How Much Does an LMS Cost? 2021 Pricing Guide

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Pricing is a top priority for schools and businesses trying to pick a learning management system (LMS). These organizations want to educate students and train employees while staying in their budgets.

It can be time-consuming to compare prices for LMS solutions because vendors have different kinds of payment plans. In addition, some vendors state pricing info on their websites, while others ask you to contact them directly for a quote.

To make the process easier, we’ve created this comprehensive pricing guide with common payment models, additional costs to consider and examples of popular LMS vendor pricing.

What is an LMS?

A learning management system delivers and tracks educational and training content. It’s used by companies to onboard and train employees and by educational organizations to teach students. E-learning tools include customizable content, mobile lessons and gamification. LMS solutions can improve employee engagement and retention.

Learning management systems have several modules, including:

Learning management – Learning management helps users organize and automate education and training. It includes tools for managing user info, scheduling, alerts, messages and delivering content. Administrators can also set prerequisites for training and allow users to self-enroll into specific courses.

Content development – Organizations can develop personalized course content, either using templates or from scratch. Course authoring tools let administrators design courses with multimedia, such as videos, PDFs, infographics, animations and PowerPoint presentations.

Content library – Many LMS solutions include an out-of-the-box content library with premade learning materials. The library may cover a variety of topics, such as safety regulations, customer service and management techniques.

Employee training – Some LMS solutions offer employee training courses. These courses often cover onboarding and job training or offer instruction needed for industry-required certifications.

SCORM compliance – Shareable Content Object Reference Model, or SCORM, is an industry standard that allows learning management systems to incorporate third-party content without any duplication or recoding.

Asynchronous learning – Asynchronous learning lets students access course materials at different times and locations. The main benefit is that users can learn at their own convenience. Because users aren’t bound to a class schedule, organizations often set deadlines to motivate users to complete courses.

Synchronous learning – Synchronous learning requires students to learn at specific times, either online or in a physical classroom, which can foster collaboration between employees. However, it can be difficult to coordinate and schedule synchronous learning.

Mobile learning – Mobile learning gives students access to LMS materials through a mobile app or web browser. This feature allows remote and asynchronous learners to complete courses on the go.

Gamification – Also known as game-based learning, gamification provides incentives for students to stay engaged by offering points, badges and other achievements. Students are motivated by competition, entertainment and the casual nature of games.

Testing and assessments – Tests, assessments and quizzes see whether individual students have retained what they learned. They can be given after each lesson or at the end of the course. Analytical tools can identify proficiencies and learning gaps.

Certification and compliance management – Some industries or specific jobs require employee certification or compliance training. This feature manages and tracks whether employees have completed all requirements and can generate reports for auditing.

Performance tracking – Performance-tracking and reporting functions help determine if the overall learning program is effective. Organizations can analyze how users have performed in their courses and how much time they spend learning.

LMS Pricing Models

Learning management systems are used by businesses, schools, hospitals and more. The differences between customers in these markets are vast, so the pricing models for LMS solutions are equally flexible.

LMS solutions often use a software-as-a-service (SaaS) pricing model, which means customers pay a subscription fee for the features they actually use. Some LMS vendors also offer an annual or one-time license fee or have a free version of their software.

Here are the four standard LMS pricing methods:

Per learner, per month – The most common payment option is a per learner, per month subscription fee. This figure is either calculated based on the total number of users in the system or the number of active users enrolled in courses.

There may also be an initial service fee for creating an account. In addition, vendors might ask for payment to be made annually, even if prices are broken down monthly.

Fees are generally $5 or less per learner, per month. Small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) with general training requirements are the best fit.

Per learner, per use – LMS solutions can include more features, lessons, modules and tools than a company needs. A per learner, per use pricing model allows clients to opt out of certain parts of the software and pay only for what they use.

This could mean being charged based on the modules in use, the number of active accounts in use or only the content that’s being used by those accounts. It depends on the arrangement made between the vendor and client.

Prices range from $1 to $10 per learner, per use. This option best serves companies that don’t need to train employees regularly.

Per course – Some LMS vendors have a pay per course option for employees that need special certification for their industry or job function. Vendors might have content available in an internal library or partner with third-parties to deliver lessons through their LMS platform.

This pricing option has elements of the per learner, per use pricing model, but with premium prices for specialized content. The best fit for this option is compliance-focused industries with learners that must be certified, such as human resources, healthcare or safety.

Licensing fee – Companies can purchase a license to install LMS software on-premise. The licensing fee can be paid annually or up-front as a one-time fee. There are often additional implementation expenses for installation, data migration and training, and there may also be a charge per learner.

Licensing fees generally range from $500 to $20,000, and setup can cost over $25,000. This pricing model works best for mid-sized or large businesses with an existing data center and internal IT staff.

Additional Costs to Consider

Organizations in the market for an LMS solution should also consider other costs beyond the subscription or licensing fee. Here are several expenses that are easy to overlook:

Implementation – The cost of LMS implementation varies by vendor and whether the company chooses a cloud LMS solution or to host the software on-premise. Expenses may include consultants, hardware installation, software customization, data migration and integration with other software (e.g., enterprise resource planning systems).

Training – Many vendors may include web-based training services for free, but in-person training at the client’s site usually comes at an extra fee.

Support – Basic support (e.g., knowledge base, email support) is typically included in the price. However, vendors may offer plans that include advanced support, such as priority support or access to a dedicated customer service manager.

Maintenance – LMS software requires ongoing maintenance, such as updates, patches and upgrades. This is generally included with subscription pricing, but not with licensing fees.

Content creation – Many vendors offer services to create custom training courses and educational content for businesses and schools. Some vendors can even produce site-specific videos and with a company’s particular operating procedures. This service may be charged per hour or as a one-time fee based on course requirements.

Open-Source and Free LMS Software

Open-source LMS software has source code that’s publicly available. Companies can download, install and customize the software on their own, for free. Some vendors also offer free versions of their LMS software.

Open-source and free LMS solutions generally include basic functionality or may limit the number of users. Companies that choose these options will still have pay for implementation, customization, integrations and maintenance.

In particular, installing and customizing open-source software can be complicated for companies that haven’t used an LMS before, and there’s no support if something goes wrong. Companies that choose this route will need to have a knowledgeable in-house IT team or hire implementation consultants.

LMS Vendor Pricing

We’ve compared pricing for many of the top LMS solutions. Note that several of the largest vendors in the market don’t offer pricing details publicly, so you’ll need to contact them directly for a quote.

Abara LMS offers two pricing models: active user (anyone who logs into the system within a 30-day period in a given month) and registered user (anyone who has been registered in the system in a given year).

The tiers are 50 active users ($420 per month or $4,200 per year), 100 active users for $600 per month or $6,000 per year, 250 active users for $900 per month or $9,000 per year, 500 active users for $1,500 per month or $15,000 per year, 1,000 active users for $2,000 per month or $20,000 per year and over 1,000 active users that’s based on custom pricing.

Academy of Mine has three pricing tiers. The Essentials tier costs $599 per month for up to 250 monthly active users. It includes most features, such as 500 GB of storage, integrated eCommerce, advanced reporting and a flexible webpage builder. The Professional tier costs $899 per month for up to 1,000 monthly active users and includes all of the features of the Essentials tier, plus 1 TB of storage, advanced custom user profile fields, unlimited B2B/group portals, single sign-on and API and developer access.  The Enterprise tier supports over 1,000 monthly active users and is intended for more custom needs. It includes LMS data migration, a dedicated account manager and unlimited custom features on demand. Pricing for the Enterprise tier is available by quote only.

CoreAchieve is available in four pricing tiers. Each tier includes a free trial and unlimited courses. The Basic plan costs $299 per month (or $2.99 per user, per month) for up to 100 active users. The Standard plan costs $810 per month (or $2.70 per user, per month) for up to 300 active users. The Premium plan costs $1,220 per month (or $2.44 per user, per month) for up to 500 active users. The Enterprise plan supports unlimited users; please contact the company for a price quote.

Accord LMS is a scalable LMS with several pricing options: $2 per learner, per month up to 200 learners; $1.25 per learner, per month up to 500 learners; and $0.90 per learner, per month up to 1,000 learners. Contact Accord directly if your company has over 1,000 learners.

Note that prices are listed as monthly, but billed annually. All plans include core LMS features, mobile learning, gamification and role-based learner enrollment. For more details, check out our Accord LMS pricing article.

Blackboard is among the most popular LMS solutions for K-12 and higher ed organizations. Although the vendor doesn’t publicly release pricing info, we’ve estimated Blackboard pricing based on various sources.

A 2015 review by the University of Missouri found that mid-range plans were $25 to $30 per learner, per year and enterprise plans were $17 to $20 per learner, per year. And Michael Feldstein, partner at MindWires Consulting, estimated the average cost of a full license for a university or school district as $160,000.

Bridge’s LMS helps companies create a learning culture that engages and develops employees. It has pricing plans that allow companies to purchase its LMS, performance management and engagement products individually or all together. One of those plans is the Learning plan, which starts at $3 per user, per month and includes all of the features of the Bridge LMS, such as course authoring, live training and customizable learning paths.

Coassemble has a Starter plan that costs $49 per month ($490 per year) and includes many of its features (e.g., advanced branding, quizzes/assignments, video hosting, learner groups). It accommodates up to 25 users and up to five courses. Note that the price only applies to new customers.

Then, there’s the Pro plan that costs $399 per month ($2,900 per year) and includes unlimited courses and users. Finally, the Premium plan is priced at $799 per month ($4,900 per year) and adds on a customer success manager, custom domain and email, premium certificates and advanced integrations.

Edmodo is an LMS for K-12 schools that operates like a social platform (similar to Facebook) to make announcements and post assignments online.

We’ve previously written about Edmodo’s “freemium” account – meaning teachers can create their own accounts for free. Features include unlimited document storage, integration with Microsoft Office and Google Apps, mobile access, and security and privacy tools. Edmodo offers a Pro plan for school district that starts at $8 per user (annually) and includes advanced features like unlimited cloud storage, Zoom meetings, professional groups, administrative tools and analytics and prioritized support.

EdTek LMS offers two pricing options.

The Kick Start option has an annual cost of $2,000 to $2,500 and a per learner fee based on course length. The Annual License option is based on the total number of learners in a year. Subscribers can earn a discount by paying the annual license fee up-front.

eFront has four pricing tiers based on the number of learners.

The Business plan costs $1,000 per month for up to 1,000 learners. The Enterprise plan costs $1,500 per month for up to 2,500 learners. The Large enterprise $2,500 per month for up to 5,000 learners. The Tailored plan supports over 5,000 learners and requires a direct quote from the vendor.

eTrainCenter offers two pricing models.

Registration pricing is calculated by multiplying the number of students by the number of registered learning activities. The plan starts at $151 per month or $1,500 per year.

User seat pricing is based on the number of active users. It starts at $330 per month or $3,600 per year for 100 users.

GnosisConnect offers a monthly or yearly subscription based on the number of learners. A company with 100 learners can expect to pay $299 per month or $2,990 per year.

The subscription includes all features, unlimited file uploads, unlimited course storage, a dashboard with company branding and free email support.

Google Classroom is part of the Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals package that includes Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar and other apps. It targets teachers and students in both K-12 and higher ed markets.

The Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals package is free for qualifying institutions. There are three paid plans. First, the Google Workspace for Education Standard plan costs $3 per student, per year and adds on a security center, advanced device and app management features, Gmail and Classroom logs for export into BigQuery, and audit logs.

Then, there’s the Teaching and Learning Upgrade plan that costs $4 per license, per month and includes additional features like advanced Google Meet features, unlimited originality reports and the ability to check for peer matches across a private repository. Finally, the Google Workspace for Education Plus 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.

iSpring offers three pricing tiers: $3.66 per active learner, per month up to 100 active learners; $3 per learner, per month up to 300 active learners; and $2.82 per learner, per month up to 500 active learners.

Contact the company directly for custom plans with more than 500 active learners.

KMI Learning offers licensed pricing that’s based on a per-user, per-month strategy. Note that the pricing is for informational use, and organizations should contact the vendor directly for a custom quote. For example, a company with up to 500 learners can pay $1,000 per month (without support) or $1,250 per month (with support).

There’s a separate fee for implementation, and the average cost for “out-of-the-box” implementation (i.e., doesn’t require any customization, integration or migration) can range between $5,000 and $10,000.

Knowledge Anywhere has three pricing options.

The Express plan costs $850 per month and is available to 500 active learners. The plan also includes two system administrators and standard support.

The Professional plan is $1,700 per month and covers up to 1,000 active learners and five administrators.

The Enterprise plan supports unlimited active learners, administrators and storage. You’ll need to contact the vendor for a price quote.

Microsoft Teams is one of the products offered under Office 365 for Education, which has three pricing plans: Office 365 A1 (free for teachers, students and staff), Office 365 A3 ($2.50 per user, per month for students; $3.25 per user, per month for teachers and staff) and Office 365 A5 ($6 per user, per month for students; $8 per user, per month for teachers and staff).

Moodle targets schools, but is also used by corporate training programs. We’ve previously researched Moodle pricing and found several payment options.

MoodleCloud has a 45-day free trial that includes 1,000 users and 5 GB of storage. There are five pricing tiers (note that pricing represents USD): Starter ($120 per year for 50 users), Mini ($210 per year for 100 users), Small ($380 per year for 200 users), Medium ($840 per year for 500 users), and Large ($1,490 per year for 1,000 users).

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

MyQuest offers solutions for three distinct markets: Coaches, Business Trainers and Enterprise.

Base pricing for the Coaches and Business Trainers solutions start at $97 per month for one Quest (lesson) and up to 10 students. A web-based version costs $247 per month and includes 10 Quests and 10,000 students. The $447 per month option provides clients with a branded solution. The $1,247 per month plan offers an analytics dashboard, Quest store, flexible invoicing and a branded mobile app.

OttoLearn Agile Microlearning is a mobile-first, desktop-friendly application, that uses bite-sized content to improve learner engagement and retention. It has two user-based plans (Team and Enterprise) that start at $250 per month. However, the Enterprise plan has additional implementation and support services, so please contact Neovation directly for a quote. OttoLearn also offers an Enterprise CORE plan that includes a concierge-level implementation and support package.

OttoLearn also has usage-based plans that are based on total activity usage. They start at one cent per activity, per month (billed annually), and each activity consumes one usage credit. The Team plan costs $120 per month for up to 10,000 credits. The Enterprise plan supports up to 100,000 credits, but companies will need to contact the vendor directly for a quote.

SAP Litmos is a cloud-based LMS with five user-centered solutions: Employee, Sales, Customer, Compliance and Partner. It has three pricing options: the standalone LMS, the LMS+Courses bundle and the standalone online course library. Users can purchase add-ons like an automation bundle, multi-accounts, sandboxes and the Salesforce CRM connector.

SAP Litmos no longer publicly displays its pricing information, so please contact the vendor directly for a quote.

Skyprep LMS is available in three different pricing plans.

The Lite plan starts at $299 per month plus $100 for an additional 100 active users per month and includes unlimited courses, custom branding, SCORM packages, email support and Learner and Admin roles.

The Professional plan starts at $599 per month plus $100 for an additional 100 active users per month and in addition to the features of the Lite plan, has Manager roles, phone support, Customer Success Manager support and advanced security controls, to name a few.

Companies interested in the Enterprise plan (over 1,000 active learners) need to contact the vendor directly for a quote.

SmarterU is a full-featured LMS platform that helps organizations administer engaging training programs more efficiently.  There are two pricing plans. The Corporate plan costs $6,999 per year for up to 300 learners. It includes all SmarterU features except for learning plan automation. Onboarding and training services as well as an OttoLearn Agile Microlearning “Team” plan are included in the price.

The Enterprise plan costs $9,999 per year for up to 500 learners, $12,999 per year for up to 1,000 learners and $29,999 per year for up to 5,000 learners. It includes all SmarterU features, including learning plan automation. Onboarding and training services as well as an OttoLearn Agile Microlearning “Team” plan are included in the price.

TalentLMS is a cloud-based LMS that helps small and midsize businesses provide training programs. It has two separate plans: Standard and Active. The Standard plan is based on the total registered number of users, which cannot go over the limit. On the other hand, the Active plan includes active users (e.g., trainers, administrators) but supports an unlimited number of registered users (e.g., learners). Note that each paid tier is billed annually.

The Standard plan has a free tier and five paid tiers. For example, the Starter tier supports up to 40 users and unlimited courses for $59 per month. The Active plan also has five paid tiers and its Starter Active tier supports up to 40 active users and an unlimited number of registered users for $129 per month, plus an extra $4 for each additional active user.

Thinking Cap provides a free plan that includes up to 10 active learners, community support and one learning domain. Pricing starts at $2 per user, per month for organizations with less than 250 active learners. Thinking Cap offers Enterprise licenses that are targeted to companies with more than 250 active learners and have three tiers. They are: Starter ($12,000 per year for up to 500 active learners), Small ($18,000 per year for up to 1,000 active learners) and Medium ($27,000 per year for up to 5,000 active learners. Companies with over 5,000 active learners can contact the vendor directly for a more personalized quote.

Bottom Line

Many of the LMS vendors listed here follow the per user, per month pricing model, with tiers that provide additional features. Some also offer perpetual licenses for a one-time fee.

Be sure to consider which features each vendor offers, as well as their reputation among users.

If you’d like more info on LMS software or want to compare solutions, check out our reviews for over 70 LMS vendors.

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