The 5 Most Popular Free Social Learning LMSs

Originally published on Capterra’s Training Technology Blog

We live in a hyperconnected era. This is the most plugged-in time in history, and we’re more reliant on machines than ever. In fact, most younger people can’t stand to go more than a few hours without some form of online connection.

Totally terrifying, right?

Actually, I’m going to have to play the tech devil’s advocate here.

This amount of technology people are using is a little alarming, sure, but this has been true with almost all other major technological advances. This generation isenjoying groundbreaking literacy rates; which makes sense when you think about all those text messages and status updates. And all those text messages and status updates aren’t going nowhere; they’re proof that people are communicating with one another more than ever.

Why would we call it a social network if people weren’t networking and being social? Humans have a basic need to be social, and may even work and learn better in groups. And if your LMS doesn’t allow for some form of social learning, you may be missing out.

Get social

So what do I mean when I say social learning? Social learning is when working with others in some capacity helps contribute to the learning method. Social learning comes from interaction and instruction, person to person. You can have social learning when one person does something and then explains the process to someone else. You can even achieve social learning through a video (where you see an action performed and copy it).

Basically exactly like that.

When you look for social learning options in a learning management system, you could be looking for a lot of things. What does that mean? Lots of things! It could be:

  • Video-capable
  • Equipped with instant chat function
  • Has forums where your users can share information
  • Scores and lesson responses are shareable between learners

Broad? Yes. But this variety is excellent, because it means you have a wealth of options. And when you do it right, social learning methods can have a hugely successful impact on your learners. Let’s break down some of the most popular learning management software that comes with built-in social learning options.

Best of both worlds

The highest ranking LMSs are highest ranking for a good reason. With positive reviews pouring in, these are some of the top software products in the industry. And, more than that, these are the highest ranking tools that come with social learning optimization.

That said, just because something is the most popular doesn’t mean it’s the best option. Sometimes the need for a low price (even the lowest possible price) trumps the desire to have the highest ranked LMS.

But I have good news: you can have both. All of these software systems are not only free, they’re highly rated by reviewers, too.

CourseSites (Blackboard for business)

Blackboard knows what’s up. They’re a well known LMS used widely in schools. They also have options designed for business, including CourseSites, which is a free version of their software, aimed at small platforms and single course instructors, though this version is limited to five courses.

Blackboard is so social that you can connect directly to it from various social media logins. Link it to Google and Facebook to maximize off-site learning. In-system it also has interactive real-time classrooms with prominent whiteboards, forums, and instant messaging between users.

You can review CourseSites here.


With an attractive and easy-to-learn interface, Dokeos is a popular LMS designed for large businesses in particular. It’s also open source and cloud-based.

In terms of social learning, Dokeos comes equipped with a built-in live conferencing system (think Skype’s video and text chatting, but internal), webinar capability, and screen-sharing. The software also allows you to publish videos internally, so you can create specific instruction that can be viewed as often as……………

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