Lauren Hansen Avatar

Written by
Lauren Hansen, former Staff Writer
Read more by Lauren →

Kaiti Norton Avatar

Reviewed by
Kaiti Norton, Editor
Read more HR content →

Lauren Hansen Avatar

Written by
Lauren Hansen, former Staff Writer
Read more by Lauren →

Kaiti Norton Avatar

Reviewed by
Kaiti Norton, Editor
Read more HR content →

What is learning management system software?

Learning management system software, or LMS software, is an application built for planning, implementing, and assessing learning processes. It provides organizations and educational institutions with tools to craft and manage lessons, courses, documentation, certifications, and quizzes to make learning more engaging and effective. An LMS can be a standalone product or part of a broader suite of HR tools.

With an LMS solution, instructors can create and deliver content, monitor learner participation, and evaluate performance. LMS software is also designed to streamline processes for training and development departments, such as identifying and assessing individual and organizational learning goals, tracking progress towards meeting those goals, and collecting data.

Businesses of all sizes, government agencies, and educational institutions use LMS platforms to facilitate training and other education programs. The software improves upon traditional educational methods while saving organizations time and money. Moreover, the software can facilitate onboarding, compliance training, and skills gap analysis for enterprises.

We reviewed the top LMS software solutions and narrowed it down to the best of the best:

  • Paylocity is the best LMS for interactive learning.
  • Rippling is the best LMS for automated workflows.
  • Docebo is the best LMS for artificial intelligence support.
  • Absorb LMS is the best LMS for analytics.
  • 360Learning is the best LMS for collaborative course creation.

Jun. 22, 2023: We added our expert recommendations and added dynamic design elements to improve the visual flow of information.

We picked our recommendations with you in mind.

First, we evaluated the top LMS solutions available on the market today. We used vendor demos, technical documentation, and user reviews from customers like you to compile our research.

We then narrowed our selections to the platforms that best addressed the most common priorities among learning and development professionals. These factors include customization, gamification, automation, machine learning, and analytics.

As the market changes, we reevaluate our choices so you always receive the best insight for your purchasing decision.

TechnologyAdvice is able to offer our services for free because some vendors may pay us for web traffic or other sales opportunities. Our mission is to help technology buyers make better purchasing decisions, so we provide you with information for all vendors — even those that don’t pay us.

Featured Partners

Our picks for the best LMS software

Paylocity: Best for interactive learning


  • Integration with native social collaboration tool to facilitate knowledge sharing.
  • Library of 200+ prebuilt courses.
  • Customizability.
  • Variety of delivery methods.
  • Multilingual learning.
  • Bulk course assigning.


  • Analytics are not as robust.
  • Accessibility appears lacking (closed-captioning).

The talent management module of Paylocity’s human resources information system (HRIS) includes a corporate LMS. HR or learning and development (L&D) personnel can assign prebuilt courses to newly hired employees or those acquiring new skills for the job. Paylocity’s library of over 200 courses covers a broad range of topics, from health and wellness to inclusion to workplace safety. So, no time and energy is necessary to build out essential knowledge and training materials from scratch.

That said, Paylocity’s LMS offers plenty of room for customization to niche or company-specific learning needs. Subject matter experts in the organization can create their own training by importing external files. They can then share their knowledge in Community, Paylocity’s social engagement and collaboration tool.

Paylocity enables a variety of delivery methods, such as recordable webinars that can be consumed later. However, Paylocity doesn’t appear to offer accessibility features, such as closed-captioning.

Paylocity’s LMS allows HR administrators to set due dates and track user progress through any given course. At the end of a course, admins can measure the effectiveness of the training with a quiz or survey.

Paylocity mobile app.
Users can access training through a desktop device or on the go via the Paylocity mobile app. Credit: Paylocity
  • Out-of-box courses to get started quickly and easily
  • Integration with Community

Also read: 5 Ways to Increase Employee Engagement with Your LMS

Rippling: Best for automated workflows


  • Automated features that reduce or eliminate HR and L&D manual tasks.
  • Library of 1,000 out-of-box courses to get started quickly and easily.
  • Certificate of completion distribution and storage for compliance.
  • Integration with time and attendance to ensure current certification status.


  • Lack of robust user analytics.
  • No accessibility features, such as closed-captioning.
  • Lack of support for multiple languages.
  • Unknown variety of delivery methods.

Rippling boasts a variety of automated features. Once automation rules are set, Rippling can assign courses to employees, which eliminates repetitive, manual assigning. It can also send automated reminders to employees to complete or continue training according to a schedule. In fact, no setup of rules for certain training is necessary.

For example, Rippling already has preconfigured enrollment rules for sexual harassment compliance training across all 50 U.S. states, so HR doesn’t have to remember to enroll, let alone manually enroll, employees in mandatory training.

Users can upload their own courses or choose from Rippling’s impressive library of more than 1,000 prebuilt courses on topics, such as sexual harassment and HIPAA. Given the array of courses to choose from, users don’t need to upload their own materials and worry about them rendering correctly in the interface. Rippling also features a library of workflow templates for things like reminders, events, notifications, and more.

Once users complete training, Rippling automatically sends a certificate of completion and keeps a copy of its own on record for compliance purposes. Some industries or specific roles require employees to stay current on their certifications. For that purpose, Rippling has a built-in measure to ensure employee compliance by integrating the certification they earn in the LMS with the time tracking feature. That way, only employees who hold current certifications are able to clock in. This ensures compliance as well as workplace safety.

Rippling prompt.
Rippling automatically prompts employees to do their required training. Credit: Rippling
  • Automation
  • Ready-to-go courses
  • Compliance management
  • Document management of completed certifications
  • Integration with time tracking tool

Docebo: Best for artificial intelligence support


  • AI for automatic translation of materials, which makes them more accessible.
  • Learning infused into everyday work.
  • Robust social learning tools.
  • Built-out analytical capabilities.
  • Customization at no extra cost.


  • Learning curve and tech savviness to take full advantage of features.
  • Necessary add-ons for greater LMS functionality.

Docebo is an extensible, AI-powered LMS. Companies may choose add-ons that enhance Docebo’s LMS product to:

  • Create and manage learning content.
  • Infuse learning and development into employees’ daily workflows.
  • Measure impact.
  • Analyze data related to learning goals, use, and more.

Docebo stands out for its ability to leverage AI for accessibility and personalized learning experiences. Using AI, Docebo can automatically translate learning material into several languages. This makes training more accessible to workforces that operate around the globe.

It also includes virtual coaching and content suggestions, enabling employees to be more self-sufficient in their personalized learning paths. These features free up administrators to focus on program improvement instead of implementation.

Docebo is unique in the way it approaches learning as integral to rather than separate from daily work. Docebo’s Flow product removes barriers to learning by infusing personalized learning experiences into applications employees use on a daily basis.

Docebo Flow surfaces just-in-time learning insights to promote context-based learning. These insights pop up according to customizable rules in the user’s profile, which dictate what kinds of courses get suggested.

This product operates on web-based technologies like JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS, so as long as the user has access to the code, Flow allows the user to open an instance of the Docebo platform in any external web platform. This may require some technical savviness on the user’s part.

Employees, therefore, don’t have to manually pivot from their everyday work to training. The two are intertwined, strengthening employees’ ability to retain the learning material because it’s embedded within the work they do every day. Docebo integrates with more than 400 tools to make this possible.

Docebo also enables social learning to more widely and efficiently share knowledge and come together to answer questions. Learners can indicate their goals and interests, and Docebo’s LMS serves up relevant content accordingly. The most engaged learners show up on a leaderboard to encourage friendly competition.

Docebo suggestion prompt.
Docebo automatically suggests courses to users based on their skills, interests, and goals. Credit: Docebo
  • AI
  • Analytics and reporting
  • Language translation
  • Social learning

Absorb LMS: Best for analytics


  • More user-friendly AI features compared to its competitors.
  • Integration with BI tools for deeper data analysis.
  • Multilingual support in over 30 languages.
  • Multimedia content delivery, including webinar, documents, and video.


  • AI not as broad in scope as its competitors.
  • Customization incurs added cost.
  • Lack of learner feedback and assessment tools.

Absorb LMS is a stand-alone e-learning platform that offers an array of add-on tools to enhance the core LMS. Its reporting and analytics tools help businesses optimize employee training, learning, and development for organizational goals.

Absorb provides two products that address different levels of data analytics: Absorb Analyze and Absorb Analyze Direct.

Absorb Analyze

Absorb Analyze enables insights between learning programs and business results. It affords insight into more granular LMS data points, such as:

  • Enrollment by department and course.
  • Login frequency and times.
  • Use and engagement on a departmental, team, or individual user level.
  • Competencies, badges, and certificates earned.

Absorb Analyze also features a variety of prebuilt LMS reports about learner activity and progress, which would interest a manager or supervisor. Alternatively, reports on course activity and evaluations pertain to HR, L&D, and the C-suite about how the program is performing overall.

Administrators can set up analytics dashboards customized to company needs. They can even create multiple dashboard templates that serve as unique views based on department or group. The dashboard widgets themselves are easy to drag and drop or mix and match.

Absorb Analyze Direct

Absorb offers more advanced analytics with its Absorb Analyze Direct tool. Powered by Snowflake, Absorb Analyze Direct connects LMS data to the company’s data visualization and business intelligence (BI) tool. This integration of Absorb LMS with a BI tool of choice allows a business to:

  • Measure training programs’ impact.
  • Assess program effectiveness.
  • Identify trends in use, outcomes, and other key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Acquire more flexibility in data analysis.
  • Unify siloed data to connect learning outcomes and data across departments.

Analyze is more simplified than Analyze Direct, as the latter allows deeper data dives that require more tech savviness. In addition, Analyze delivers more granular data points and how those data points link to the company’s overarching goals. Analyze Direct reveals more complex data insights at a greater breadth. It integrates data laterally across departments and vertically to convey how L&D fits into top-level business goals.

Absorb enables users to measure the impact of their content for continuous improvement.
Absorb enables users to measure the impact of their content for continuous improvement. Credit: Absorb LMS
  • Customizable dashboards
  • Variety of reports
  • Intelligent Assist AI tool

360Learning: Best for collaborative course creation


  • Control over content creation and curation for ultimate customizability.
  • Create courses directly within the interface.
  • Iterative content creation for up-to-date material.
  • Social elements.
  • Diverse assortment of assessment tools.
  • High-touch learning is more interactive and yields more engagement.


  • More control but potentially more work to put courses together.
  • No off-the-shelf courses can mean content is slower to go live.
  • High-touch learning requires dedicated in-house instructors or coaches for companies that adopt 360Learning.
  • No analytics or reporting.

360Learning is a stand-alone corporate LMS like Docebo and Absorb, but it’s unique in the way users can collaboratively create content directly within the platform. Being able to do so offers more flexibility in content creation and curation. Users don’t necessarily need to resort to available templates or import files from external tools which might not render correctly in the LMS portal and mobile app.

Administrators can collaborate on the back end to create and iterate on training material. This makes it easier to keep content current and expedite the go-live process. They can provide feedback privately on the back end that users never see on the front end.

360Learning facilitates communication between the administrator and learners. For instance, curators can provide correct answers to assessment questions, so users can learn from their mistakes. The software also contains several feedback tools like the feedback inbox and a reaction score that prompts users to provide feedback on an activity.

360Learning puts a lot of control and responsibility in the administrator’s hands to craft courses for niche or specialized corporate learning needs. This makes 360Learning LMS suitable for companies that want hands-on, highly interactive training, learning, and development that involves instructors and coaches to lead users through their courses.

In terms of interactive learning, 360Learning is comparable to Paylocity but with more features that facilitate even more collaborative learning. Not only does it make AI-powered recommendations for personalized learning experiences, but it also features a customized news feed for each user. This helps keep those who are in the same course informed and engaged and serves as an efficient way for a course instructor or coach to communicate with participants.

Learners can also earn achievements that are displayed on the leaderboard. A final impressive feature not seen on any of the other solutions in this list is a playlist where users can curate a list of courses to return to later. This supplements AI-generated course suggestions and empowers the learner to take more control over their learning and development.

360Learning drag-and-drop widgets.
360Learning makes it easy to build your own courses from scratch with user-friendly, drag-and-drop widgets. Credit: 360Learning
  • Collaborative, in-platform content creation
  • AI-powered learning suggestions
  • User-generated content playlists
  • Social elements between learners and with administrators
  • Assessments
  • Learner feedback

Find your new learning management system software

What are the benefits of LMS software?

Regardless of the business type, learning management systems can provide users and organizations with numerous benefits.

Saves time and money

Without a robust LMS, learners have to take time out of their day to physically attend traditional face-to-face training. With LMS platforms, learners simply log into the system and complete courses at the time most convenient for them.

Additionally, costs can be cut by eliminating the need for live instructors, training days, printed training materials, travel expenses, and facility rentals.

Improves remote accessibility

Most learning management systems support virtual training and enable organizations to build learning programs for every employee, regardless of location and time zone. Once the admin publishes eLearning course materials onto the system, learners can access the information they need.

Many software providers make learning modules accessible from smartphones and tablets, too, so users can reference materials in the field or on the go. Further, learners can return to a lesson to refresh their memory anytime they need to because the materials are hosted online.

Centralizes and standardizes training

LMS platforms centrally organize training and keep professional development content in one location. As a result, companies can reduce the risk of losing important information when subject matter experts leave the business. An LMS secures training materials, such as PowerPoint or PDF documents, video files, quizzes, assessments, and certifications.

Monitors learner progress and performance

Companies and educational organizations can generate training reports on an overall or learner-level basis to pinpoint areas where a course may be lacking, as well as where it excels. LMS solutions allow instructors to check learner progress and ensure they meet performance milestones. Business leaders can track goal progress, knowledge gains, and ROI.

Helps businesses maintain compliance

Numerous industries — including oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, communications, and construction — are required to train employees and report against specific compliance metrics to maintain funding. An LMS helps the organization meet these legal and regulatory requirements.

In addition, learning management systems let businesses add new compliance standards to their training courses. This way, learners are always updated on the latest best practices, avoiding costly penalties for the organization.

What are the types of learning management system software?

Learning management system software can be classified according to implementation or purpose.

As the name implies, cloud-based LMS software solutions are hosted on the cloud and usually follow a SaaS model. Software providers maintain the LMS, monitor the servers, and handle any updates. Users can also access the system from anywhere with an internet connection.

Self-hosted LMS platforms often require an application to be installed by the user. It gives the organization better control, customization, and security, but the company’s IT team must maintain the system and is responsible for backing up data. The organization also typically needs to contact the software vendor for license renewals and upgrades.

Similar to a self-hosted LMS, an open-source LMS requires an in-house IT team to install, customize, maintain, and update the system. Open-source LMS often comes with no licensing costs, but the organization has to pay for design and development resources to configure the LMS to the company’s needs. Open-source LMS is ideal for those businesses looking to create a custom LMS, but don’t want to start from scratch.

Sometimes also called commercial or enterprise LMS, corporate LMS are systems made for business use cases. This software can have white-labeling functionalities, powerful analytic features, gamification, collaboration tools, social learning, and third-party integrations.

A corporate LMS brings an extensive set of premium features to meet the demands of enterprises to train and engage employees at scale. This type of LMS can also support many users simultaneously accessing the same learning materials.

An academic LMS simplifies implementing a blended learning strategy, employing various teaching methods, and increasing student engagement for educators. It enables schools to maintain the integrity of their programs by letting educators effectively develop courses, deliver instruction, facilitate communication with students, and assess student success.

Educational institutions use LMS software to plan, assess, and monitor student learning. Compared to a corporate LMS, an academic LMS may be more affordable, but lack robust features and integrations.

The business impact of LMS software

Manually tracking the learning processes of every employee in an organization can be overwhelming and difficult. Above a certain headcount, it becomes increasingly impractical for learning and development (L&D) professionals to monitor each worker’s current industry knowledge, find out what learning modules they need to master their skills, keep an eye on their learning engagement levels, and so on.

With LMS software, instructors can keep all training materials organized and ensure all employees receive up-to-date training for their specific jobs, no matter where they are. In fact, an LMS can be the best option for global companies that are unable to deliver instructor-led training to employees in remote locations.

The software guarantees learning consistency and continuous employee development across multiple worksites and regions — overcoming knowledge and skill gaps and achieving better results.

On top of that, using LMS platforms reduces training costs and cut down on total time spent in training. LMS solutions also give flexibility, empowering instructors to conduct training via video, interactive content, games, text, and audio. The availability of diverse training resources can improve employee experience and prepare workers to advance their careers, resulting in increased performance and higher employee retention.