Written by:

Holly Macdonald


July 6, 2009

A few years back, the LMS ruled the day.  We were all told that we needed to buy this product to streamline course registration and track employee training.  Lots of this was due to regulatory pressures, probably largely influenced from the US.  Millions of corporate learning dollars were sucked up into the black hole of expensive enterprise software.  Smaller organizations were left with excel spreadsheets and paper files, as there was no real alternative for small business.  It kind of sucked to be honest.

I guess my subject today is pretty rhetorical, because companies do still care and there is a need for registering and tracking employee learning.  However, in today’s Web 2.0 world, there are lots more options:

Joomla, an open-source LMS and content authoring system (a fancy way of saying that you can create courses with their tools), which isn’t free, but is affordable.

Moodle – free to download, you just have to have a web-server to host it.  Open source.

Drupal (although I think you have to be a tinkerer to jump on this bandwagon)

We’ve also got some nifty course authoring systems to share:

Udutu – powered by Moodle, it allows you to build simulations and courses.

Odijoo – local BC company which allows you to build and sell your own courses.

By the looks of it, you just need to come up with an unusual name, preferably including an “ooooo” sound and ending with a vowel and you could be in the running for the latest/coolest piece of technology!

If you’ve got some money lying around, you could buy Brandon Hall’s report or Josh Bersin’s.  I have never had the money to throw at either of these, so can’t really tell you if one is better than the other.  You can also crowdsource through LinkedIn or Twitter (or some specialized online site, or find a ning group) to find out which LMS your contemporaries use…

T+D magazine did a story in a recent issue on LMS vs. LCMS which you might find interesting.  You might need to join ASTD to see it, but I highly recommend joining if you can.  They have tons of great stuff.