Educational institutions are compelled to analyse various LMS solutions to figure out how to adapt their needs around the features provided by the LMS provider. Being a time-consuming process, institutions usually prefer popular LMS vendors in the market. However, there are only certain players who are providing solutions that answer the requirements of an educational institution. Hence to make matters simple we have analysed various LMSs in the market and through this article, we have identified the Best LMS Platforms in Higher Education for 2021.

But before we dive into the analysis, for the user to fully comprehend these new-age LMS solutions one should understand what are the must-have features of a good LMS.

Top 5 Must-have Features of a “Best LMS”

When it all started, LMS was initially designed as a tool to mitigate the growing need for skill training in a corporate setup. Slowly LMS found its place in the current Higher education industry. These days LMS are predominantly being targeted for eLearning and digital education requirements. Hence the term “Good LMS” becomes relative as it is based on the LMS’s ability to meet the current and future needs of an educational institution.

Keeping this in mind, we have listed out the following characteristics which will help you in figuring out how to use the LMS for your college/university.

Ease of Access

This feature determines how easy the LMS is to use. There is no point in having an LMS if the user is unable to figure out how to use the LMS. Factors like UI/UX designs, navigation, customisation etc come into play here. Few points to keep in mind while you are considering an LMS for your college/university

  • Are your students finding it easy to use your LMS in the device he/she prefers?

  • Is the user able to easily access the features like course creation, resource sharing etc

  • Can the user navigate to the feature he/she is looking for?

  • In case of any technical support, does the user have access to the respective resources?

Data Management and reporting

Colleges/Universities have strict time schedules. Learners in an educational institution should finish their course within the stipulated time frame. Hence objectives like course completion, online exams etc are time-bound. In such a scenario, the college/university needs to have the necessary data management and reporting tools which can track the progress of the students. Added to the routine assessments through which you can track your student’s performance, you should also track your student’s participation. You need to figure out whether your LMS offers you the right tools to gather the necessary data and reports to track your student’s performance?

Scope for Future Expansion

Initially, you will choose the right LMS according to the list of requirements you have. However in the future, your requirements might change, it will evolve according to the dynamic needs of your students and faculties. In that case, your LMS should give you the necessary means to either update the existing LMS system or revamp it completely. Before choosing your LMS you need to find out whether the LMS you are about to choose offers this main functionality.

Personalised Guidance

it is easy to come up with lesson plans for corporates, as the curriculum revolves around upskilling and reskilling requirements. However, for a college/university it’s different. You need a curriculum that is on par with the learner’s needs. When no students are the same so why should their education?

Using the AI-based personalised guidance feature in an LMS colleges/universities can devise a curriculum or Learning Paths that focuses on the particular area of education that a student needs. For example, an Electronics Engineering student having a passion for digital circuits will receive a personalised curriculum based on the courses he/she needs. This unique feature gives an added advantage to the educational institution in creating engaging adaptable learning plans.

Collaboration and Social Learning

These days students learn only 40% of their course plan from the resources shared with them and through the lessons given to them. The rest 60% of the learning is done from other novel outside sources. One such source is peer learning. Hene your LMS package should have Networking and Social Learning Features to facilitate peer-to-peer interactions. Social Learning features like learning events, group discussion boards/forums, social learning platforms etc will facilitate the implementation of peer-based learning. Is your LMS offering this feature?

Now that you know what to look for when you are choosing an LMS platform for your college/university, here is the list of the top 5 LMS platforms for the year 2021

Best LMS Platforms for the year 2021

Usually, LMS are rated based on their popularity level and online presence in the field. However, we decided to follow a different approach. We have ranked the following LMS platforms based on their features which aligns with the current needs of a college/university.

Blackboard Learn

Blackboard Inc’s Blackboard Learn is one of the most famous LMS in the market. They have positioned their solutions in such a way that it connects with a wide range of audiences in our industry. Through Blackboard Learn the entire process of learning is made easy through seamless hosting capabilities, online exam proctoring, assignment monitoring etc. Their notable features are many and have made them one of the top LMS software in the market consequently for three years

Why did we choose Blackboard as a Best LMS for 2021

Through Blackboard learn students have all-around applications that make their learning path much easier and simpler. Some of their unique features are

  • Accessibility

  • Top-Notch Learning Ecosystem which offers easy integration with other third-party apps like Zoom and Panopto

  • Grading capabilities for Online exams and assignments

  • Amazing data tracking and reporting features

  • Easy navigation

Our Two-cents

Though Blackboard offers top-notch features, they don’t offer a trial period for colleges. Additionally, specialised training is required for faculties to understand and use the Blackboard Learn LMS. Also, their services are offered for a price of $95,000/year which can be a bit steep for Middle range colleges and Universities.

Classtrack

EduWeb’s Class Track LMS is a powerful and intuitive Learning Management Platform that is created specifically for the needs of teachers, students and administrators. This particular LMS takes pride in the level of integration they are offering which makes it a simple, flexible and efficient LMS for administrative and educational purposes.

Why did we choose Classtrack as the Best LMS for 2021

Class Track LMS stands out for the following features

  • Self Paced Learning System which can be monitored

  • Mobile Apps for all its users- Students, Faculties and Administrative Professionals

  • Students Teachers Interaction platforms

Our Two-cents

Class Track offers amazing features with impressive customisation capabilities. Additionally, they also offer a free package to help users make informed decisions after the trial period. However, their pricing range of $10.00 per feature per year will be a huge concern for big educational institutions that accommodate a student size of around 2000 students.

Canvas LMS

Instructure’s SaaS-based LMS, Canvas, is making its presence known in the industry by offering LMS solutions that are scalable, customisable and adaptable for the teachers and students. One of its outstanding features is its Popular Students Engagement modules. Through its Gamification feature, this one-of-its-kind LMS offers an immersive learning experience for its users.

Why did we choose Canvas as the Best LMS for 2021

During a global pandemic and its resulting lockdown, Canvas’s Gamification module motivates its students through a modern action-based learning approach. Additionally, it also offers other interesting features like

  • Synchronous Learning

  • Blended Learning

  • Built-in Course Authoring

  • Classroom Management

Our Two-cents

While Canvas LMS offers a slew of unique features, certain functionalities like upgrading, initial set-up, alternative grading structures, forum-based learning etc are challenging and a bit clunky when implemented.

Xamplay

Famously referred to as an “LMS with brains”, this futuristic LMS brings Digital Intelligence to the forefront through its data backed LMS solutions. Added to the normal LMS features Xamplay uses data analytics and machine learning as essential parts of its solutions.

Why did we choose Xamplay as a Best LMS for 2021

During this pandemic, academicians don’t have the luxury of having face-to-face interactions with their students. Hence their usual strategies in engaging their students have taken a huge hit. With data-backed features like

  • Personalised Learning Strategies for Students

  • Personalised Teaching Strategies for Faculties

  • Smart Analytics

  • Cohort Level Analytics

Xamplay LMS can help educational institutions mitigate the challenges created by the global pandemic.

uLektz Campus

Though its advent has been pretty recent, uLektz LMS solution- uLektz Campus is establishing its place in the Learning Management Community by bringing in Artificial Intelligence to the core of its solutions. As a result, a 360-degree solution is offered to its users. Rather than being a simple LMS this SaaS-based LMS is creating an AI-powered ecosystem of higher education.

Why did we choose uLektz Campus as the Best LMS for 2021

While other Learning Management Systems usually focus on the Learning Management part this startup decided to take a new 360-degree approach in offering LMS solutions. Added to the Learning Management System uLektz LMS also offers

  • Online Admission Support

  • Digital Library Support

  • AI-based Job and Internship support

  • AI-based personal guidance

  • Remote Proctoring for Online Exams

To add a cherry on the top these services are offered at an economic price range of $1 per month per user.