Exploring Learning Management Systems in 2023: A Comprehensive Comparison

Exploring Learning Management Systems in 2023: A Comprehensive Comparison

The rapid adoption of Learning Management Systems (LMS) in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) has been driven by the growing demand for remote learning solutions, the need to enhance learner engagement, and the increasing importance of data-driven decision-making in education. These systems provide comprehensive platforms for managing, delivering, and tracking educational courses and training programmes, offering tools that cater to the unique needs of TVET institutions. This article will explore the top LMS options available to TVET trainers, evaluating their features, pricing, and suitability for various educational contexts. By exploring these systems, educators can better understand which platform aligns with their specific requirements and goals, ultimately enhancing the educational experience for both instructors and learners. To gain further insights into the landscape of LMS offerings, we recommend reviewing the JISC guide on Learning Management Systems: JISC Guide.


Moodle is an open-source LMS that has gained popularity in the TVET community due to its flexibility, customisability, and cost-effectiveness. As an open-source platform, Moodle allows educational institutions to modify and extend the software according to their needs.

Key Features:

  • Customisable course formats and structures
  • Wide range of plugins and integrations
  • Support for various assessment methods
  • Comprehensive reporting and analytics
  • Active community for support and development

Pricing: Moodle is free to download and use, but it requires in-house hosting and maintenance or the use of a third-party hosting provider. Costs can vary depending on the size of the institution and the level of support required.

Suitability: Moodle is suitable for schools, universities, and professional training providers looking for a flexible and customisable LMS solution that can be tailored to their specific requirements.


Teachable is a user-friendly, cloud-based LMS platform for creating and selling online courses. It is popular among individual TVET educators, small businesses, and professional trainers who want to monetise their content.

Key Features:

  • Easy-to-use course builder with drag-and-drop functionality
  • Integrated payment processing
  • Customisable sales pages and marketing tools
  • Student management and communication tools
  • Analytics and reporting features

Pricing: Teachable offers tiered pricing plans, starting with a basic plan at $39 per month (billed annually) and more advanced plans with additional features at higher prices.

Suitability: Teachable is best suited for individual educators, small businesses, and professional trainers who want to create and sell online courses with the minimal technical expertise required.


Canvas is a cloud-based LMS offering a user-friendly interface and a wide range of features to enhance collaboration, communication, and learning. Canvas is popular in TVET due to its integration with numerous educational tools and ease of use for educators and learners.

Key Features:

  • Intuitive user interface
  • Collaborative tools, including integrated video conferencing
  • Compatibility with numerous third-party applications
  • Mobile apps for iOS and Android
  • Customisable course content and structure

Pricing: Canvas offers a tiered pricing model based on the number of users and the institution’s specific needs. Contact the Canvas sales team for a custom quote.

Suitability: Canvas is ideal for schools, colleges, and universities that require a comprehensive, user-friendly LMS with strong integration capabilities and a focus on collaboration.

Blackboard Learn

Blackboard Learn is a well-established LMS that TVET organisations have widely adopted. It offers a robust platform for course management, assessment, and analytics, focusing on accessibility and mobile learning.

Key Features:

  • Support for multiple content types and course structures
  • Integrated assessment tools and plagiarism detection
  • Comprehensive analytics and reporting
  • Mobile-friendly design
  • Accessibility features to accommodate diverse learners

Pricing: Blackboard Learn pricing is customised based on the institution’s size and needs. Contact the Blackboard sales team for a tailored quote.

Suitability: Blackboard Learn is well-suited for higher education institutions and schools that require a robust LMS with strong analytics, assessment, and accessibility features.

D2L Brightspace

D2L Brightspace is a cloud-based LMS that focuses on providing personalised learning experiences through adaptive learning technologies. It offers a range of tools to support course creation, assessment, and analytics.

Key Features:

  • Personalised learning paths with adaptive learning technologies
  • Support for competency-based education
  • Advanced analytics and reporting
  • Integration with third-party applications
  • Mobile-friendly design

Pricing: D2L Brightspace pricing is based on the number of users and the institution’s specific requirements. Contact the D2L sales team for a custom quote.

Suitability: D2L Brightspace is suitable for educational institutions and training providers that seek a personalised learning experience through adaptive learning technologies and competency-based education.

Totara Learn

Totara Learn is an open-source LMS designed for TVET learning and professional development. Built on the Moodle platform, it provides additional features tailored to corporate learning environments, such as performance management and compliance tracking.

Key Features:

  • Flexible course creation and management
  • Support for various assessment methods
  • Integration with third-party applications
  • Performance management and compliance tracking
  • Customisable reporting and analytics

Pricing: Totara Learn operates under a subscription model, with fees based on the number of active users. Pricing details can be obtained by contacting a Totara partner.

Suitability: Totara Learn is ideal for organisations seeking an LMS for workplace learning, professional development, and compliance training, focusing on performance management.


Choosing the right Learning Management System (LMS) for your educational institution or training provider is a critical decision that significantly impacts the quality of education and the overall learning experience. As we have explored, each LMS offers distinct features, pricing models, and suitability for different educational contexts within TVET.

Moodle stands out for its flexibility, customisability, and cost-effectiveness, making it ideal for institutions seeking a highly adaptable platform. With its user-friendly interface and integrated marketing tools, Teachable is well-suited for individual educators and small businesses looking to monetise their content. Canvas offers a comprehensive, user-friendly interface with robust integration capabilities, making it a favourite among schools, colleges, and universities. Blackboard Learn, known for its strong analytics and accessibility features, is perfect for higher education institutions requiring detailed insights and mobile-friendly designs. D2L Brightspace excels in personalised learning experiences and competency-based education, catering to institutions focusing on adaptive learning technologies. Lastly, Totara Learn, built on the Moodle platform, provides additional features tailored to corporate learning environments, such as performance management and compliance tracking, making it ideal for professional development and workplace training.

When selecting an LMS, it is essential to consider factors such as customisation, integration capabilities, analytics, reporting, and user experience. Understanding your institution’s unique needs and objectives will help you choose an LMS that aligns with your goals and enhances the educational experience for both instructors and learners.

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, thorough research and a clear understanding of your institution’s requirements will guide you in making an informed decision. For further guidance and support in selecting the right LMS, we recommend consulting the JISC guide on Learning Management Systems: JISC Guide. Doing so will ensure that your chosen LMS will effectively support your educational initiatives and drive success in your learning and training programmes.


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