Learning Management Systems

Comparison of Open-Source LMS Vs Proprietary LMS – A Bird View

Comparison of Open-Source LMS Vs Proprietary LMS A Bird View

Choice of buying an LMS for your organization is something that cannot be decided on a single day. Important points considered in LMS investment decision for achieving proficient business goals are ROI (return on investment), adaptive to the needs of the organization, usability, and effectiveness of the system, Total Cost of Ownerships. If the software is Open-Source, that may or may not be free of cost and vice-versa for proprietary LMS. However, analysing global market for Open–source LMS software (Moodle), it is observed that they are freely available. On contrary, proprietary software (Blackboard, Litmos etc.) are paid. We are not getting into the technicalities at a functional level. However, here is a comparative analysis among Open-Source vs Proprietary LMS is done. 


Open Source LMS

Proprietary LMS


Almost all products in the marketplace are freemium

Requires licensing see per user enrolment, renewal of license on annual basis.


Plugins are freely available in the market for customization and branding of LMS.

Additional payment would be asked by vendors to initiate the development as per your requirements


Specialised server maintenance personnel assigned for routine check-up.

Hosted on own server or vendor server.

Technical Support

Admin support is available to eradicate any discrepancy.

Tech-support is optional. Availing a tech-support will level-up the cost too.


LMS hosted for 50 users can be scale-up to 50000 or more without losing the quality.

More user enrolment increases cost of new user registration and maintenance.


Data security and disaster recovery are possible in Open-Source LMS coz these systems are tested and developed by millions of users around the globe.

Usually, vendors guarantee security and stability of LMS. Possibly, occurrence of in-house data leakage will cost organization.


Integrations available for LMS in Open-Source can be opted out.

Since vendors do not disclose codes, so there comes a dependency. Integrations are available but may incur extra cost.

So, the choice of choosing the best LMS for you is not a decision driven by the absolute comparison, but based on the relative comparison weighing in all technical and non-technical factors, including the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). A long-term strategy and alignment of technology evaluation with that long-term strategy comes into play here.

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