Comparing 3 LMS Solutions in 2023 - Opigno, Moodle & MemberPress
Story by Mila Klimkowicz
13 min read
Research shows that there are currently a staggering 73.8 million users of Learning Management Systems (LMS). That number reveals just how high the demand for e-learning solutions is right now. What has driven the need for adopting a Learning Management System? The reason behind this could be the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic which necessitated the shift towards remote learning. As a result, online learning has become something common, not only in a school setting but also for many businesses due to its practicality and cost-effectiveness.
In this blog post, we will explain what exactly an LMS is and some of the common features it provides. We will also analyze 3 popular LMS solutions that are available in the market.
What is a Learning Management System?
Let's start with the basics - what exactly is a Learning Management System (LMS)? It is a software application used to manage, deliver, and track online courses and educational materials. Apart from delivering different types of content such as courses and workshops, an LMS also includes various tools to help improve the learning experience. Below, we outline some of the most commonly found tools within an LMS.
It’s essential to ensure that the platform you want to build can be fine-tuned to meet the requirements of your business. With different customization options, you can tailor the learning environment to meet the diverse needs of your users by providing multiple learning paths. An LMS should also allow you to adjust the interface and visual design of your platform so that it aligns with your company’s branding (for example customizing your dashboard title, including logos, and using your brand colors and graphic elements).
Content Management 📎
At its core, an LMS serves as a user-friendly and convenient tool for efficient content management. Therefore one of the features provided by Learning Management Systems is the creation of well-structured courses and the ability to easily manage them by admins. Instructors should find tasks like content editing to be an intuitive process within the LMS. Additionally, these systems typically provide options for user role management, course assignment, and tracking of students' progress
Certifications are an important component of an LMS framework. When a user completes a course or achieves good results in an assessment they receive a certificate. This function is crucial for organizations as it helps track user performance and oversee skill development. With an LMS you can create personalized certificates tailored to specific departments or course skills.
Learning should be an enjoyable experience, and who doesn't love games? Incorporating gamification elements like points, badges, and rewards enhances user motivation and engagement within courses. Depending on the subject matter and the nature of your educational content, it's also beneficial to integrate interactive elements and quizzes into your courses. Fortunately, numerous LMS solutions offer the flexibility to incorporate these interactive and engaging components.
Social Learning 🧑🤝🧑
Remaining connected with peers and having the opportunity to ask questions related to our learning topics significantly improves the learning process. Social learning features such as group chats and forums encourage teamwork, and collaboration, and create a sense of community.
Learning Analytics 📊
Learning management systems often come with built-in reporting tools that allow administrators to monitor metrics such as completion rates, test scores, attendance records, and the time invested in courses.
Mobile Learning 📱
In today's digital age, mobile accessibility is paramount as for most people its more convenient to reach for their mobile devices. A Learning Management System with a mobile-friendly design ensures that users can access it seamlessly on any device, from anywhere they choose.
If you are offering paid courses this is a feature that you have to keep in mind when selecting your LMS software. An e-commerce functionality will allow you to integrate payment gateways such as Stripe and PayPal and give you the ability to build landing pages for selling your courses.
Different types of Learning Management Systems
When it comes to selecting the right LMS solution for your specific needs, it's essential to consider your priorities and the features you require. There are primarily two types of LMSs to choose from: cloud-based (SaaS) and open-source.
If your goal is to rapidly implement a solution while having technical responsibilities (such as software enhancements and maintenance) taken care of by a vendor, then the SaaS route might be ideal for you. SaaS learning management systems allow you to create a system hosted on the cloud and are a suitable choice if you have limited resources. However, they can be quite limited in terms of personalization and integration compatibility.
Examples of cloud-based LMS solutions include:
- Google Classroom
Open-source systems are usually free to install and offer extensive customization options since you have full access to the source code. While there may not be an initial payment required to use an open-source LMS, you'll still need to invest in development and design. Additionally, you are responsible for maintaining your LMS, which will involve additional costs. However, a significant advantage of this choice is the freedom to make unlimited modifications, ensuring your LMS aligns precisely with your requirements.
Examples of open-source LMS solutions include:
- Opigno LMS
- Canvas LMS
- MemberPress (a WordPress plugin)
A comparison between 3 learning management systems
Now that we've gone over the basics you should now have a grasp of what an LMS is, the available types in the market, and the typical features they provide. It's time to delve into concrete examples. We'll explore three common solutions which are: Moodle, Opigno and MemberPress. Each of these options has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, so, let's examine them closely to determine which one aligns best with your needs.
When you search for a Learning Management System Moodle is most likely one of the first names you will run across. It stands out as one of the most widely recognized LMS software options and is both free and open-source. Fun fact: the term "moodle" is an acronym for: modular object-oriented dynamic learning environment, but the name was also chosen due to the dictionary definitions associated with that word such as "tinkering", "insight", and "creativity".
With a presence on more than 166,000 sites spanning 239 countries, it's clear that Moodle is a popular choice with a growing global community. If you're curious, you can explore the continually updated list of registered Moodle sites, maintained and provided by Moodle.
One of the primary benefits of Moodle is its cost-effectiveness, as it's freely available under the GNU General Public License, making it accessible for anyone to adapt and tailor to their specific requirements. Similar to many other LMS products, Moodle offers a whole set of tools for course creation, editing, content management, and progress tracking. It has a large selection of built-in features and offers a wide range of integrations.
An example of an integration worthy of considering is ReadSpeaker. This text-to-speech plugin enables users to listen to the content within Moodle, which can significantly boost your platform's accessibility, making it more inclusive for all users.
Moreover, for those looking to expand their learning environment, there's the Moodle App, which provides users with access to educational content even without an internet connection. Depending on your specific needs, you can choose between the free plan or opt for the paid options, including Pro, Premium, and Branded plans.
Nevertheless, Moodle does have its drawbacks, one of them is what some may perceive as an outdated look and feel. While Moodle is a well-established and trusted tool with a long history, its interface may not be as smooth and user-friendly as some other solutions available in the market. Additionally, users might find it difficult to navigate and understand the platform, often due to the excessive amount of menus and settings, which can sometimes make it difficult to locate the most crucial functions and lead to confusion.
While Moodle is known for its flexibility and customization options, managing and maintaining it can become a bit of a challenge. Unless you are a tech-savvy individual, you may need to hire a developer to help you with necessary adjustments and provide support for updates. Since there's no official support available, you'll either have to rely on hiring a developer or turn to online forums (fortunately, Moodle has a large community).
Expanding on the point made earlier, Moodle's frequent updates can result in compatibility issues with plugins used to enhance the platform's functionality. When these plugins become outdated, you'll have to wait for a third-party developer to address that problem.
Ultimately, whether Moodle is the right choice depends on your coding skills and technical setup. If you have coding expertise and a suitable tech stack, it might be a good option. However, for small organizations with limited budgets or large enterprises looking for a highly efficient and scalable infrastructure, this choice may not be the most suitable one.
The next option worth considering is Opigno LMS. While it may not enjoy the same level of popularity as Moodle, it holds a unique niche in the learning management system landscape. One of the reasons that this solution is the go-to for many may be the fact that Opigno is based on Drupal, which is known for its reliability and stability. We ourselves selected Opigno for a recent LMS project called "The Knowledge Zone" (Strefa Wiedzy) for The Polish Development Fund (PFR). You can explore this project at the following link: strefawiedzypfr.pl
Opigno LMS is designed for building highly adaptable e-learning platforms and efficiently managing content. This Drupal-based open-source solution truly allows you to make it your own - it offers customization options not only in terms of the user interface design to align with your brand but also for fine-tuning the user dashboard to meet specific requirements.
On top of that, Opigno LMS ensures access to courses and educational materials across various devices and comes with all the necessary tools that allow you to create personalized learning paths for your students. It also includes features such as a built-in social network and tools to coordinate user roles, permissions and tracking student progress. All of this makes for an exceptional user experience and will encourage students to continue learning.
A particularly intriguing integration, especially if you wish to provide engaging content, is the integration with H5P. This integration unlocks a multitude of possibilities with its wide range of interactive content types, including memory quizzes, crosswords, and flashcards, to name just a few examples.
Numerous well-known brands have chosen this Drupal-based solution (including Renault, Nestle, and Pfizer) and the implementation of Opigno proves to be the optimal choice for medium to large-scale organizations. It provides all essential tools within a single platform and is compliant with corporate security standards.
While Opigno definitely stands as an impressive LMS stands as an impressive LMS, there have been some complaints regarding the complexity of usage (especially in terms of creating modules for external technologies integration) and the lack of instructional materials, such as how-to guides, which could help reduce the learning curve.
To gain insight into the functionality of this LMS, you can explore the demo version. Here, you have the opportunity to check out the various features and available options, enabling you to make an informed decision about whether it aligns with your business needs before committing.
As stated on their website, MemberPress is the "All-in-one" membership plugin for WordPress. With this plugin, you can create a membership website where users can access premium content such as online courses, exclusive blog posts, or ebooks.
One of the main strengths of this solution is how easy it is to set up and start building and selling your own courses. With the Courses add-on, you can build your courses and lessons without any coding knowledge by using the WordPress Block Editor. In the Curriculum tab, you can edit and rearrange lessons within your course using a simple click-and-drag feature. And thanks to the built-in ReadyLaunch™ page maker you can ensure that your pages are not only visually appealing but also responsive across all devices.
In addition to that, you can also construct custom quizzes, monitor student progress, and create a certification program. Furthermore, you can use the drip feature to release courses gradually instead of all at once. Regarding payment options - you have the flexibility to choose between selling your courses through one-time payments or subscriptions. MemberPress is integrated with secure payment gateways such as PayPal or Stripe.
Taking all the mentioned options into account, MemberPress stands out as a great LMS solution for those looking for a quick way to get things up and running, particularly with the added benefit of an accessible Knowledge Base to guide you through specific configuration settings. Nonetheless, the downside to all this is the fact that MemberPress doesn't offer a lifetime purchase option; instead, you must select from three available plans: Basic, Plus, or Pro.
And there you have it - a comparison of selected LMS solutions available in the market. As you can see, each of them presents a unique set of advantages and drawbacks, and their suitability depends entirely on your specific case.
So, how can you determine which one is the best fit for you? Here are some key considerations to ponder before arriving at a decision:
Audience: Identify your target audience. Are you training employees or potential clients? How large is your audience? Will you need a corporate-level solution that can handle mass enrollment of students?
Technical Requirements: Assess your technical requirements for the LMS. Do you merely need basic reports to track learner progress, or do you require more advanced analytical tools? Is user, admin and permission management crucial for your needs?
Feature Set: Define the features you're seeking. It's crucial to consider not only what you need but also what you don't need to avoid unnecessary complexity.
Integrations: Determine whether you require integrations with third-party tools to enhance functionality.
These are some aspects you may want to contemplate. However, to make an informed decision, it's always a good idea to seek guidance from experienced professionals who can point you in the right direction if any doubts arise. Direktpoint points in the right direction (pun intended) and we have a proven track record of working with numerous companies on diverse projects. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions!