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7 of the Best LMS Alternatives Ranked for 2024 + Buyers Guide

Learning management systems are key platforms used by training providers and educational institutions to deliver online learning, allowing them to create and manage eLearning content, enroll and communicate with students, and track and assess their performance. However, they’re by no means the only types of learning and training software that can be used to deliver great training and education.

There are a few reasons why you might want to consider an LMS. Perhaps you’re looking to deliver different types of training, aiming to reduce your training costs, or simply exploring platforms that can complement your LMS.

Whatever the reason, this article will help you understand the common motivations behind seeking alternatives to LMS, showcase a selection of the best LMS alternatives available, give some tips you can follow to know when you should consider such alternatives, and what these alternatives entail—both in terms of the types of software you can consider and specific providers.

The Best LMS Alternatives – Ranked

  1. Arlo Training Management Software – The overall best LMS alternative, particularly for instructor-led training providers
  2. Kajabi – a powerful all in one course-creation platform
  3. Administrate – an LMS alternative for enterprise training companies
  4. EventBrite – an alternative for event focused companies
  5. Teachable – alternative for educators focused on direct course sales and learner engagement
  6. Thinkificanother good option for educators
  7. Mighty Networkscommunity driven LMS alternative

1. Arlo Training Management Software – the best LMS alternative, particularly for instructor-led training providers

Arlo is a dedicated training management platform that helps training providers, specifically, instructor-led training providers manage all aspects of their commercial training. The platform centralizes the entire training management process and makes it easy to create and schedule courses, track payments and business growth. 

Arlo is a great LMS alternative for training providers because it offers a range of specialized features specifically designed to meet the needs of training providers, rather than containing just a few features that can be used by providers, who only deliver eLearning and digital courses.

With Arlo, you can centralize your entire training management process, eliminating the need for spreadsheets, manual workflows, and processes. Arlo serves as an excellent alternative to LMS for training providers because it offers a range of specialized features specifically designed to handle all aspects of instructor-led training. In contrast, an LMS focuses primarily on the delivery of online learning.

Key Arlo features that make it a great alternative to an LMS include:

Comprehensive course management and resource allocation 

Arlo simplifies course management. Users can create new courses through an easy-to-use setup wizard that caters to various course formats, including face-to-face, live-online, blended, and eLearning.

Each course you create through Arlo can be set up for a specific delivery method. If you run courses with multiple sessions that have different formats, you can assign the specific format to each session. For example, you may have one session delivered in-person and another delivered virtually.

If you choose to integrate Arlo with your website, new courses you create will immediately synchronize to your course overview page for instant visibility. This way, you don’t have to spend time entering the same course details in two separate places.

Arlo also provides a full calendar view of your upcoming courses and training. From this view, you can manage instructor availability and venue details, allowing you to quickly access essential information like contacts, catering, and room setup detail to easily manage logistics and resources.

Course registrations and payments

Arlo handles everything from taking online registrations to transferring, recording attendance and grades, and generating reports. Registration forms are designed specifically for training—use templates or create custom forms that are easy to set up, highly customizable, and support both public and private workflows.

Arlo enables you to set up registration forms for a range of event types, such as paid and free events, by offering different registration methods. For paid events, use the default order process registration method, which includes a full order and invoicing process. Alternatively, set up a custom URL to promote specific courses or events on your website.

Course registrants can add multiple participants to a single booking form, register for multiple events, and enter billing details (or another payment contact) all within the same form. Once the order is placed, the registrant receives an automatic confirmation email. After the order is confirmed, registrants receive an email with detailed event instructions.

Payment options are flexible, allowing you to accept payments via Stripe, PayPal, Windcave, credit card, invoice, and bank transfer.

Advanced reporting capabilities to uncover key business insights

Inside Arlo you’ll find both basic and advanced reporting options. Basic reports provide quick snapshots with predefined filters and columns, making them ideal for answering straightforward queries. Advanced reports offer detailed queries and custom filters across multiple entities, allowing you to dive deeper into your data.

Here’s an overview of some of the reports you can use Arlo to create:

Registration Reports

Registration reports are crucial for understanding how your registrants are behaving and performing. You can generate reports to track and analyze registration data, such as course attendance by organization or registration trends over time.

For example, you might need to report on how many people from a specific organization have registered for courses since a certain date. Using advanced registration reports, you can include additional information like departments, providing a comprehensive view of your data.

Order Reports

Order reports help you understand your financial performance. You can create reports to find out how much revenue your training business has generated over a specific period, or identify outstanding balances and billing contacts for follow-up. Advanced order reports allow you to include detailed billing and contact information, helping you manage your accounts efficiently.

Performance Reports

Performance reports provide insights into the revenue generated by individual courses. These reports help you identify which courses are most profitable and where to focus your efforts. For instance, you can compare the revenue from different courses, analyze refund amounts, and make data-driven decisions to enhance your course offerings.

Favorites and Scheduled Reports

To save time, you can save frequently used reports as favorites for easy access. You can also schedule reports to run automatically, sending the results via email to key stakeholders. This ensures you always have up-to-date information without manually running reports each time.

Combining Reports for Business Intelligence

Combining data from multiple reports allows you to gain comprehensive insights into your training business. For example, you can merge performance and expense reports to determine course profitability, or analyze occupancy rates to optimize course scheduling and marketing efforts.

Get the best of both worlds by using a TMS like Arlo and an LMS

While a TMS like Arlo is a great LMS alternative it by no means has to be a choice between the two. If you deliver instructor-led training both in-person and live online, as well as self-paced eLearning and blended learning then you’ll likely require both. 

Complementary functionalities

Both systems offer unique sets of functionalities that complement each other. While a TMS excels in managing logistics, administration, and business operations of training programs, an LMS is specialized in delivering, tracking, and managing educational content, particularly in online formats. 

For organizations that handle a diverse array of training formats, using both systems allows each to operate within its strength, enhancing overall efficiency and effectiveness.

Varied training modalities

Both in-person and live online training require extensive scheduling, resource allocation, and instructor management—areas where a TMS like Arlo shines.

For self-paced eLearning, an LMS is indispensable as it provides tools for learners to access content anytime, track their progress, and assess their performance. Blended learning combines ILT and eLearning, and for this approach a TMS effectively handles the logistical aspects, with an LMS handling the content delivery. 

Scalability and flexibility

Training organizations that are growing or change their training offerings over time may find that their needs become too complex for a single system. Having both a TMS and an LMS allows for greater scalability and flexibility, as each system can be optimized and scaled according to specific operational or educational needs without overburdening one system.

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2. Kajabia powerful all in one course-creation platform

Kajabi is an all-in-one platform that helps creators create, deliver and manage online courses. key features include marketing automation, which allows users to deploy targeted email campaigns, create responsive landing pages, and manage sales funnels directly within the platform. Kajabi also offers payment integration features, enabling direct billing, subscription management, and processing of payments through various methods—all within a single system. 

It’s a good LMS alternative for individual course creators and entrepreneurs who either conduct occasional, one-off courses or offer them periodically throughout the year.

Pros

Powerful marketing tools – Kajabi includes powerful marketing and sales functionalities such as email campaigns, landing pages, and analytics capabilities, helping course creators effectively promote their courses and analyze the outcomes.

Comprehensive course creation – the platform allows for the easy design and management of courses with features like multimedia support, drip content, and interactive quizzes.

Easy payment processing –  Kajabi integrates payment handling, supporting various payment models like subscriptions and installments.

Cons 

Cost – Compared to some traditional LMS platforms, Kajabi can be more expensive, especially for small creators or businesses just starting out due to its all-in-one nature.

Limited customization –  while Kajabi offers templates and design options, the scope for deep customization might be less than what is available in more specialized LMS platforms.

3. Administratean LMS alternative for enterprise training companies

Administrate is a training management solution that can serve as an LMS alternative for organizations, particularly enterprise training companies. Administrate offers a broad suite of tools that cater to the complete management lifecycle of training operations, such as resource scheduling and integrated CRM and reporting functionalities that many LMSs don’t provide. 

Pros 

Training management features – the system’s strong focus on managing logistical aspects makes it ideal for organizations that need to handle complex training operations efficiently.

Customer and data managementcapabilities – built-in CRM and reporting tools provide insights into customer behavior

Cons 

Limited content delivery features – Administrate doesn’t have learning tools and content management features as some dedicated LMS platforms.

Complexity for smaller and mid-sized businesses – the breadth of features, while beneficial for large organizations, might be excessive for smaller entities, potentially leading to underutilization and increased complexity.

4. EventBritean LMS alternative for event focused companies

EventBrite is a viable LMS alternative for organizations primarily focused on delivering event-based or session-based educational programs. While it does not offer the typical range of educational tools found in an LMS, Eventbrite’s features can be useful for managing the logistical aspects of educational events, workshops, and seminars.

Additionally, its user-friendly interface and ticketing system simplify registration and attendance tracking for both organizers and participants.

Pros

Integrated marketing capabilities an- with built-in marketing tools, Eventbrite supports broader outreach and engagement efforts

Flexibility – Eventbrite supports a wide range of event types and sizes, from small workshops to large conferences.

Cons

Limited educational tools –  Eventbrite lacks specific educational features such as course content management, learner tracking, and assessment tools

No dedicated learner interface –  The platform does not provide a dedicated space for learners to access educational materials, track their progress, or engage with content outside of the event itself.

Focus on events – since Eventbrite is designed around event management, its use as an LMS alternative is best suited for situations where education is delivered primarily through live events.

5. TeachableLMS alternative for providers focused on direct course sales and learner engagement

Teachable is a good LMS alternative for companies focused on direct course sales and student engagement in an online environment. It is especially valued by creators seeking a user-friendly platform that integrates course creation, marketing, and sales functionalities all in one place.

The platform allows for the setup of comprehensive courses that include video content, written lectures, quizzes, and interactive features such as course completion certificates. It also provides integrated comment sections for direct student interaction.

Pros

Comprehensive course creation tools – creators can upload various multimedia content types and structure them into modules and lectures that are easy to navigate.

Interactive student tools –  features like quizzes, course completion certificates, and a built-in comment system are useful social learning additions.

Cons 

Dependence on third-party integrations – some features may require integration with other tools, potentially complicating the setup.

Limited assessment tools – while Teachable offers quizzes, it lacks more comprehensive assessment tools such as detailed assignments, peer reviews, and complex testing formats that are available in some traditional LMSs.

6. Thinkific – LMS alternative for educators and entrepreneurs

Thinkific is a good LMS alternative tailored for educators and entrepreneurs who prioritize autonomy over their course structures and student engagement processes. TTH supports a diverse range of content types including videos, texts, quizzes, and downloadable resources. 

These tools are integrated within a system that allows for a high degree of customization, making it possible for users to mold the educational environment to match their brand identity and training approach.

Pros 

Full control over content – instructors enjoy unfettered control over their course content, allowing them to tailor learning experiences precisely to their educational goals.

Extensive integration capabilities – the platform supports a wide array of integrations.

Cons

Cost of advanced features – access to more sophisticated features necessitates upgrading to higher-tier plans

Limited real-time interaction features –  Thinkific’s focus is predominantly on asynchronous learning, with limited built-in capabilities for live instruction

7. Mighty Networks – community driven LMS alternative

Mighty Networks is a platform that provides a blend of course delivery and community-building. It caters specifically to creators and educators who want to establish a community-centric learning environment where interaction and collaborative learning are just as important as the content itself. This platform is particularly beneficial for those looking to integrate social learning dynamics with formal educational structures.

Pros

Community-centric platform – Mighty Network can be used to build vibrant communities around specific courses or subjects, enabling users to interact, share, and learn together. 

Diverse content delivery options – the platform supports a range of content formats including articles, videos, and live streams. 

Flexible monetization strategies – Mighty Networks provides multiple revenue options such as charging for course access, offering paid memberships, or hosting paid events

Cons 

Complex setup and management – the integration of community features with educational content can make the platform more complex to set up and manage than traditional LMSs.

Limited traditional educational tools – Mighty Networks does not offer extensive traditional educational tools such as sophisticated grading systems, in-depth learner analytics, or detailed progress tracking, which can be a drawback for educational scenarios requiring rigorous academic assessments.

Focus on community over content –  while the strong focus on community engagement is a strength, it can sometimes overshadow the structured delivery of educational content. This might not be ideal for programs that require a more traditional, content-focused approach to learning.

Reasons organizations may want alternatives to traditional LMS platforms

Based on our conversations with hundreds of training companies and educational providers we’ve come across a few main reasons organizations start to consider alternatives to their LMS:

1. Cost savings

The number one reason training organizations in particular start to look for LMS alternatives is cost. The cost of an LMS can vary depending on the pricing model an LMS provider uses. But most of the time you’ll have a set amount, either monthly or annually for a set amount of users. 

You can also expect to pay an implementation fee so that a provider can make sure the LMS fits with your existing workflows and tech stack.

2. Flexibility and customization

Sometimes a training or education provider has specific requirements where they need an alternative to an LMS. This could mean needing an alternative  for delivering courses and content. 

For instance, imagine a vocational training program that focuses on hands-on skills like carpentry or welding. In such cases, a traditional LMS might not adequately support the practical aspects of the training, such as providing real-time feedback on technique or facilitating peer collaboration in a workshop setting.

To address this, the training provider might opt for a blended learning approach, combining online resources with in-person workshops and mentorship, and choose software better suited to these training delivery methods.

3. A want or need to deliver training in different delivery formats

LMSs are great for delivering online training, but don’t facilitate instructor-led training or live online training. A training business who is looking to focus on instructor-led or live online training (or both) are better suited to using software like training management software that specializes in enabling the delivery and management of these training types.

4. Ease of use

Like with any significant software platform LMSs differ on the ease of use scale. To some users they can initially be overwhelming, and take a while to get the hang of. Some businesses, particularly smaller educational providers may be better suited to using alternatives to deliver their educational programmes.

When should you consider LMS alternatives

Your focus is on delivering instructor-led training

As we’ve noted, if you currently or are looking to deliver instructor-led in-persons or live online training then training management software, such as Arlo, is a better option. LMSs focus on managing and delivering online learning content and activities. 

The key reasons LMSs don’t cater well to instructor led training include:

Limited interaction features – LMSs typically offer limited tools for facilitating real-time interaction between instructors and learners. 

Scheduling and attendance tracking – while LMSs may offer basic scheduling features, they may not provide comprehensive course scheduling capabilities tailored to instructor-led training. 

Lack of course management features – traditional LMSs may not offer robust course management tools tailored for instructor-led training. Instructor-led training often involves complex course structures, with multiple sessions, varying durations, and different instructors, all of which are better managed by training management software

Limited course registration options: Traditional LMSs may offer limited or rigid course registration processes that are not well-suited for instructor-led training. This can include difficulties in managing enrollments for specific sessions or cohorts, handling waitlists, or accommodating last-minute registrations or changes.

You don’t require full LMS functionality

Learning management systems are comprehensive solutions stacked full of features, including:

  • Course management – features to create, organize, and manage courses
  • Content authoring –  tools for creating and editing various types of learning content, such as presentations, quizzes, videos, and interactive modules.
  • Assessment and quizzing  – features for creating and delivering assessments, quizzes, and surveys, with options for automatic grading and feedback.
  • Communication tools – built-in communication tools like discussion forums, messaging systems, and announcement boards to facilitate interaction between instructors and learners
  • Analytics and reporting –  tracking and reporting capabilities to monitor learner progress, engagement, and performance, providing insights for course improvement and learner support.
  • Mobile compatibility – support for mobile devices, allowing learners to access course materials and participate in activities on smartphones and tablets.
  • Gamification and social learning – integration of gamification elements such as badges, points, and leaderboards to enhance learner motivation and engagement. And social learning features that enable collaborative learning experiences, such as group projects, peer reviews, and social networking functionalities.
  • Integration capabilities – ability to integrate with other learning tools and systems, such as training management systems and content management systems.

These are only some of the features that an LMS can contain, and of course not all of these features will be required by all LMS customers. You may find that you’re using an LMS and don’t need many of its features, and if this is the case you may want to seek out an alternative.

Your budget can’t accommodate for an LMS

Of course, budget dictates all and an LMS may be out of your price range, or one that suits your need may be out of your price range. 

Types of software that provide an alternative to an LMS

Here are the different types of software that can generally be considered as alternatives to an LMS ( the seven providers we’ve explored all fall these types):

Training Management Platforms

Training management platforms streamline the administrative aspects of training programs. They offer features that go beyond what a traditional LMS provides, particularly in managing the logistical side of training operations.

Classroom Management Tools

Classroom management tools like Microsoft Teams for Education and Google Classroom feature tools integrate with other educational resources, manage assignments, discussions, and resource sharing, and support a blended learning approach.

Knowledge Base Software

Knowledge base software, such as Confluence or Zendesk Guide, helps organizations create, organize, and share detailed documentation and guides. These platforms are ideal for self-service learning.

Corporate Training Platforms

Corporate training platforms like SAP Litmos and Adobe Captivate Prime are designed to facilitate training within a corporate environment. They offer functionalities that go beyond traditional LMSs, such as integration with HR systems – very useful in corporate environments.

Event Management Software

Event management software streamline the planning, execution, and analysis of training events. These platforms are essential for managing both virtual and in-person training events.

Use an LMS with other types of training software

Seeking out an alternative to an LMS doesn’t have to mean replacing it. Most LMSs integrate with a wide range of other platforms, including many LMS alternatives such as training management software and event management platforms. 

For example, LMSs such as LearnDash, Moodle, TalentLMS and aNewSpring all integrate with Arlo to help training providers facilitate a broader range of training programmes across different formats. 

A great example of how a learning management system can integrate with complimentary software like a training management system is the integration between Moodle and Arlo. Moodle is a learning platform designed to provide educators, administrators and learners with a single robust, secure and integrated system to create personalized learning environments, particularly personalized eLearning experiences. 

With Arlo for Moodle you can manage eLearning course registration & payments, connect them to your website with ease, manage all your leads and get access to powerful reporting—all in one easy-to-use integration. In simple terms, Moodle helps you deliver eLearning, while Arlo powers all the commercial aspects of running your training business.

Arlo’s plugin with Moodle offers training providers the following features:

  • CRM – Managing client relationships and tracking sales opportunities
  • Marketing tools – Run targeted campaigns, generate leads, integrate marketing automation, and leverage social media to promote your courses.
  • Website integration – Create beautiful looking course websites to promote and sell your courses.
  • Shopping cart (eCommerce) – Accept online registrations and payments by credit card or invoice. 

As you can see, there are plenty of LMS alternatives available. The right choice for you will depend on the specific features you’re seeking and the reasons behind your search for an alternative. Factors such as the type of training you provide and your budget will also play a role. However, this roundup should provide you with some good options to consider.

At Arlo we work with hundreds of training businesses that have ditched their outdated manual processes, and embraced a platform that manages their entire training operation. You can try out our award-winning training management platform free for 14 days to see if it’s the right fit for your business, or schedule a demo with our team.

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Frequently asked questions

What is the most widely used LMS?

Some of the most widely used LMSs include Moodle Talent LMS and Google Classroom.

Are LMSs difficult to use?

Some specific LMS features can have a steep learning curve, but like any piece of software, familiarity grows with practice. Initially, navigating through an LMS might seem complex due to its various functions and settings. However, most LMS platforms offer tutorials, guides, and customer support to aid users in mastering their tools.

What are the three major types of LMS?

The three major types of LMS are Cloud-Based LMS (SaaS LMS), Open-Source LMS, and Installed LMS (On-Premise). Each type has its own advantages and considerations, catering to different organizational needs and preferences.

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