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The Top 20 Most Affordable LMS Software Report

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These days, innovation is what makes the big bucks. And most companies know that innovating starts with hiring smart, adaptable employees.

If you’ve already set yourself up for success by hiring the brightest minds, you might be asking yourself, “What now?”

Teach them more stuff, of course!

Whether you’re a small startup or a global conglomerate, today’s workforce is looking to build skills and develop professionally on their own timelines. And before you roll your eyes about the latest encouragement to cater to millennials’ needs for instant gratification, consider this:  The only thing affected more than employee productivity by the purchase on an LMS was the overall cost of training.

By investing in an LMS, you’re not only investing in the success and satisfaction of your employees. You’re also investing in your bottom line.

But if you’re looking to buy the best, you need to make sure that’s what you’re actually getting. According to a recent survey, the most important factors in an LMS purchase are functionality and price. That’s why we created our Top 20 Most Affordable LMS Software report, going over the features and costs associated with  learning management systems so you don’t have to comb through over 400 LMS websites just trying to figure out what these solutions do, or how much you’ll be paying to get them.


To create this report, we evaluated the available features of a system, the cost of those standard features, and what actual users said about those systems in customer reviews, which came from our website and our sister companies’ sites, GetApp and Software Advice.

For our analysis, we compiled a pricing scenario based on a “typical LMS buyer,” included below:

ABC organization has 500 learners who are expected to access the system once a month. They have created their own courses and will need to upload them to the system. They will have two administrators monitoring learner progress and course completion. They would like to use the system for at least two years and need as many of the features listed below as possible and as many of the following implementation, training and support resources as possible (video conferencing/webinar integration, permissions configuration, open API, customer alerts, videos, email/help desk, FAQ/knowledge base, demos, articles/training documents).

The standard, expected features considered in this pricing scenario are included below.

  1. Course management (storage & delivery)
  2. Learner portal
  3. Completion tracking/reporting
  4. Built-in course authoring tools
  5. Learning paths/tracks
  6. Assessment/testing tools
  7. SCORM compliance
  8. Blended learning
  9. Social learning
  10. Mobile learning/optimization
  11. Branding
  12. Compliance management/tracking

Below is a breakdown of the monthly cost of the Top 20 Most Affordable LMS solutions, based on our pricing scenario:

It’s important to keep in mind that, especially in the LMS world, different companies offer different pricing models. Most systems will charge you a “per learner per month fee.” If this number is relatively stable (for example, you have about 100 employees at any given time who access the system on a semi-regular basis), the cost per learner tends to be lower (between $1-$3 per learner, depending on the system). However, if you are selling courses or training and your numbers tend to fluctuate, software sellers will compensate for this fluctuation by charging you closer to $5-$10 per month. To throw another wrench into this machine, some systems will charge you per course you offer your employees. Or, if you’re selling training, they will calculate your cost by taking a percentage of your course revenue.

The good news is that, as your total number of learners goes up—meaning your business must be doing something right since you’re hiring more employees or reaching a larger audience who needs training—the cost per learner tends to go down.

Based on our learner number of 500 learners per month and our request for as many of the above features as possible, we found that most LMS’s will charge you about $1.55 per learner per month. Or if functionality is your main concern, each feature in a system costs a little over $64 per month, on average. Industry-wide, LMS’s tend to be a pretty significant investment of both time and money. Luckily, in addition to this report, Capterra also has a handy eBook to help you decide if your organization is ready for a learning management system.


While functionality and price were two of the top three most important factors in deciding on an LMS, we know ease of use is also important to consider for your team. For more information on system usability, you can access our research in our other new report, the Top 20 Most User-Friendly LMS Software.

Both of these reports are meant to be used as stepping stones to start your own research. Capterra recommends that you look at three to five solutions before making a software decision. It’s important to remember to pick an LMS that works best with your training process and your employees’ learning styles.

But what do you think? Did we miss any of the most affordable LMS software vendors?  Let us know! We update this research a few times a year.

Looking for Learning Management System software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Learning Management System software solutions.

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About the Author

Kelsie Anderson

Kelsie is a writer and researcher for Capterra. She has a background in English and French literature, so she can read pretty good. When she's not reading and writing about software trends, she enjoys reading about literally anything else, dabbling in comedic pursuits, and settling Catan.


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