Low-cost LMSs with e-commerce

August 25, 2010

Can you help this small training group find a solution?

I had someone contact for advice on finding (really) low-cost LMSs with e-commerce capability. Initially I mentioned Moodle for this small training group of three people but they had already determined it wasn’t going to fit their needs.

Here are their needs:

  • Hosted solution
  • Merchant interface
  • Easy administration
  • Ability to launch e-learning courses only (video)
  • Basic reports on sales data
  • Ability to create quizzes
  • Crazy cheap

Here’s what they DO NOT need:

  • Integration with another system
  • Support for standards (SCORM)
  • Classroom functionality

Here are some systems I thought they might want to take a look at. If you think of others, please put the info in comments so I can pass it along to them. And, if you’ve got feedback on any of those I’ve listed (or if I missed the mark) I’m sure they’d appreciate it.

(P.S. This isn’t a client, just someone looking for advice.)

  • http://twitter.com/carrie_at_umass carrie jo


    This is an interesting question. Considering they do not need SCORM or classroom integration, I wonder – do they really need an LMS? Learning management systems have failed in many ways – the most obvious are their inflexibility and their dependence on institutional management. With the capabilities of the read/write web and cheapness of web hosting, would a simple website as host with shopping cart coupled with a finely woven framework of social media based resources do the trick in this case?

    Qs to consider: How many courses? How many students per course? Duration of course? Will fees relate to fee/per course or fee/series of courses?

  • http://janetclarey.com/ jclarey

    Great ideas Carrie Jo. I think some of the products listed aren’t Grandma’s LMS and actually do provide cheap hosting. What social media-based resources are you thinking would fit their needs? A big item here is tracking.

    Regarding your questions…I’m not quite sure. I’ll see what I can find out. Thanks for your input. Appreciate it.

  • http://www.jarche.com/ Harold Jarche

    eCommerce integration, especially with open source apps, is always the kicker, from my experience. They might want to look into Drupal with the Ubercart extension. Not as simple as some learning-only platforms but more flexible & extensible and a much broader community.

  • http://twitter.com/Riksman Norbert Riksman

    Hello Janet,

    The list you mention, with the exclusions and all, is really fit for a good SaaS solution.

    You pay only for courses you actually sold. So for a big and even small educator this system will always fit in as part of the price per unit sold.
    http://www.ANewSpring.nl (currently the site unfortunately is only in Dutch) is an open elearning platform (LMS, LCMS). You could choose your type of license: E-learning, blended learning or even social learning. In the dedicated authorware you can create any type of content. Or you can use the open platform to integrate sites like youtube or ISSUU. A New Spring even has an embedded webshop!
    The benefits of SaaS versus Moodle are obvious, as SaaS takes over all downsites of hosted and proprietary software. You and your clients have a dedicated servicedesk with trained people that know the platform, possibilities and have the capability to change things fast.
    I know for a fact A New Spring has several international clients as the platform works in English and many other languages. And although no US version of the information-site yet, the team behind it services many educators in the US and further abroad.
    They are Scorm compliant but as you don’t need that you just don’t use it. The platform allows you to create content in almost any format you like to work in.
    Have a look, I am sure they you’ll love the benefits!

  • http://janetclarey.com/ jclarey

    Thanks Norbert. I’ll check it out.

  • http://janetclarey.com/ jclarey

    Great Harold, I’ll let them know (or they may comment here). I don’t have a lot of experience with eCommerce integration. I hadn’t though of Drupal w/ an extension. Thanks so much.

  • Rob Chipman


    This is a solution we currently provide at BizVision. We do private label versions of our site for several partners. We handle ecommerce, hosting & delivery of on-demand video, enable easy online admin access to monitor sales data, can offer quizzes or other participation documentation, and all other LMS functionality reqested. In addition, we can also do live or “simulive” events and have a live helpdesk to assist users with any technical issues. With regard to costs, we don’t charge any upfront or flat monthly fees for the use of our platform. It’s entirely usage based. I think we may actually qualify as being “crazy cheap.” I’d be glad to send a PDF and demo links to the person who inquired.

  • http://janetclarey.com/ jclarey

    Thanks Rob. I’ll let them know.

  • Phil Weber

    It may not be crazy cheap enough, but they might take a look at Articulate Online: http://www.articulate.com/products/articulate-online.php

  • Trudy

    I use LearningServer by IntraLearn. I can offer it to them as either SaaS or hosted solution. Very low cost. E-commerce part of their collections which in fact we use. They can call me at (401) 232-9060 Ext 11…Trudy Mandeville. Thanks

  • http://janetclarey.com/ jclarey

    Thank you Trudy. So glad you commented…I’ll pass your contact info along.

  • http://janetclarey.com/ jclarey

    Thanks Phil.

  • Cosborn

    All are solid solutions. Can I please add another to your list? Business Training Library’s Company College LMS. It’s a low-cost, nicely flexible system with e-commerce capability.

    Chris Osborn
    VP of Marketing
    Business Training Library

  • http://www.bosscart.co.uk/products/hosted-ecommerce-solution.php Hosted ecommerce solutions

    I was looking for some resources like the ones you shared, many thanks!

  • Jpowell

    I’m evaluating Accord LMS from Interzoic. They offer a nice price point and the ability to integrate with e-commerce solutions under the dotnetnuke framework.

  • http://www.shopster.com/ Online Store

    Building online store can be a tough and you must be always to have a proper organization and systems. Lead management can be one of good help.

  • sandra

    ok. hi jclarey

    I work for an organization that is starting to grow now. we are very small. I believe the total of employees are about 100. and I think I am over counting. well, my director sent out a letter asking everyone for suggestion on how can this org can save money. my though was an e learning software. they spend thousands of dollars paying employees to gather and talk about different topic each month. some of the employee reach the level of over time and its costing them more money just to have them sitting there for 2 hrs. could you pls help me and recommend a good elearning software. I strongly believe that getting employees take tranings online will save the company big big dollars. thank you.

  • http://janetclarey.com/ jclarey

    I suggest taking a look at virtual classroom solutions. Most vendors have a free trial.

  • http://hermanshepard.webstarts.com/ Ali Lamb

    LMSs are used by managed areas  for complying exercising. They are also used by educational institutions to improve and support educational establishing exercising and providing programs to a bigger population of learners across the earth.

  • Alina Toderascu

    They should try MATRIX LMS, it has e-commerce integration, a really nice graphical catalog with a beautiful design to display courses and all the other features you mentioned.

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