Top 20 Learning Management Systems 2013-14

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In an earlier post, I presented the top ten LMSs of 2013-14, but held back on announcing the top 20.  Not anymore.  Below are my top 20 rankings for 2013-14.

UPDATE:  Here are my mid-year rankings for 2014 (the final rankings will be published Jan 2015).

Before the Top 20, here are the

Top Three Open Source LMSs of 2013-14.  One of these vendors is listed in my top 50. Their name begins with a M and sounds like Noodle.

1. Moodle –  Whether you like it or not, the system still reigns supreme for free open source.  But, as we all know, nothing is ever really free, so if you go open source make sure you have the resources to invest to make it robust.  Moodle ranks #46.

2.  Open Elms – The first free open source LMS, geared specifically for business.

3. Opigno – Yes, a new freebie pops up. Which is good news to some, bad news for others.

The Top Twenty

First a couple of bits of information on the list.   The list is based on a set criteria, that was setup for my report (which lists the top 50).  The criteria, can be found on this post.

If your LMS isn’t on the top twenty list, don’t fret, one of the following has occurred

a. It is in the top 50 (Names were posted in the E-Learning 24/7 Linkedin group and will be re-posted later this week)

b.  It is not in the top 50

With over 580 systems on the market, identifying the top systems are no easy task.   The market is continuing to grow – with more systems – in the first two weeks of Feb. – another five systems debuted.

Overall, LMS vendors are updating features more frequently than in any previous time.  A factor clearly is an increase in platforms and capabilities.

Modern UI is showing up more and more in systems, which is a big plus for me.  Another big win – admin home dashboards – a must in my opinion for any learning management system. 

Sadly, it is not universal, but it has come along way, from the days of counting the number of systems having this main admin screen, on my two hands.

Two additional notes

  • A new LMS directory will appear in mid June 
  • Numerous vendors posted a full demo of their product on my site.  If you (i.e. vendor) does not have a demo video on the site, you can.  There is no fee, no charge, nothing.  Just create it and send it my way. Here are the LMS Demo Requirements you must adhere to.


When viewing the list, you might say, “Hey, blah blah is ranked on other analyst lists as in the top five” OR “XYZ ranks ABC vendor as the best”.  My retort – I’m happy for them, but for my rankings it, they didn’t hit the top twenty.

  • Cornerstone OnDemand (#24),  Saba (#50)

As previously noted, just because you are well known does not mean you are the best system out there.

Now on to the Rankings (Yeah, cheer, cheer, clap, clap)

#20 SumTotal – Love the new UI, but the system still needs a few tweaks here and there.  This is for the “Enterprise” edition and not “Maestro”.

#19  WBT Systems TopClass 9.4 – The first LMS to include the functionality of “Big Data”.  Responsive UI for mobile and offers dedicated single cloud for multi-tenant clients.  Price point is mid tier

#18 Accessplanit –  Built-in CRM, ability to generate and send invoices, SMS notifications and e-mail marketing.  Slick UI to boot.

#17  Aduro –  My 2013 LMS Newcomer of the year.  If you like the Windows 8 UI, you will like Aduro’s UI.  SSO, custom domain, HTTPS:// all included at no additional charge.  Responsive for mobile.

#16 Administrate – Not your Dad’s LMS. Features that stand out include built in CRM, P&L and ledger reports, TinCan/Experience API and can tie into accounting packages such as Quickbooks.

#15 ELEARNINGFORCE –  SharePoint LMS.  Can integrate with Office 365 and is available as a SaaS offering. Bonus – mobile app can be customized with client’s logo.

#14 Absorb LMS –  Very slick UI. Responsive HTML5 for mobile, Mercury module option (personally, I’d prefer it to be included at no charge, but it isn’t)

#13 Totara –  Extensive feature set, relatively low cost.  The key is to finding the right business partner associated with Totara.  That said, it offers a lot of bang for the buck.

#12 SuccessFactors –  Thankfully the ol’ Plateau design is long and gone, and replaced with a crisp user interface.  My only concern with them is what role SAP will play in their future.

#11 MediaCore –  A video learning platform in the top twenty? Yessir! UI reminds me somewhat of YouTube and the system enables skinning/branding which not all VLPs offer.  Also like the ability to capture video via an iPhone or iPad – app is available in iTunes.

The Top Ten (mentioned in an earlier post, but some specifics were not presented)

#10 Luminosity Reach – A very strong system that includes gamification features such as award allocation and reports.  But what stops the system is the add-ons such as Motion – which enables on/off synch with a self-contained app and another add-on Luminosity Mentor Apps, which is cool but as noted – costs extra.   UI is slick.

#9 Meridian Global – Revamped UI, multi-tenant and on/off synch with responsive for their mobile.

#8 Biz Library –  First system to offer “video blocks” rather than just “text” for course titles. No setup fees, easy to use, native apps available via iTunes and Google Play.  Multi-tenant too.  Admin UI can be improved.

#7 Docebo – Very slick UI and feature set. Includes courses with the system at no additional charge. Offers a “Premium version” – but either version is priced affordable.  Love the “app store” and one click capability (i.e. click the app and it goes right into the LMS).  Built-in video converter.  Vendor constantly adds new features, another big win.

#6 IMC Learning Suite – Another sharp UI system with a strong feature set including on/off synch.  However, they still charge a one time fee for REST API – for their mobile.

#5 eLogic Learning –  Very easy to use LMS with a nice UI.  Multi-tenant, very configurable platform. Offers on/off synch via the TinCan/Experience API.  Elite support and service.  Keeps getting better (the LMS that is) year after year.

#4 Instructure Canvas –  Elite education based system, especially for higher education.  Has a lot of pluses, including a solid UI. Big wins include the apps, ability to record video messages (beyond just audio) and admin side intuitiveness.  Other unique features for an education system includes e-commerce and multi-tenant.

#3 Blackboard – Love the updated UI with the whole social connect experience which is ideally suited for the education market. Enjoy the ability to create custom dashboards on the learner side.  Other pluses include “social spaces”, native app (iTunes and Google Play) and integration.  This ranking is for the education side of the house and not for corporate.  For corporate, the system misses the mark.

#2 Growth Engineering – Frankly it is the best gamification LMS on the market. UI is very slick and modern even on the admin side.  The system is fun to use.

#1 ExpertusOne  Very modern and crisp UI. direct integration offers the capability for the salesperson to complete all learning within Salesforce without having to leave it.  Other big wins – on/off synch with a self-contained native app, gamification, multi-tenant, easy to use admin and learner side.  The system just scream “Premium”, but offers pricing starting out in mid-tier.  If you are looking at B2B, it is a system to seriously consider.

Bottom Line

As 2014 is upon us, new rankings will be posted in the next few months. Will there be some newcomers? Probably.

Will there be some systems that drop out of the top 20 – likely.

But in the end it is all about the system.

Wait. Change that.

It’s about you (the consumer).

E-Learning 24/7


  1. Hi Craig,

    I just signed up recently and am really enjoying your posts. Great to see someone providing timely and relevant information across the e-learning technology space!

    I noticed as well as an LMS review that you also did a review of authoring systems in 2013. Are you planning to do the same for 2014?

    We just launched Elucidat at the Learning Technologies show in London a few weeks ago. It’s an authoring tool that is really solving the challenges that authoring teams face when authoring learning that needs to work on any device. We already have some very large clients using Elucidat which means we are on the right track!

    If you are planning to do a 2014 review of authoring systems would you consider reviewing Elucidat? If you need any further information please don’t hesitate to ask. all the best,


    Steve Penfold

    Director, Elucidat

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