Types of #LearningManagementSystems | #LMS 101 | Lesson 3 | Northpass

There are 4 types of LMSs. Which type you use will depend on your needs and available resources of your organization, but here’s an overview to help you get started making the smartest decision.

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00:00:00 Types of Learning Management Systems
00:00:20 SaaS LMS or Cloud-based LMS
00:01:38 Installed LMS also called On-premise
00:02:47 Open-source LMS
00:03:20 Custom-built LMS

The first and most popular option is a SaaS LMS or Cloud-based LMS.

If you want to get your LMS up and running without using many design or development resources, a SaaS LMS is gonna be your best bet. Usually, this type of LMS is hosted by your provider and gives you a simple, online, plug-and-play platform to create your academy. Full disclosure: This is where Northpass fits in.

The pros of this type of LMS are that it’s easy and affordable to create and get off the ground. All you need to do is gather your content and upload it.

The Cons? Not every SaaS-based LMS is super customizable or allows you to personalize the experience for your learners. As a result, you could end up with an off brand experience that diminishes engagement and knowledge retention.

To sum it up: Make sure you know which features you’ll need—or will need—in the near future, ensuring you won’t have to switch up platforms as you scale your program.

The next time is an Installed LMS also called On-premise

Do you want to host your academy on your servers? Installed LMSs aren’t as common as their SaaS counterparts, but they give you more control over your program and its data.

You can use a third party or build your own 100%-custom LMS. Using an installed LMS is a good choice if you prioritize security above all else and have the in-house resources to manage the technology and keep the operation running smoothly as your program scales.

The Pros: You’re in charge of your server and its security. You’re in total control.

The Cons: As your academy grows, it can take up a lot of server space and become much more costly and time-consuming to maintain.

Next up is an open-source LMS

Open-source LMSs are free and adaptable to your specifications. However, you’ll need some amount of design and development resources to pull this off, since you'll have to take the code and make it work for your company.

This is a good in-between if you’re looking for something custom, but don’t want to start from scratch.

Pros: It’s free and takes a lot of the guesswork out of creating a custom academy.

Cons: Even though the code is there for you to use and alter, it isn’t easy to implement or make updates. It still requires a lot of development resources.

Lastly, the Custom-built LMS

Do you have a big budget and a very specific idea of what you want your academy to do? A custom build is a tailor-made system built and maintained by an in-house or outsourced development team. You'll have control over every aspect of the final outcome and process.

Pros: You'll get the exact specification you want; it’s no hold barred here.
Cons: It requires strong development and design resources. It takes a lot of effort, time, and cost, to bring to fruition and maintain.
As you can see, you have options. The type of LMS that fits your needs depends on several factors, including the amount of design and development resources available, budget and the size of the academy you plan to build.
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