With an open source Learning Management System (LMS), you can customize your experience and programs based on your business goals and department directives, allowing different groups of employees to access hundreds of learning modules.

Based on pricing models, customer types, special features, and support, here is our list of the 5 best open source learning management systems.

  1. Moodle

Moodle offers a free online learning management system that allows you to create your own programs with its scalable and secure tools. You can set up and organize all of your training sessions, and it saves a great deal of time when you need to train multiple employees frequently. You can also easily change content and assign it to different users.

Employees can work individually on their assignments and you can track their progress, seeing how well they do in each module. It’s also mobile-friendly and has an app called Moodle Mobile. You can access course content from any location using these tools.

Some of the setup options can be complicated and need to be handled by a developer, especially if you don’t have experience with programming.


  • Small business friendly
  • Easy to set up basic training sessions
  • Allows for multiple sessions and assignments
  • Customizable
  • Enables mass enrollment
  • Free


  • Requires upgrade for memory and storage
  • Requires development knowledge to customize different tools
  • Interface feels a bit dated


Free, but you may need to upgrade your hosting and server plans, as well as hire a developer to fully customize the tools.

  1. Chamilo

For those who want to create a virtual campus, Chamilo may be the ideal choice. You can create fully online and hybrid courses, and it offers an open source license. Currently, Chamilo has over 500,000 users in 25 different countries.

Although Chamilo is entirely free, you may need a developer to help you set up your modules. Otherwise, you can easily set up training content, install web hosting, track results, improve different learning modules, and offer visual learning tools on the platform as well.

Chamilo allows you to have 3,000 simultaneously connected students. It also has cloud compatibility, though you may have to upgrade to take advantage of this solution. If you are looking to sell your e-learning courses, you can use Chamilo to set up your platform easily. It includes a course catalog, skills management, complex configurations, SCORM support, and certificate generation.


  • Free, open source software
  • Multi-lingual options
  • Easy access to setup course content
  • Allows for online editing
  • Integrations available with existing IT
  • Mobile videoconferencing
  • Gamification options
  • Monitoring and certification generation
  • Supports desktop and mobile devices


  • Needs a developer for best implementation and integration
  • Developers complain of some cluttered code
  • Very memory heavy
  • Course tools only allow for simple integrations, so you’ll need to set up visual learning tools on your own



  1. Totara Learn

You can customize Totara to your heart’s content. If you have numerous training needs, then this open source platform allows you to create roadmaps and integrate with other IT platforms. There are some award-winning features included with Totara that make it a great option if you want a free, open source LMS that is fully available on the cloud. You can set up in-person, online, livestreaming, webinars, and documentation on Totara, and it has 24-hour support, seven days a week.

However, it is a very technical platform to set up and will likely require developer assistance. There are some simple features in the design that may allow someone with a little technical knowledge to set up basic courses, catalogs, and enroll students. It’s very flexible, and you can add your own plugins to customize the experience even more.

Even though you may need technical assistance when issues arise, it’s the perfect application for employee training or corporate training, and you can create reports on the fly. You can evaluate an employee’s training and see their different strengths, giving you a full readout in just a few seconds.


  • Free and open source
  • Great standard features
  • Evergreen support with new features released all the time
  • Simple design and interface
  • Build course catalogs, reports, and workflows


  • Requires developer for set up to avoid problems with proprietary software
  • Poor documentation
  • Missing some important settings and training in how to set up basic modules


Free, but you will likely need a developer or technical assistance to help with setup and bug issues.

  1. Canvas

Most businesses love Canvas because it is a well-known developer and has hundreds of thousands of users. This platform offers a fully customizable tool, allowing you to set up educational learning tools any way that you like. If you prefer visual learning or webinars, you can set up workflows with different courses based on your videos and PowerPoint training.

It’s also easy to collaborate using Canvas. Instructors and students can chat and talk directly on the platform. Students are able to receive notifications about their courses, and they can submit assignments or interact with different learning tools on Canvas.

For businesses and teachers, Canvas offers an incredible learning atmosphere where you can set up videos, blogs, wikis, documentation, and get feedback as well. Since it is open software, you can add your own features and integrate with other software to scale. It’s great for creating a collaborative workspace, but it doesn’t have the same level of support as some of the other learning management systems. Some bugs may require a developer to fix.


  • Easy to use and set up
  • Lots of documentation
  • Set up courses with elaborate collaborative tools
  • 99% uptime guarantee
  • Lots of tools for students and instructors
  • Track progress, get reports, share resources, review grades, and live stream content


  • Some bugs will require developer assistance
  • Customer service has been criticized for slow response


Free and open source

  1. Open edX

There are a literally thousands of courses and specializations available with Open edX. It is currently one of the top systems available for e-learning. You can select from all types of courses already available or you can customize your own. It is well known for its project management tools, and setup is effortless if you have basic technical knowledge. There are also certification programs, reporting tools, monitoring tools, and visual learning plugins.

Instructors love this platform because it feels really engaging and has a classroom feel thanks to live streaming features. You can also set up discussion boards, blogs, wikis, and forums. The interface works well for students and instructors, but the system is not totally free.


  • Easy to use and set up
  • Live stream videos and instruction tools
  • Courses already set up for you
  • Low-cost
  • Cloud-based software
  • Organize course schedules, get grades, publish courses and offer course checklists
  • Certification generation


  • You’ll need credits to use some of the features
  • Developer required to work around pay to use features
  • Only a few free certificates


Free and open source, but you’ll need credits to access some features and certificates.


The learning management system market is projected to be worth over $15.72 billion by 2021, and a large percentage of Fortune 500 companies already use these types of educational systems to instruct their employees.

When you choose the right LMS for your business or team, you can easily scale and deploy courses and programs that match your organization’s goals. With collaborative tools for learning online, open source learning management systems provide the best combination of price, software for grading, reporting, tracking, and monitoring.

Author: Joy Miller