The Top 20 Most Affordable LMS Software Report Methodology

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Top 20 reports are updated annually. This post was updated on 10/3/2018.

These days, innovation is what keeps businesses competitive. 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, of course!

The top 20 most affordable LMS software report

Whether you’re a small startup or a global conglomerate, today’s workforce is looking to build skills and develop professionally. By investing in a learning management system (LMS) to train your employees, you’re not only investing in the success and satisfaction of your employees, you’re also investing in your bottom line.

If you’re looking to buy the best LMS, you need to make sure that’s what you’re actually getting. According to our “LMS Industry User Research” report, 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, which goes over the features and costs associated with learning management systems, so you don’t have to comb through over 500 LMS websites to get the best deal.

To help you create your shortlist, 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.


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 are compiled from all three Gartner Digital Market sites: Capterra, GetApp, and Software Advice.

For our analysis, we compiled a pricing scenario based on a typical LMS buyer:

ABC organization has 500 learners who are expected to access the system once a month. The company has designed its own courses and will need to upload and create them in 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 above as possible and as many of the following training and support resources as possible: user permissions configuration, API, training videos, articles/training documents, free demos, email/help desk, FAQ/knowledge base.

The standard features considered in this pricing scenario are:

  1. Course management (storage and 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:

chart showing monthly cost of LMS software

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 to $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 to $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 that needs training—the cost per learner tends to go down.

For the products we evaluated, 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 solutions charge about $1.50 per learner, per month. If functionality is your main concern, each feature in a system costs a little over $64 per month, on average.

How to get started on your software search

Though functionality and price are 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 recently updated 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 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 report annually.

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

Christina Tsantes

Christina is a Product Report Specialist as part of Capterra’s software lab and a graduate from Christopher Newport University. When she’s not testing software solutions, she spends her time practicing yoga, watching reruns of Friends episodes, and attempting to learn her mother’s cooking skills.


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