E-learning systems are software that provide the framework for the entire e-learning process, with their help you can create, store, deliver and track content. There is now a significant supply of such software on the market, so the question often arises on what basis shall we choose, and how e-learning systems can be compared. We’ll help.
This journal presents you the most important functions and characteristics of e-learning systems.
Why Do We Need E-learning Systems?
E-learning systems simplify and make organizational education more cost-effective and facilitate the work of employees responsible for education: they help identify and evaluate individual and organizational learning goals, track the achievement of goals, and collect the data necessary to monitor the learning process. Although they are most often called e-learning systems, many different names can be used: for example, LMS (Learning Management System), LXP (Learning Experience Platform) or LES (Learning Experience System).
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Development of E-Learning Software
E-learning systems first appeared in higher education in the late 90s. These early LMSs, such as Blackboard and Moodle, usually consisted of pre-designed lesson modules and assignment functions. The courses were mostly pre-recorded classroom lectures and written study materials. In the early 2000s, companies started to use e-learning systems, and with the growth of interest and the expansion of financial possibilities, e-learning systems developed into comprehensive online learning platforms with content preparation, administration, and analysis functions.
Comparison Of E-learning Systems – Pricing
Different types of e-learning systems are available with different pricing models, which can differ not only in the price but also in the payment schedule. There is some overlap between the following categories, but each system can be classified into at least one of them.
Systems that don’t cost money to install and run. The disadvantage of these usually open-source programs can be that they do not contain special, unique functions and support. However, on the one hand, they can be customized extremely flexibly (either from image or functional point of view), on the other hand, if you would like to test how e-learning works first, it might be worth starting with these. Klippe Learning helps you find and implement the open-source system, the operation of which can be developed flexibly and cost-effectively.
An open-source program can be a good choice even if you have a trained team of programmers who can adapt the freely available code to your own needs.
Examples for open-source e-learning systems: Moodle, Ilias, Iomad
Freemium software can be used free of charge, but additional functions can be added for a fee. This allows you to spend only on the functions that are essential for you, but be cautious while choosing, because it may occur that the functions available for free will not be sufficient for the educational goals of your organization, and the costs associated with the various functions may even be higher than of a completely purchased program. In addition, expenses related to even newer functions that arise unexpectedly can make planning difficult.
Examples for freemium e-learning systems: Canvas, NEO LMS, TalentLMS
SaaS (Software as a Service) provides cloud-based e-learning functions, which are accessible from anywhere, only an Internet connection is needed. This is the most common mode of operation and pricing among e-learning systems, but within there are several types. You can pay, for example, based on the number of students or courses.
In this case, you don’t actually buy the software, you rent it, so you don’t have to pay a huge sum at once, but you have to pay a smaller amount at intervals. The costs will thus presumably be higher in the long term, and you will not have as much control over the operation, security and functions of the program as if you purchased an e-learning system..
It is also possible to use an open-source system in SaaS form, Klippe offers this solution as well.
Examples for SaaS e-learning systems: Docebo, TalentLMS, Moodle Cloud, Cornerstone
With open-source systems, you buy the software license and use it as long as you want. While the use of closed systems is limited in time. In addition to time, the license fee is typically determined based on the number of users. You store the data on your own servers and the system is working even without internet, it can also be accessed on the intranet. This can be a good decision if you want a regularly updated solution that can be planned in the long term, but in this case a high fee is typical for the license as well as for the ongoing support.
Examples for SaaS e-learning systems: Totara, Moodle Workplace, SAP SuccessFactors, Blackboard
Comparison of Recommended E-learning Systems
Moodle is a free and open-source modular system, written in PHP. It is based on pedagogical principles, and is also used in schools, universities, and companies. Learning materials can be created with plug-ins. A number of community-developed plug-ins are also available to help extend the learning experience. Moodle has an installable version, while a cloud-based incarnation is also available.
ILIAS is an open-source web-based system, that runs on any PHP and MySQL supporting server. It offers a flexible environment for online learning that goes beyond the limitations of courses, it can be considered more like a kind of content library. This also offers the opportunity to run ILIAS as an open knowledge platform, where you can make the content available to unregistered users.
Canvas is a paid, web-based system. It includes many customizable tools for creating and managing courses, as well as generating analysis and statistics.
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E-learning System or LXP?
LXP (Learning Experience Platform) is a platform where users can choose learning material from personalized content (e.g. Docebo). E-learning systems’ content that can be accessed and seen by the users is controlled by the administrator alone, while LXP allows students to collaborate and add to the course material.
LXP gives students more freedom to delve into their areas of interest. It is like a streaming service provider of educational materials, which presents the available content in a personalized library designed according to the user’s needs and previously acquired knowledge.
LXP vs traditional e-learning system? The answer depends on the organization’s goals. Traditional e-learning systems are perfectly suitable for mandatory trainings or for learning programs with clear objectives. They usually have a variety of features and offer better tools to achieve predetermined results. LXPs place more emphasis on students’ interests and professional development, but they create recommendations based on limited information, which can have disadvantages.
Do you need help?
If you would like to start building bite-sized learning, but you are not sure whether it is worth starting, contact us and we will help you choose the best solution. Do so, even if you have limited resources, because a lot of work and cost can be saved with an expert’s help!
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