A good learning management system comparison is not easy to do especially with so many LMSes and EMSes (Education Management System) choices available today. Just off the top of my head there is Haiku LMS, Blackboard LMS, Canvas LMS, Cornerstone LMS, and so on.
And with so many options there are even more organization relying on them to deliver their training as well as a complete platform for their online courses, most notably the Army LMS and McDonald LMS, we decided to compare the leading software systems from each license type category.
We chose Moodle from the open source license group, and Blackboard from the commercial license group. Both are best of bread portals for today’s education institutions.
The main categories that should be important to you when choosing an LMS are: Ease of use (for administration, faculty and student), vendor support (response time, training), system reliability (down times), and actual costs.
Ease of Use
From our research we came to the conclusion that for administrative purposes both blackboard and moodle (also known as moodle rooms) are equal in installation and setup. the one advantage that blackboard has it is well document manuals, troubleshooting guides, and general support. of course you pay for such organization but that is well worth it when it makes the administration a breeze.
faculty also has an easier time with blackboard, including non novice users and the none too tech savvy users. mentions of less clicking, and easier setup of classes were the main points that won with faculty. However, they did mention that moodle was much more flexible in terms of the look and feel of the class, how it was organized, and that the general flow and style was in control of the teacher.
On the other hand, students preferred moodle’s interface, even though some had difficulty with the navigation and organization of the document view. Students are known to be more tech savvy in general so they had a much easier time learning both systems. but this too came with mixed results as some students thought the interface was too cluttered and confusing.
This is a no brainier. Moodle is free and blackboard isn’t. But the actual cost as an organization like yourself should consider is the time to manage, train, and generally support internally. And in that sense blackboard is well worth its hefty price tag.
For a truly proper learning management system comparison we would suggest using both side by side and actually installing and setting up both programs, creating classes, and using the classes to really get a good feel for both systems before making such a major decision.