What do you need: Open-Source LMS or Cloud-Based LMS?

(STL.News) Your company’s learning management system is an important deliberation.  It offers the means to learn and track it all across the organization.  It even closes the knowledge gap and closes the skills to meet consent needs.  Getting the right LMS can be challenging in today’s time, where the vast evolution has occurred.

Considering an upgrade to your existing system, or you are looking for your first LMS, you will need to contemplate what you want to choose? – An open-source LMS or a cloud-based LMS.  Let us consider the options and help you understand which one is a better fit for your goals, budget, and future needs.

Open-source LMS: A Brief

When the underlying code of the LMS is open to every developer is referred to as Open-source.  It is not exclusive as the code is available for free, and organizations can add other features in-house rather than paying for such add-ons.

Pros and cons of open-source LMS

There is an ample no. of advantages that you can enjoy using an open-source LMS.  They are flexible and can keep up with your organizational growth and evolution.  An open-source LMS is highly customizable due to the original code’s access.  These are normally available for very cost or even for no cost at all.

But on the other hand, it comes with few disadvantages that you need to be aware of.  It might be available for free or at a low cost, and you still need to invest a lot of time and money to develop the features according to your needs.  You need an in-house development team or outsource, which will take a hefty amount of investment.  From implementation cost to hosting fees and maintenance to creating backups, the open-source LMS has its own set of cons and pros.

Cloud-based LMS: A Brief

A learning management system that is accessible via internet connectivity is what is said to be cloud-based LMS.  These are mainly hosted without tying up with the servers, also known as hosted LMS.

Pros and cons of cloud-based LMS

The most profound benefit of cloud-based learning management systems is that you can access them anywhere, anytime, on any device with internet connectivity.  This puts developers, users, managers at ease while accessing the LMS from any location.  The cost associated with open-source LMS is eliminated in cloud-based platforms.  No in-house developers and outsourced resources are required for implementation and maintenance.

Despite these benefits, it has few drawbacks, one of which is you end up losing some degree of control and dependent on what the vendor is offering.  It is not that flexible.  In most cases, you will not be getting the features according to your requirements which restricts your approach.

What do you need?

Before settling for a learning management system for yourself, ask what do you need?  Make sure that you have considered your learning objects and goals.  What are the features you need in an LMS now?  What are your future needs?  How much budget do you have for your LMS, and what all resources are you equipped with?  Will it support and fulfill your goal of providing training effectiveness and assist your team members in achieving success?

Consider those answers which account for all your questions in favor of your team member’s career development, learning, and growth, plus building an overall stronger organization.


Be it open-source LMS or cloud-based LMS, they both have their benefits and drawbacks.  Although, most organizations that begin with an open-source LMS end up switching to cloud-based LMS.  Monetary saving could be one reason, but not that usual.  Mainly, it is to get access to features as per the requirements, and if that lacks and your organization does not have the development talent, resources, and time, it is better to work with a vendor who can support you on the go.