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What is the best free open source LMS?

Open courses are mainstream right now. I would like to join the trend as well. However, I know that simply finding good material is not enough. Most people use online education platforms to monitor their progress and to have access to a large variety of various programs.

I’ve never worked on any open source LMS for my studies. What is the best education platform? I would like to use a system that provides good online learning environment, has great virtual classrooms, and create a special atmosphere school does. I hope there is at least one like that.

Dana Keller

in Online Courses

1 answer

1 answer

Ramon Kelly on February 15, 2018

I agree with you on the importance of the atmosphere for studying. Getting a productive learning environment online is very rare. Communication is a crucial part of education. And not all platforms and courses can give us the simulation of studying on campus.

There are six most popular open source LMSs: ATutor, Claroline, Dokeos, Ilias, Sakai, and Moodle. All of them offer communication features. Maybe, this is why they are the leaders of their market niche.

ATutor offers instant messaging and a white board which is a cool tool for online lessons. This way, you can feel the atmosphere of a real school. I usually get inspired by these small features and want to study more and more. Their unique software is called AComm. AComm has interesting features. For example, full keyboard functionality that allows users to draw without actually using a mouse.

Among these six leaders of the market, only Moodle has a white board as well. Actually, this online education platform has the best board I’ve ever seen online. Learners and instructors have access to the Skype whiteboard and an interactive board app. In general, interactive open source platforms are the best choice for the full immersion.

Claroline LMS has a community of users and developers that meet occasionally to discuss the ways to improve the interaction between students and teachers.

Discussion forums have been conducted for Ilias users worldwide to enable them exchange information and views on how to improve LMS education.

Sakai has a development discussion group also known as “Sakai-Dev”.

As you see, all of them have their own advantages and benefits. They all aim to improve their services. You cannot say that one is better than the other just looking at it for a few seconds. I would say that you need at least a week to get to know them fully.

There is a through comparison article is provided by Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences. It highlights all pros and cons of each platform and allows you to see the difference. You can read it here:

I’m sure that there are more open source LMSs on the web that also have great features. Unfortunately, I’ve worked only with a few of them. Soon enough, there may be more education platforms that there are stars in the Universe. And this is not great news.

Olive Wilson2 years ago

“I would say that you need at least a week to get to know them fully.” I totally disagree. Why would you spend the whole week to look through them?  I think that you need just a few hours to browse the whole website and know whether you like it or not. I wouldn’t spend a week in hopes the website will magically turn out to be ideal when it is clearly not. There are many open source learning management systems that look great and have great tools. You don’t have to waste time on the poorly-done ones.

As for those 6 leading platforms, I have to agree with you. I’ve tried them all. Some are better, other lack some features. What bothers me the most is the lack of a white board in Ilias. If only it had the tool, I would name it my favorite open source platform to work at.


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