Best Moodle Alternatives 2021

Moodle is an open-source learning management system (LMS) where trainers can build their own curriculum with various plug-ins, such as content, gamification and workflows. It also offers a cloud-based platform, MoodleCloud, for organizations that don’t want to host the software. Although Moodle primarily serves the education market, it’s intended for companies, too.

Because Moodle is open source, it’s free to download the source code. However, users will need to be aware they’ll have to pay for developers, the costs of servers and other hardware, and any advanced training or support (support limited to community forums).

Organizations that prefer to deploy the software in the cloud will need to consider that MoodleCloud plans only support up to 1,000 users. This may not benefit large schools or corporations. Those organizations will have to work with a certified Moodle Partner.

For schools and companies that don’t want to use an open-source solution or have more than 1,000 users, we’ve come up with five Moodle alternatives for comparison.

Best Moodle Alternatives

About Moodle LMS

With Moodle, users have a choice of either installing their account on their servers or using the solution in the cloud. MoodleCloud has several benefits, such as accessibility anytime, scalability and a very short implementation process.

There’s also the Moodle Workplace solution, which allows companies to customize the LMS to fit their unique needs. It includes features such as the ability to build learning and compliance programs, multi-tenancy, a report builder and social learning.

Pros

Flexible deployment options, the ability for teachers to choose their own content and activities, dedicated Moodle mobile app.

Cons

MoodleCloud plans only accommodate up to 1,000 users, and some users say the interface isn’t always intuitive.

Bottom Line

Open-source platform with a modular design for teachers to build their own curriculum.

Pricing

MoodleCloud has a 45-day free trial that includes 1,000 users and 5 GB of storage. Then, there are five pricing tiers that include all the features of Moodle, such as unlimited courses and activities, a mobile app, a personalized site name, session recording and web conferencing with BigBlueButton. Pricing is in U.S. currency.

  • Starter: $120 per year for 50 users and 250 MB of storage
  • Mini: $210 per year for 100 users and 500 MB of storage
  • Small: $380 per year for 200 users and 1 GB of storage
  • Medium: $840 per year for 500 users and 2.5 GB of storage
  • Large: $1,490 per year for 1,000 users and 5 GB of storage

Organizations with over 1,000 users should contact a Moodle Partner for a quote.

Moodle Workplace is only available via the Moodle Partner Network.

Moodle Alternative #1: Canvas LMS

Instructure is a software provider focusing on dynamic learning management systems that streamline teaching tasks for various settings. One of those systems is Canvas LMS, which was created for educational institutions to better engage users in the teaching and learning processes

Instructure has an integrated and inclusive video platform for online teaching called Canvas Studio. With Canvas Studio, students can easily upload and share videos to a digital classroom, as well as let students and instructors comment on videos to create conversations.

Canvas can also be integrated with third-party solutions such as Microsoft Teams, Google Assignments and Discovery Education.

Pros

Canvas Studio, a new-generation tool that makes educational videos more collaborative.

Cons

No built-in gamification features, but Canvas can integrate with third-party tools that allow gamification.

Bottom Line

An LMS created for educational institutions, Canvas was designed to better engage users in the teaching and learning processes.

Pricing

Canvas offers a free account for educators, even if their school isn’t a Canvas customer. However, it doesn’t contain all the options available to paid Canvas users, such as a calendar scheduler, Slack notifications and the ability to post grades to a Student Information System. The free teacher account also accommodates students and parents.

Educational institutions that want to purchase a subscription to Canvas will need to contact Instructure directly for a quote.

Moodle Alternative #2: Blackboard

Like Moodle, Blackboard Learn is a web-based LMS that’s used in both academic and business environments to help students and employees improve their learning experience. It’s easily customized to an organization’s needs and integrates with Microsoft OneDrive, school information systems and Dropbox.

Blackboard Learn is tailored to four different markets: K-12, higher education, businesses and government. All four markets share Blackboard Learn’s main features, such as testing/assessments, discussions and a dedicated user learning profile.

Blackboard Learn can be deployed in three ways: cloud, self-hosting (on-premise) and managed hosting.

Pros

Blackboard Assist feature that helps students access their school’s resources, Blackboard App, the ability to measure course or student success.

Cons

Interface looks outdated and isn’t always intuitive.

Bottom Line

Long-time LMS solution designed to help students and employees improve their learning experience.

Pricing

Blackboard doesn’t publicly release pricing information. However, we’ve estimated how much it costs, based on different sources.

Contact the vendor directly for a price quote.

Moodle Alternative #3: Google Classroom

Google Classroom is part of the G Workspace for Education package that includes Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar and other apps. It’s targeted to teachers and students in both K-12 and higher education markets.

One of the biggest benefits of Google Classroom is it’s simple to use and encourages collaboration between students and teachers. Teachers can create a class and list apps and assignments in a few clicks. They can add students by name or send them a code to join. Students can then see what assignments are due, participate in discussion forums or message the teacher (either in private or via group chat).

Pros

Strong collaborative focus, easy to set up classes and assignments, virtual classes with Google Meet.

Cons

Accounts for parents aren’t offered.

Bottom Line

Learning management solution intended for schools in virtual or hybrid environments.

Pricing

The Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals platform is free for qualifying institutions and includes features such as Google collaboration tools (e.g., Docs, Sheets, Slides), communication tools (e.g., Meet, Gmail, Chat), data loss prevention for Google Drive and Gmail, and compliance with GDPR, FERPA and COPPA.

There are three paid plans:

  • Google Workspace for Education Standard – This plan costs $3 per student, per year and includes all of the features of the Fundamentals platform, plus a security center, advanced device and app management features, Gmail and Classroom logs for export into BigQuery, and audit logs.
  • Teaching and Learning Upgrade – This plan costs $4 per license, per month and includes all of the features of the Google Workspace for Education Standard, plus advanced Google Meet features (e.g., meetings with up to 250 participants, interactive Q&As, breakout rooms), unlimited originality reports and the ability to check for peer matches across a private repository.
  • Google Workspace for Education Plus – This plan costs $5 per student, per year and includes all of the features of the other plans, plus live streams with up to 100,000 in-domain viewers, syncing rosters from SISs to Google Classroom, personalized cloud search and prioritized support.

Moodle Alternative #4: Edmodo

Edmodo is a learning management platform that augments classroom learning with social learning for students and teachers in kindergarten to 12th grades. It’s set up like a social networking feed, similar to Facebook. Students, teachers and parents can communicate with posts, and other users can like or comment on them.

Announcements, questions, tests and assignments are posted in the Edmodo feed.

Pros

Teacher collaboration for support and resources, parent access to students’ grades and assignments, teacher and student collaboration outside of the classroom.

Cons

Not intended for higher education or companies, content authoring tools aren’t offered.

Bottom Line

Social learning platform for teachers, students, administrators and parents.

Pricing

The vendor offers two plans for schools and districts: Personal and Pro. The Personal plan includes 1 GB of cloud storage, a classroom space, Edmodo community resources, personal groups, messaging, class calendar, a dedicated app for parents and email support.

The Pro plan includes all of the features of the Personal plan, plus unlimited cloud storage, Zoom meetings, professional groups, community pages, administrative tools and analytics, onboarding support, prioritized support, an institution resource library and training.

Pricing for school districts with at least 200 users starts at $8 per user and is based on annual billing. Districts that want to learn more about the Pro plan can contact Edmodo for a quote.

Moodle Alternative #5: Docebo

The Docebo Learning Suite empowers enterprises to leverage technology to create, deliver and understand the business impact of their learning programs.

With the multi-product learning suite, companies can tackle any training challenge and create a true learning culture. It includes several benefits, such as flexible learning methods, a customizable platform, tools to measure training impact and mobile learning.

Pros

Customizable platform, robust dashboards and reports for measuring learning trends, flexible training delivery.

Cons

Not intended for small businesses.

Bottom Line

Comprehensive learning suite that empowers enterprises to create, deliver and measure the impact of learning programs.

Pricing

Docebo uses a subscription-based pricing model that’s based on the number of active users per month, and it defines active users as learners who access learning content within a 30-day cycle.

The vendor offers two flexible pricing plans: Growth and Enterprise. The Growth plan accommodates up to 500 active users and includes many features of the learning suite, while the Enterprise plan is intended for organizations with more than 500 active users.

The plans require an annual commitment, and companies can opt for monthly or annual billing. Pricing varies based on the plan the client selects, so reach out to Docebo for a custom quote.

Conclusion

Moodle has flexible deployment options and numerous features, but its open-source option can get expensive when you’re taking the costs of IT resources, advanced implementation or additional support into consideration. Also, be aware that MoodleCloud only accommodates up to 1,000 users.

For educational institutions with over 1,000 users that are looking to compare prices, Edmodo, Google Classroom and Canvas LMS offer free and paid accounts. (Blackboard doesn’t have a free account.) If you’re a business with many active learners that would prefer a cloud-hosting solution, Docebo is a vendor worth looking into.

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