Top 20 Learning Systems for 2020

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Okay, this is the continuation of the Top 50 Learning Systems for 2020.  Below are the Top 20 Learning Systems (of those Top 50).  

Before I forget, many readers have inquired about why is Moodle not on my list. Moodle base is open source, and thus from Moodle alone standpoint is not on the list, nor is any open source solution. 

That said, eThink Education is my #1 Moodle Partner for 2020, they will heavily customize Moodle for you, especially Moodle Workplace; I also rank them #1 for Totara Partners.  You can also find them on FindAnLMS too. 

Download the hard copy of the Top 20 Rankings, with new additions.  Type of audience, Customers, Employees, Associations; Vertical/Industry rankings (when applicable), Enterprise and Extended Enterprise ratings and vILT ratings too. Data has been updated too. 

Now onward. 

Tier3 NexGen is often noted in these rankings. For those who are unaware of what is Tier3 aka as my T3 Grid, here is the link for details, etc.

Now onto the rankings. 

As noted in previous:

1. Criteria can be found HERE

2. Unless otherwise noted, all of the systems can be found on

3. NEW – We have added a comparison chat capability in FindAnLMS. Select up to four vendors and compare them!  See the video, then experience it for yourself.   Please note there is no audio on the video.

#20 to #11

#20 Brainier

  • UI/UX on the learner side is good, the administration side is very good
  • Solid work in data visualization and analytics
  • Mobile is strong with big wins of the knowledge reinforcement capability, and UI experience within the mobile app
  • Certificate builder is easy to use, and using a wizard for certificates is a nice touch since many folks have challenges when it comes to generating, editing and publishing certificates
  • Has a content marketplace, a mixed track record for Tier 3 NexGen,  Has Tier 1 and Tier 2. 
  • Ranked in the Top 20 for 2019

#19 LearnUpon

  • UI/UX for learner and admin is quite good
  • Affordable for what you get, which is quite a bit
  • Integrations include Shopify and Slack
  • Content marketplace exists
  • Tier 1 and Tier 2 achieved, Tier 3 is below avg.
  • Ability to assign and track CEU/CPD to any piece of content

#18 Hub360

  • Sales Enablement Platform – which is a system that has sales capabilities within it, plus learning components as well. You need both.  Target is sales training. The system hits all the feature sets for sales components and learning too.
  • Comes with Spoke, a great learning system, a nice addition to an already super start SEP.
  • Built-in Business Intelligence component. Very rare in the learning system space, let alone SEP.  This leads to robust data and visualization. 
  • Personally, I find them better than Brainshark and Showpad. 
  • SEP was launched in 2019, and definitely is a SEP to watch for 2020

#17 Gyrus Aim

  • Moves up the rankings for 2020
  • Learner UI/UX is a winner,  Admin side is good, but needs some tweaks
  • Scored 100% on Compliance Features, which includes digital signature on a mobile device, digital signature in the system, CFR 21 Part 11 (An ideal plus for Pharma), Document Management System built-in; includes forms, workflow documents/materials, etc., workflow features
  • Coaching is on the roadmap for 2020, they have an excellent track record for delivering on the roadmap, another item coming soon is cognitive capabilities
  • Supports xAPI and CMI-5 (new course standard)
  • Has bookmarklet functionality, which is an extension for your browser -it is a simple drag and drop to your browser bar (YEAH)
  • Robust system, that is under the radar for many folks
  • Tier 3 NexGen is mixed, T1 and T2 achieved

# 16 Instancy On-Demand

  • Under the Radar system, which is too bad, because it is an excellent system
  • UI/UX learner and administrator very good
  • Skills management is good
  • Mobile includes on/off synch with native mobile apps for iTunes and Google Play
  • Administration Functionality scored 95%
  • Content marketplace, connectors are solid
  • I’ve always liked this system and it continues to get better year and year
  • Tier 1 and Tier 2 achieved.  Tier 3 solid.

#15 Saba Cloud  (Specifically Learning and Skills Development)

  • Scored 100% on Skills Management area which includes: the ability to create your own library of skills, including definitions, the system can generate a playlist based on skill rating, skill level or any other skill related variable, skills rating including learner self-assess, manager review and modify rating if needed, same with admin
  • One of the strongest Reporting and Analytics I’ve seen
  • Mobile is beyond great
  • Tier 3 NexGen is fantastic,  Tier 1 and Tier 2 – achieved
  • Administration scores 100%
  • Robust system with lots to like
  • Connectors need to get better

#14 Coorpacademy LEP

  • An LEP/LXP  –  Achieves a perfect rating for LEP/LXP standard feature sets
  • Very good UI/UX for learner and admin
  • Tier 1 and Tier 2 NexGen achieved.  Tier 3 is solid.
  • Built-in authoring tool which is not common with LEP/LXP
  • Gamification is extensive and tied quite well around various NexGen feature sets
  • Analytics are quite good

#13 Area9 Rhapsode

  • Not your typical LMS, thus clearly slides in as a learning platform
  • Built around brain-based studies (from the vendor, not me), provided a lot of data based on my inquiries, which was refreshing
  • UI/UX on the learner side for this type of system is good, Admin side is a bit different, again, this is due to the system itself but good
  • Very good for skills management functionality and competencies
  • Metrics are strong, with nice data visualization
  • Native mobile app available in iTunes and Google Play
  • System to definitely check out

#12 Degreed

  • Outstanding LXP, with a lot of content partners – the most I’ve seen in the LXP space (please note most are fee-based)
  • The first vendor in the learning system space to include skill ratings in their system (for learners), a learner can self-assess, a manager can review and modify if needed, admin the same
  • Bookmarklet feature is very good (drag and drop onto your browser bar)
  • UI/UX Learner is strong, Admin side is good
  • Analytics with data visualization is good, although data showing articles doesn’t mean that the person read the whole article, merely they clicked to view the article – which uh, doesn’t really tell you a lot.
  • Offers micro-credentialing in the system, i.e. digital badges – nice!
  • Very strong in skills management 

#11 SAP Litmos

  • Very strong UI/UX on the learner and administrator side (I’d place in a leader’s grid for that design)
  • Tier3 NexGen (Leader’s Grid),  Tier 1 and Tier 2 NexGen achieved.
  • Reporting is very good, metrics are solid, data visualization is solid, could be better
  • E-commerce needs improvement, but they offer it, and also multi-tenant which is strong
  • SAP continues to tell folks that this system isn’t made for Enterprise; I am telling you that it is.  SAP Litmos has a client with 1M users.  So regardless of what a vendor presents as “Enterprise” and it can be whatever the vendor wants it to be, having 1M users on a system, I believe more than qualifies.  The system is strong in SMB/SME too.
  • An extensive number of connectors – leader grid area
  • Content marketplace exists


And now, the Top 10 Learning Systems for 2020.  The best of the best. The elite of the elite. The majestic 10. 

#10 Access LMS (Formally known as Unicorn LMS)

  • Very strong in compliance and regulatory – if you are looking for a top tier system for compliance, then you need to check this system out (#1)
  • UI/UX for Learner is very good, Administration side is good, needs some tweaks
  • Metrics and Reporting is solid
  • System is still number one for the Financial Services market, which hence is why there are certain feature sets that lack, i.e. social, e-commerce, most NexGen Tier 3.
  • Includes the Minds-I mobile app, which is fantastic – best one I’ve seen, and they have mobile apps for the system itself, and CPD too.   Quizdom is another app, and it is a very cool assessment component, fun, hip, and trust me learners will love it.
  • Mobile for the system has native apps for iTunes and Google Play, and on/off synch

#9 Cornerstone Learning

  • Leader’s Grid in my T3 Grid for NexGen – Extremely Elite for NexGen Tier 3.  Achieved Tier 1 and Tier 2
  • Very robust LMS, feature sets overall score quite well
  • Scored 100% on Administration functionality
  • Mobile is top tier, with native apps for iTunes and Google Play and on/off synch
  • Has a built-in LXP
  • System offers the ability for clients to purchase content created by Cornerstone
  • UI/UX for learner side is good, Admin side UI needs improvement, UX is above average although it can be overwhelming to some (a constant issue)
  • Compliance and Regulatory is outstanding (#2)
  • Vertical Rankings – #1 Manufacturing, #2 Life Sciences, #3 Franchises

#8 Brightspace by D2L  (Ranking is for the Corporate side)

  • UI/UX for learner and administrator very good
  • Scored 100% on my Administration feature sets
  • Scored 98% for Learner Environment (only missing full drag and drop on the learner side, which honestly most systems do not offer)
  • Curation and Machine Learning are very good
  • E-Commerce is strong,  Coaching/Mentoring is very good
  • Skills Management is excellent, big wins include skill ratings, playlists based on skills with a slight twist – it is dependent on a pre-assessment of that skill (I like this angle, but would love to see it as optional and with the value of having it as part of say a mentoring/expert profile)
  • Native mobile apps for iOS and Google Play, including on/off synch
  • #1 system for the Association market; I say this because to be a top-tier system in the association market, you need e-commerce – robust preferably (which Brightspace offers), multi-tenant (yes), a wealth of feature sets that are ideal for the association space (which they do),  top tier content marketplace (a nice plus for members, who receive the LMS as part of the membership), ability to assign CEU/CPD to any piece of content and then capture that data is a win; classroom management and instructor management 100%, event management is a must 
  • System plays equally well in retail and hospitality

#7 Learn Amp (DLP)

  • Learn Amp is a digital learning platform (YEAH!)
  • A DLP is very similar to an LXP, in fact, it is a term that should replace the term LXP, but I digress
  • UI/UX for learner and administration is fantastic
  • Can accept up to 10,000 employees, so ideal for SMB, mid-market and upper-market, which is one reason it does very well as a standalone, rather than a bolt-on which many LXPs follow as their mantra (not all, but many)
  • NexGen Tier 3 is good, Tier 1 and Tier 2 achieved. 
  • Skills management is fantastic
  • Classroom management, event management exist in the platform (rare in LXP)
  • Administration and Learning Environment scored 98%, another big win in the DLP/LXP space
  • Ranked in the Top 10 in 2019
  • #2 Ranked LXP for 2019-20

#6  Thought Industries

  • #1 LMS for customer training/B2B segment
  • I love the Panorama capability which enables you to do quite a bit in each tenet for your multi-tenant (if you so choose), comes with the system – i.e. based on packages you receive X number of the Panoramas
  • E-Commerce is very strong
  • Outstanding data and data visualization
  • One of my systems to watch for 2020, they have a lot of options to take the system to even a higher level than now
  • Administration UI/UX is elite, Learner UI/UX is extremely good
  • I just love this system, that is all I can say; Oh administration functionality is really good, Learner too
  • Vertical Ranking: #1 Franchises, #1 retail, and hospitality
  • Needs to improve on NexGen functionality, especially Tier 3. 


#5 Absorb LMS

  • UI/UX for Learner and Administrator is superb, love the admin dashboard – continues to rock!
  • Tier 3 NexGen functionality is solid,  Tier 1 and Tier 2 achieved
  • Data visualization and metrics are quite good
  • System plays well in numerous verticals including retail and hospitality (#3), Associations (#3),  non-profit (#1), software technology (#3), consumer goods, and life sciences. 
  • Ideal for mid-size can easily go 10,000-100,000 plus in end users
  • A very strong system for customer training/B2B
  • All-around a wonderful system, if there were any minuses, the one that stands out is the lack of ad-hoc on the reporting side. 
  • Multi-tenet is a winner here too!


#4 SumTotal Learning Management

Due to concerns around post-bankruptcy with Skillsoft, the company that owns SumTotal, I cannot recommend them at this time. 

  • New Admin UI (coming in 2020) is very good, a massive upgrade to the current Admin UI
  • Learner UI/UX is outstanding, Admin UX is solid, the UI needed improvement – hence the new UI coming in 2020
  • Scored 100% on compliance and regulatory feature sets  (#3 in Compliance and Regulatory space)
  • Scored 100% on Learner Environment
  • Scored 100% on Classroom Management
  • System comes with IBM Talent Watson, which is extremely nice and a big win
  • You receive content (free) from SumTotal, when you buy the system, the content is Skillsoft, and you pick a few to be part of the system
  • I like that in the system, KPIs can be reported as the regulatory agencies require especially through their mobile apps (which is the rare part in the industry)
  • Mobile apps include on/off synch, native for iTunes and Google Play
  • An extremely robust system, Playlist functionality scored 100%
  • NexGen Tier 3 (Risers Grid), Tier 1 and Tier 2 achieved
  • Mentoring/Coaching feature sets are a work in progress


#3 EdCast

  • #1 LXP for 2019-20
  • In Leader’s Grid for NexGen Tier 3 functionality
  • The most robust LXP on the market feature and capability wise
  • Learner UI/UX is elite.  Administrator UI/UX equally elite
  • Beyond the standards you find an LXP, system offers classroom management, event management as feature sets too.  Administration scored 100%, Learner environment 100%
  • Extensive content marketplace
  • Skills management is fantastic
  • Can be a standalone or a bolt-on to any existing system
  • Excellent list of connectors
  • If you are starting a hub, this system could be your center of that hub, if you so desired
  • EdCast has something big coming in Q1 2020 (tentatively, might be Q2) (yes, I know what it is, I just can’t tell you, but it’s very cool ) 


#2 Fuse

  • Outstanding UI/UX for Learners and Administrators
  • Pitches themselves as an LXP, I see them more as a Learning Ecosystem
  • Leader’s Grid NexGen Tier 3, Tier 1 and Tier 2 achieved
  • An outstanding list of connectors (over 100) including the ability to take content within Slack (due to their Slack integration),  Microsoft Teams is on the horizon
  • Administration and Learning Environment scored 100%
  • System has it all, classroom management, coaching/mentoring is very strong, compliance and regulatory (although not 100%),  event management, notifications including SMS notifications, machine learning (100%), playlists (100%) and on and on.
  • Plays extremely well in mid-size and large 10,000-100,000 and up to user base
  • Strong in B2B/customer training, but I think they are exceptional for employee
  • Vendor lacks ad-hoc reporting (yet the majority of vendors offer it), strange for a system that is this strong.
  • Skill Ratings, built-in LRS too
  • Analytics are good, Reporting is good
  • Native mobile apps in iTunes and Google Play, with on/off synch and a variety of feature sets within
  •  Vertical Rankings #2 in Manufacturing, #1 in Training Providers (Vertical), #1 in Real Estate, #2 in Consumer Goods,  #2 in Franchises


#1 CrossKnowledge Learning Suite

  • Outstanding UI/UX for learners and administrators
  • Scored 100% on learning environment and 100% on Administration functionality
  • Leader’s Grid for Tier 3 NexGen, Tier 1 and Tier 2 achieved
  • Mobile is fantastic, native apps for iTunes and Google Play, on/off synch
  • OJT assessment capability
  • Analytics and Reporting is fantastic, create KPIs, heat maps, metrics on articles, web sites/web links, data visualization, custom fields are reportable too
  • With their machine learning, you can do quite a bit, a big win is the ability for an administrator to change weights, points and other items to assist in machine learning process (this is not accessing the code, rather selecting and entering info in boxes on the admin side) – I love this, because who knows your training and L&D – better than you (and yet so many vendors ignore this capability). 
  • Playlists is extremely strong, another big win – the system can use job roles and/or skills to identify and present recommended or suggested courses to the end-user 
  • 2019, ranked #2 in the Top 50 Learning Systems
  • Super system that just says “wow” every time I check it out, which is often.  Support is fantastic, BTW.  
  • If you want e-commerce this is not the system for you, but excluding that..
  • Over 80 connectors
  • Vertical Rankings #1 for consumer goods and consumer services, #1 for Hardware technology, #2 for Retail and Hospitality 

The Bottom Line 

You have the rankings and knowledge before you.

Independently assessed. Analyzed with only one more thing to say,


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