Major Types of LMS in 2024

The options we have today in learning management systems are vast and varied. And this diversity caters to different learning environments & technological needs.

What’s even better is that it shows a growing demand for accessible & personalized learning experiences.

Here, we’ll explore the 18 major types of LMS, each serving unique purposes & sectors.

1.SaaS LMS/Cloud Based LMS

Software as a Service (SaaS) LMSs are cloud-based solutions. It’s a web-based LMS hosted on the provider’s servers. Thus reducing any load on the user.

SaaS LMSs are popular for their quick deployment and subscription-based LMS pricing models.


Benefits of SaaS LMS/Cloud Based LMS

Also read how using Edmingle reduces your operational cost by 20%.


Limitations of SaaS LMS/Cloud Based LMS


  • Edmingle: A robust SaaS LMS with rich set of features and integrations. It supports every training & online learning need.

  • Canvas: It offers comprehensive tools for both K-12 and higher education institutions.

  • LearnUpon: A platform that provides solutions for employee, partner & customer training.

2.Installed/On Premise LMS

Installed or on-premise LMS platforms are hosted on the organization’s own servers. Ideal for organizations with strict data privacy requirements.


Benefits of Installed/On Premise LMS


Limitations of Installed/On Premise LMS


  • SAP Litmos: Primarily known for its cloud-based version, it also offers an on-premise option.

3.Open Source LMS

These are customizable and often free to use. Open-source software provide the source code for organizations to modify and improve.

Check our blog on Best Free LMS.


Benefits of Open Source LMS


Limitations of Open Source LMS


  • Moodle: Moodle is a highly flexible learning platform that organizations can self-host and customize.

  • Open edX: A platform for MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) that allows the creation of custom learning environments.

  • Chamilo: Focused on ease of use, accessibility, and security. With a strong community in Europe and Latin America.

Also Read: Cloud-Based LMS vs Open-Source LMS.

4.Closed Source LMS/Proprietary LMS

Closed-source (or proprietary) LMSs are not freely available for modification. These platforms are maintained and updated by the vendor.


Benefits of Closed Source LMS/Proprietary LMS


Limitations of Closed Source LMS/Proprietary LMS


  • Adobe Captivate Prime: A corporate learning platform known for its user-friendly interface.

  • Cornerstone OnDemand: A single platform that provides learning, performance & HR management for businesses.

5.Custom-built LMS

Custom-built LMS solutions are developed from scratch. To meet the specific needs of an organization. These are also known as private labeled LMSs.

Related Article: Difference Between White Label and Private Label LMS.


Benefits of Custom-built LMS


Limitations of Custom-built LMS


  • Google Classroom: While not exactly a traditional LMS, it integrates with Google’s suite of tools.

  • Bespoke LMS for JPMorgan Chase: Developed specifically for their internal training purposes.

  • University of Phoenix’s Online LMS: A platform developed to support its extensive online courses and degree programs.

If you haven’t yet created an online course. Check our step-by-step guide on how to create an online course.

6.Integration Capable LMS

These are designed to seamlessly connect with other software systems. Such as HRIS, CRM or ERP systems.


Benefits of Integration Capable LMS


Limitations of Integration Capable LMS


  • SuccessFactors (SAP): Integrates with SAP ERP for human capital management. Hence, offering a seamless flow of learning and HR processes.

  • Edmingle: A fully integrated SaaS LMS platform, Edmingle can integrate easily with the system of your choice. It also comes ready with some of the best integrations.

  • Tovuti LMS: Offers a wide range of integration capabilities with tools like Zoom, Salesforce, and more.

Also Read: Best LMS with Zoom Integration.

7.Non Integrated LMS

These function as standalone systems. Without the built-in capability to connect with external software.


Benefits of Non Integrated LMS


Limitations of Non Integrated LMS


  • Udemy Business: It primarily serves as a standalone LMS without extensive custom integration options.

  • Skillshare for Teams: Provides team-based access to its course library without deep integration features.

  • Ruzuku: A simple & easy to use platform that comes with minimal integration features.

8.Corporate LMS/Enterprise LMS

Designed for the corporate sector. These LMSs support employee training, compliance, and professional development.

These are often used in startups, IT industry, manufacturing & healthcare.


Benefits of Corporate LMS/Enterprise LMS


Limitations of Corporate LMS/Enterprise LMS


  • SAP SuccessFactors Learning: It offers extensive features for global workforce training and development.

  • SumTotal Systems: Delivers a comprehensive suite of learning and talent development tools.

9.Mobile LMS

As the name suggests, these platforms are optimized for learning on the go. Often coming with responsive design and/or mobile apps for smartphones and tablets.


Benefits of Mobile LMS


Limitations of Mobile LMS


  • EdApp: A mobile-first LMS that focuses on microlearning, with a friendly interface for user management.

  • Thinkific: Provides a seamless mobile experience for learners accessing courses on their platform.

10.LMS Plugins

LMS plugins extend the functionality of existing learning or content management systems. They can add specific features to platforms like WordPress, enabling basic LMS functionalities. Without the need for a full-fledged LMS.

Also Read: Difference Between CMS and LMS.


Benefits of LMS Plugins


Limitations of LMS Plugins

Read how Edmingle (a SaaS LMS) is better than WordPress LMS Plugins.


  • LearnDash: Transforms a website into a powerful learning management system.

  • LifterLMS: Allows users to create, sell and protect engaging online courses.

  • WP Courseware: A plugin for creating and selling online courses directly from WordPress.

11.LMS With Authoring Tools

These include built-in tools for creating and customizing eLearning content. Directly within the platform.


Benefits of LMS With Authoring Tools


Limitations of LMS With Authoring Tools


  • Articulate 360: Offers a suite of apps for creating custom, interactive eLearning content.

  • Easygenerator: An easy-to-use tool used to develop courses without needing technical knowledge.

  • iSpring Suite: A powerpoint-based toolkit for creating quality courses, quizzes, and simulations.

12.Free LMS

Free LMS platforms offer basic learning management functionalities. Without subscription fees.


Benefits of Free LMS


Limitations of Free LMS


  • Moodle: Offers a free, open-source platform, with the option to pay for hosting or support if needed.

  • Canvas Free for Teachers: A stripped-down version of Canvas LMS available for individual teachers.

  • Schoology Basic: Provides a free basic LMS for instructors focusing on K-12 education.

13.Paid LMS

These require a subscription/licensing fee but provide a robust solution with better scalability.

Also Read: Difference Between Free LMS and Paid LMS.


Benefits of Paid LMS


Limitations of Paid LMS


  • Blackboard: Offers a variety of features, targeting higher education and businesses.

  • Adobe Captivate Prime: A premium LMS for corporate training, known for its engaging learning environments.

14.White-Label LMS

White-label LMS platforms allow companies to rebrand the software. With their own logo, color scheme and domain.


Benefits of White-Label LMS


Limitations of White-Label LMS


  • Academy Of Mine: An all-in-one platform that allows businesses to create & sell courses under their brand.

  • SkyPrep: Offers the ability to fully brand and customize the platform to match corporate identity.

  • Edmingle: Provides 100% white-labelled website, mobile app & landing pages. Read in detail about Edmingle White-Labelling.

15.Adaptive LMS

Adaptive LMSs use AI and ML algorithms. These personalize the learning experience for each user.


Benefits of Adaptive LMS


Limitations of Adaptive LMS


  • D2L Brightspace: Tailors content and assessments to the learner’s individual needs.

  • ALEKS (Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces): An adaptive learning platform used primarily in mathematics and science education.

Since we talked about assessments recently. Check our article on online assessments and proctoring. If you’re struggling to overcome the challenges in it.

16.Hybrid LMS

Hybrid learning management systems combine the features of on-premise and cloud-based learning management systems. Hence, offering flexibility in deployment and data management.


Benefits of Hybrid LMS


Limitations of Hybrid LMS


  • Edmingle: Edmingle is a hybrid SaaS LMS that offers to build, scale & manage hybrid training programs seamlessly.

  • Blackboard: Blackboard supports both types of deployment, offering a hybrid learning environment.

  • Schoology Enterprise: Provides both cloud-based & on-premise systems, supporting a hybrid approach.

17.Blended LMS

Blended learning platforms support a mix of in-person & online training methods. They might seem similar to hybrid LMSs but have their unique pros.


Benefits of Blended LMS


Limitations of Blended LMS


  • Canvas: Canvas supports blended learning with tools for both education methods.

  • Adobe Connect: A web conferencing tool that integrates with LMS platforms to offer a blended learning environment.

18.Collaborative LMS

These emphasize social learning features, such as discussion boards, chats & group projects.


Benefits of Collaborative LMS


Limitations of Collaborative LMS


  • Microsoft Teams for Education: Integrates with LMSs to provide a collaborative platform for students and teachers.

  • Google Classroom: Encourages collaboration through its integration with Google Workspace for Education.

  • Schoology: Offers extensive collaboration tools within its LMS.

Each of these LMS types caters to specific needs and scenarios. Hence, making it essential to carefully assess your requirements and goals when selecting an LMS solution.

How to Find the Right LMS Type for You?

How to Find the Right LMS Type for You?

Now that we know about the major LMS types. It’s time to help you out find the one that suits you the best.

To begin with, assess your specific learning objectives, audience needs & content types.

Then, consider technical requirements like scalability & mobile accessibility. At this stage, also evaluate the essential features, usability and your budget.

The last step involves thorough research on platforms like G2, Software Suggest & Capterra. Besides taking LMS demo of potential platforms.

Following these steps in the right order, will help you choose the right LMS type. One that will align with your goals & offer growth potential.

Summary on LMS Types

Amidst the vast landscape of learning management systems. We explored it’s types with the features, benefits & limitations of each.

Understanding which is pivotal for aligning technology with your educational goals and needs.

In this journey to identify the most fitting LMS type. We’ve equipped you with the knowledge to select a platform that not only meets your current needs. But also supports your future growth.

FAQs on Types of Learning Management System

1.How does a learning content management system (LCMS) differ from a traditional LMS?

An LCMS focuses only on the creation, management & delivery of educational content. A traditional LMS may not offer as robust features as an LCMS. But most modern LMSs come with all the functionalities of an LCMS.

Nikhil Dutt

Nikhil, a seasoned writer, excels in content ranging from long-form content, ad copies, UX microcopies & scripts. With an in-depth understanding of social media algorithms, he's driven notable growth across platforms. Proficient in SEO & SMO, he champions holistic content creation with a mission to elevate businesses through powerful storytelling. Although an IT graduate, his writing passion defines him, making him a diverse professional. Outside work, Nikhil enjoys reading, journaling, and exploring new places. Volunteering as a Life & Relationship Coach, he's committed to helping individuals foster more joyful lives and relationships.

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