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Moodle vs. Edmodo vs. Blackboard: The Ultimate LMS Comparison

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I’ve spent a lot of time around Moodle, a popular learning management software. I know the navigation of the system, the way it hosts video, the login process. I slip into the UI as easily as a well-worn shoe.

As my college’s preferred LMS, Moodle felt like a default in my life for a long time. Elsewhere in higher education (and lower education, and in the corporate training world), others think of Blackboard or Edmodo the way I think of Moodle: a go-to, at times more familiar than any lessons they contain.

Those three names come up a lot, don’t they? Probably because Capterra ranks them as the three most popular options on the LMS market. But which one is truly the best for you? Check out our ultimate LMS comparison to see how they stack up in terms of pros and cons, price, popularity, and what users themselves have to say about each software.

1. Edmodo

Edmodo is a cloud-based LMS that allows for collaborative learning through content sharing, communication tools, and classroom management. It offers unlimited storage for content, which means administrators spend less time dealing with paperwork. Edmodo provides instructors and training managers one place to store, assign, schedule, and track, enabling them to efficiently run their digital classrooms.

Best For: Companies that train in groups or where the primary work is team-based, such as emergency medical services or software design groups.

Pros: One of the pros of Edmodo is that it’s conducive to collaborative work, not only among students, but also among teachers. It allows students to share files with the teachers and the teachers to share files with each other, a feature lacking in many learning management systems. This is a huge boon, since social learning is so successful. It also has a unique user interface that some reviewers compare to Facebook or similar social media.

Cons: Some reviewers report bugs in the system, particularly when trying to load Edmodo on a mobile device. Not ideal for learning on the go.

Price: There is a free version, and a premium version with additional features such as improved analytics. The premium version costs $2,500 per year.

Number of users: 79 million +

What reviewers say:

“It has many features typical of social networks, making it easier for students to keep contact with students, and more importantly, allowing students to connect themselves and work together in assignments.”

“I got up to speed in less than an hour – its ease of use is a major strength, but don’t go thinking it’s lightweight as a result. Good grade tracking, and a Facebook-y UX that teenagers (and others!) get straight away. If you’re looking for value for money, or are an organisation on a limited budget, I’d come here first. No hosting worries, active community and simple user experience for teacher and student.”

Review it here!

2. Moodle

Moodle is a free and open-source platform that lets educators create their own courses, and then provides them with tools to help them effectively manage their classroom. It utilizes a system of modules, allowing the user to add on whichever modules or plug-ins they think will be best for the particular course they want to build and implement. Overall, Moodle is configurable and flexible, with easy-to-use interfaces and good reviews.

Best For: Companies on a strict budget or anyone who feels comfortable modding their own software.

Pros: Moodle can be tailored specifically to meet your unique needs, so you won’t be bogged down with features you don’t need or want. Moodle’s open source code also allows for tons of customization—there’s an involved community that constantly changes and updates add-ons, plug-ins, and resources. Check out this list of 15 excellent free Moodle add-ons.

Cons: Moodle does not provide an easy way to manage large groups of people across multiple courses or tracks; it can be done but you’ll find it easier to manage small groups of users course-by-course. You also can’t embrace this software right out of the box—you may feel that you need those add-ons and plug-ins to make Moodle function the way you want it to since the default user interface is a bit dated.

Price: Open-source, free to download. The Optional Premium version costs $190 per organization per year for up to 100 learners.

Number of users: 106 million +

What reviewers say:

“It really is an amazing resource in terms of the organization and ease with which you can easily facilitate and organize an online/hybrid class setting. Most of Moodle’s features are quite intuitive, especially the online drop-boxes and organizing units and class materials. Simple drag and drop tools also allow you to work seamlessly with multiple windows open in order to edit the layout of your page or to add files.”

“Easy to use cloud-based platform with all of the tools needed to design and manage online courses. All of my students found it easy to use. It enhanced their online learning experience and saved me hours of time by having all of the course content built into a single LMS platform.”

Review it here!

3. Blackboard

Blackboard is a leading provider of enterprise software solutions. Unlike Edmodo and Moodle, Blackboard is skewed more specifically towards corporate use.

Their primary focus is to provide a way for teachers and instructors to create and implement their courses—either online, in class, or both. This solution is particularly helpful for building and delivering fully online courses easily and effectively.

Best For: Government agencies and particularly large or small businesses.

Pros: Targeted more towards business than its competitors, Blackboard may be easier to adopt and implement for a corporate setting. Within the business settings, you’ll find specific options for large corporate as well as small business training, saving you from trying to make a too-hefty or too-sparse system fit your needs. They also have special settings for government use, so if you’re in an official capacity you’re in luck.

Pros: Some reviews mention a lack of elegance and user-friendliness in the interface. That is to say: Blackboard could be prettier. Some reviews also mention bugginess with the app.

Price: Estimated to be around $160,000 per year per organization, but it is best to contact this vendor directly for the most accurate quote.

Number of users: 20 million +

What reviewers say:

“Blackboard is a great tool for any training manager who is looking to develop e-learning courses for annual employee training requirements. It is easy to use and comes with lots of features.”

“Blackboard was an innovator back in the day and still continues to have a strong hold in online educational platforms. Online learning would not be where it today without it.”

Review it here!

So who wins the LMS comparison?

As you can see from the options listed above, there are a lot of things to look for in a learning management solution. So how do you choose the best one?

It all comes down to what kind of business you have and what you need from an LMS.

Are you a government organization or a small business in need of something tailored for size? Go for Blackboard. Working inside a budget or looking to flex some tech-savvy muscles? Moodle is a great choice. If you’re training teams in batches or have collaboration-heavy work, Edmodo is a solid choice. Are you running an academic institution? Then any of the three could be a great option.

If you’re making the investment in an LMS it’s crucial that you find one to match your needs so that it is an efficient and effective tool for you. Each of these top three have different elements to consider, and the right choice will be different for each company.

Which LMS wins for you and your organization? Tell me in the comments below.

And check out these articles to help you take the next step in your LMS search:

Looking for Training software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Training software solutions.

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About the Author

Halden Ingwersen

Halden Ingwersen writes about HR and eLearning at Capterra. She’s a graduate of Agnes Scott College and a TEDx presenter. You can follow her on Twitter @CapterraHalden, just don’t get her started about her zombie survival plan.

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