What LMS Should I Use for my Live Online Learning Program?

March 30, 2022

Setting up a live online learning program? That’s great! In addition to creating your content and targeting your audience, you’ll need to figure out which SaaS tools will help you get your program up and running. 

One of the most important tools you’ll need is a Learning Management System (LMS). 

What’s an LMS, you ask? An LMS is a tool that lets you store curriculum and content. It’s a place where your learners can access all of the materials they need to be successful in your course. In addition to hosting course content such as readings and videos, some LMS’s allow you to create and grade assignments and quizzes. A high-end LMS also gives you a view into your learner’s progress by tracking module open rates, time on platform, and more. 

There are tons of LMS’s on the market, so how do you know which one is right for you? To help you decide, we share details on some of the most popular LMS’s for live online learning below. 

Just Starting Out

If you’re just starting out with your live online learning program, you probably don’t need a ton of bells and whistles and you’re likely more cost-conscious. That said, these options are great if you’re just starting out:

  1. Google Drive - Use Google Drive to upload course content and share with specific learners. It’s easily accessible, intuitive, and FREE. 
  2. Notion - Notion allows you to write content, embed videos, and structure an entire curriculum. You can also modify sharing options. Given Notion’s flexibility, you can also create your own internal student tracker so that you have all of your course info in a single tool. How cool is that? 
  3. Dropbox - Add your course content to dropbox if you want to make sure that only the right students have access. 


The following tools are great if you need a bit more power for your growing live online learning program: 

  1. Circle - While built as a community tool, Circle is often “hacked” as an LMS, given that you can create private spaces where you can host learning content and members can view, comment, and reach out to each other. What’s great about Circle is that if you have an existing community, your learners don’t have to log in to yet another tool to access course content. 
  2. Thinkific - A top LMS for course creators, Thinkific has a host of features including content hosting, support for live, on-demand, or blended courses, assessments, progress tracking and reporting, and membership subscriptions. 
  3. Kajabi - Another top option for course creators with a focus on email marketing features and digital products beyond just courses. 

Check out our No-Code cohort-based course stack suggestions for 2022 here


Larger institutions require more robust tools. Here are the ones we suggest: 

  1. Canvas - Canvas is built for large orgs - schools, universities, or corporate. With Canvas, you can create multiple learning portals and courses, leverage interactive learning features and collaboration tools, and access robust analytics. 
  2. Blackboard -  Blackboard has been a leader in the LMS space for decades and has many of the same features as Canvas. While Canvas focuses on innovation and user experience, Blackboard really shines on administrative management for large learning organizations. 

What else do I need? 

There are 4 major tool components we recommend for live online learning programs. 

  1. LMS / Content Hosting - everything we’ve outlined above!
  2. Community - for learner interaction, sometimes a single tool can have both LMS and Community functionality. 
  3. Payments - to collect payments from your learners.
  4. Events - to manage event scheduling, calendaring, invites, and reminders. You can use a traditional calendar tool like Google Calendar or a Virtual Event Manager (VEM). 

Want to see how using a Virtual Event Manager (VEM) can help supercharge your live online  learning program? Schedule a demo call with a Virtually team member to learn how to simplify your event management or get started for free.

Read next: How to Scale Operations for an Online Bootcamp Using No-Code Tools

Laura Marks

Laura Marks is Head of Customer Experience at Virtually