Moodle™ vs TalentLMS A Comparison of Open-Source vs. Cloud LMS Platform

Moodle™ vs TalentLMS: A Comparison of Open-Source vs. Cloud LMS Platform

In this article, we are going to compare two popular LMS platforms – Moodle™ vs TalentLMS.

When you decide to develop an e-Learning website, choosing the best eLearning platform is one of the first and most basic things that need to be done. 

If you mess up this choice, you can end up with a website that doesn’t scale and doesn’t adapt to the requirements of your online learning program(s). And most importantly, your learners.

But no worries, because we’re here to do the heavy lifting for you. 

Let’s begin!

#1. Basics

Moodle™ is a free online LMS that offers educators flexible and customized open-source eLearning solutions. It’s simple to use, requires no upkeep, and provides a variety of course-building options. 

TalentLMS, on the other hand, is a cloud-based LMS that offers a variety of appealing features and solutions. 

Both of them offer built-in authoring tools, blended learning, asynchronous learning, certificate management, SCORM compliance, gamification, mobile learning, learners portal, and other common features of an LMS. 

TalentLMS also has a mobile app, but a major issue with it is that you can’t add any content from it – it’s just for other administrative functions of your e-Learning site. 

Summary:

  • Both of them provide you with the required features to create your courses, but with different approaches. 
  • TalentLMS provides as much as possible with its in-built functionality, while Moodle™ provides it through the help of plugins.
  • TalentLMS also has a mobile app, but it’s largely for administrative purposes.

#2. Interface

The user interface of both Moodle™ and TalentLMS is well designed. TalentLMS, however, has a more polished look and feel to it than Moodle™. Perhaps that is because its functionality is pre-defined, unlike Moodle™ that offers just core functionality while leaving the rest of the stuff for plugins. 

You can have a look at the interfaces of both these platforms in the images given below:

TalentLMSMoodle™

As you can see, TalentLMS has a more colorful look and feel while Moodle™ is very minimalist. 

In Moodle™ you can achieve your desired interface and design by customizing it as per your needs.

Winner: TalentLMS has a better user interface – clean and user-friendly

Pro Tip:

You can use Moodle™’s customization capabilities to your advantage for creating an LMS experience that is distinctively yours. Through a bunch of paid + free Moodle™ themes and other plugins, you can easily change the look and feel of your LMS based on your e-learning needs.

Summary: 

  • TalentLMS has a more polished user interface in comparison to Moodle™.
  • Moodle™’s interface is traditionally hard to work with, but highly customizable with a variety of themes such as Edwiser RemUI, Edumy, Lambda, New Learning etc.

#3. Ease of use

While Both Moodle, as well as TalentLMS, are highly popular platforms, that doesn’t translate into a well-polished user experience on both of them. 

While TalentLMS has a well-designed UI that makes things much easier, Moodle has a very clunky, unattractive interface that leaves many things unexplained including navigation. And many things to be done with the help of manual coding. 

Therefore, if you’re not familiar with the basics of PHP, HTML & CSS, you may find it a bit difficult to work your way through Moodle (unless you are using advanced plugins for all your needs). 

So it’s easy to conclude that as a beginner it will be easier for you to learn and use TalentLMS than it will be to learn Moodle. 

Winner: TalentLMS

Summary:

  • TalentLMS is easier to use and learn than Moodle
  • Moodle has better customization capabilities because it’s open-source and modular. But it isn’t very impressive on the ease of use front, as the interface is pretty dated and unfriendly to use and navigate

#4. Ease of customization

Because of its proprietary nature, TalentLMS is a very restrictive solution compared to Moodle™. You can customize courses and aesthetics as a customer, but nothing more than that. There is no way to design customized features and functionality. 

However, it allows you to split your account into separate instances known as “Branches”. From there you can only modify the color scheme, logo, and background of each Branch.

Moodle™, on the other hand, provides a lot of customization options, thanks to its open-source nature. 

Customizing styles, sizes, graphics, and branding is simple enough in Moodle. Deep and complicated functional customizations—such as modifying entire dashboards and course catalogs to match organization-specific needs—are more complex. 

But those complex customizations can also be done if you have a Moodle™ developer onboard, unlike TalentLMS which restricts you almost completely on the customization front.

Winner: Moodle™

Summary:

  • TalentLMS is a proprietary solution, so it’s not as customizable as open-source Moodle. The best you can do is change the color scheme and install your logo, color scheme and other brand identity elements.
  • Moodle can be customized heavily through the use of plugins, themes, brand elements and other such features. 
  • With the help of a Moodle developer, even its features can be customized. 

#5. Grading and scoring

Moodle™ gradebook

Both Moodle™ and TalentLMS come with many different grading methods that can be used in quizzes and tests to compare the performance of your learners. 

However, Moodle™ gradebook offers more extensive functionality to rate the participants of a quiz than the grading system of TalentLMS. 

For instance, Moodle™ allows gradebook comments, gradebook audit trail, course history, manual grading, and multiple grading scales. 

TalentLMS, on the other hand, offers just a simple grading system with manual grading functionality and course history without any proper gradebook. So if you want an extensive grading system in your LMS, Moodle™ is the way to go!

Winner: Moodle™

Pro Tip: 

Moodle’s grading functionality can be further improved with the use of some really efficient grading plugins

Summary:

  • Moodle comes with a gradebook functionality that allows extensive control and customization of your grading system.
  • TalentLMS comes with a very basic grading system that provides just course history and multiple grading methods – nothing more than that. 

#6. Integration

Moodle™ plugin directory

Moodle™’s platform is very rich when it comes to integrations. There are a large number of plugins that can be used to extend the functionality of this platform, thanks to its large community of developers. 

Course creators can use these plugins for plagiarism checking, course building, live conferencing, student-teacher collaboration, and much more. According to official figures, there are more than 1,900 plugins in the Moodle™ plugin directory at the time of writing this comparison.

TalentLMS too has several integrations and plugins to extend its functionality, but by no means its library is as large as that of Moodle™. Its plugins cover the gamut from common collaboration platforms like Zoom to eCommerce payment processors like Paypal, Shopify, WooCommerce, and WordPress.

Winner: Moodle™

Pro Tip: 

If you have used WordPress for your website, you can use the Moodle-WordPress integration plugin, Edwiser Bridge Pro to sell your Moodle™ courses globally without any payment gateway barriers. 

Summary:

  • Moodle’s plugin directory is a large one, with more than 1900 integrations available for various purposes. 
  • TalentLMS has very few integrations.

#7. Pricing

Moodle™ is an open-source platform, therefore it’s completely free of cost. If you want to use it you can just download it, install it on your server, and get started right away. 

Also, if you’re looking for something more premium in nature then you can go for MoodleCloud, which offers a paid Corporate LMS solution as well as other paid plans starting from $120 per year for 50 users and 250MB of storage.

The cost of TalentLMS, on the other hand, is broken down into fixed tiers based on the number of users:

  • Five users, ten courses, and email support are all free.
  • Starter: $59/month for 40 users, with all of the free tier’s features.
  • Basic: $129/month — includes 100 users, single sign-on support, and all of the preceding tiers.
  • Plus: $249/month — 500 users, custom reports, automation, SSL for a custom domain, and everything from the previous tiers is included.
  • Premium: $429/month – includes 1000 users, live chat support, and all of the preceding tiers.

As you can see, the prices of TalentLMS seriously limit the functionality of the free plan. If you want to build something that will involve multiple instructors and more than 5 courses, that is a serious roadblock. Therefore, in this area, Moodle™ wins hands down. 

Winner: Moodle™

Summary:

  • Moodle is free to use as it’s an open-source platform, but they have a paid Cloud offering too with a plan specially designed for corporates.
  • TalentLMS is also free to use initially, but its free plan is very restrictive in comparison to Moodle.
  • The paid plans of MoodleCloud are slightly more expensive in comparison to TalentLMS when we analyse what they offer. 

#8. Hosting

There are significant differences between both these platforms in terms of hosting as well. While Moodle™ is a self-hosted solution that can be hosted on your own server, TalentLMS operates on a SAAS-based business model as it’s a cloud LMS platform. 

Moodle™ too offers its own cloud solution under the brand of Moodle™ Cloud, but the fact that it allows you to host your LMS yourself is a big deal in itself because TalentLMS doesn’t give you any such option.

This can be a boon or bane depending on your requirements, as there are pros and cons of both options:

  • When you host the LMS yourself, you control every single part of its functionality. You gain absolute control over who accesses your LMS, who doesn’t, and which parts are customized, which parts are not. But it also makes you completely responsible for the security and management of your LMS – do it yourself, or hire someone for it
  • On the other hand, in the case of a cloud LMS, the security and maintenance are managed by the LMS provider while you manage just your course content. This significantly reduces your workload and resource requirements but also means that you don’t have total control over who accesses your LMS server

There’s no clear winner or loser here, simply because there’s no right or wrong way of doing it. The right way in this regard is to pick the one that suits your needs. 

Summary:

  • Moodle is a self-hosted LMS platform unless you go for MoodleCloud, while TalentLMS is purely cloud-hosted. 
  • No model is good or bad – it all depends on what you’re looking for. 

#9. Target Audience

So far you’ve seen that Moodle™ wins hands down in a lot of areas over Talent LMS. And that, in large part, is because of the different nature of these platforms. 

While Moodle™ is an open-source platform, TalentLMS is a proprietary platform. A number of things, like the availability of 3rd party integrations and community support, are not available in TalentLMS because of this difference. 

But that’s also because of the difference in their target audiences – while Moodle™ targets a broad audience from schools to universities to course platforms, TalentLMS targets only corporate clients. The features and functionality of TalentLMS clearly show that, and that also becomes visible in other areas of their business too (i.e. support, hosting, etc). 

You should keep this difference in mind while choosing any of them for your needs.

Summary:

  • TalentLMS is meant only for corporate training programs and corporate customers, while Moodle can be used for a wide range of purposes.

#10. Implementation Technology

The implementation of Moodle™ and TalentLMS has also been done on very different tech stacks. Moodle™ follows a modular architecture that segregates the plugins from core LMS, and it’s also a self-hosted system so you can analyze its source code completely (which is built in PHP, CSSS, and JS). 

TalentLMS, as you know by now, is a proprietary solution offered through the cloud. 

So, we don’t know much about the tech stack that has been used to deploy it. But the company says that it uses Amazon S3 to host the course content and Amazon Cloudfront to distribute it. 

Stripe is used for payments, and load balancers to maintain the performance. 

Needless to say that it helps when you know what tech stack is being used by your LMS, so in this department too Moodle™ comes out as a clear winner. 

Winner: Moodle™

Summary: 

  • Moodle’s tech stack is available for everyone to explore and customize as it’s open-source, while not much is known about the technology behind TalentLMS.
  • In the case of Moodle, you also determine many technical things as per your convenience (i.e hosting, security etc.) while that’s just not possible in case of TalentLMS. 

#11. Support

TalentLMS, like most LMS providers, provides a collection of instructional support and documentation. There are a number of online videos, articles, and other resources that can be used to learn about this LMS platform. 

All these resources can be found at the Help Center of TalentLMS. And unfortunately, that’s all. There’s no community support because the company has not bothered to build a community of its users. 

If you need support, you can write to their email support team, which is the default support method for the majority of pricing tiers. Only the Premium ($429/month) tier has direct access to the support team (limited to live chat help).

Moodle™, on the other hand, not only has a large number of resources available to help its users find their way but also a huge community of users and developers who are always willing to help each other. 

So if you get stuck somewhere, you may find help more easily on this platform in comparison to TalentLMS. 

There’s Moodle™ Network, which is basically a social network of Moodle™ users willing to share the educational resources with each other as well as Moodle™ community forums in addition to documentation, so finding and navigating your way around this LMS is not a herculean task. 

Winner: Moodle™

Summary:

  • TalentLMS provides documentation and email support only. Nothing more than that for most of its customers when it comes to support. 
  • If you’re paying a hefty price of $429 per month, you can gain access to live chat support from the TalentLMS team. Everyone else is limited to email support only. 
  • Moodle has a vibrant community of developers and users who are always willing to help each other.
  • Moodle’s documentation is also more extensive in comparison to TalentLMS. In general, finding help is much easier for Moodle than it is for TalentLMS.

Over to You

Alright!!!!

It’s time to sum things up so you can decide which LMS is a better solution for your needs.

Here’s a quick tabular presentation of strengths and weaknesses. Let’s begin:

CriteriaWinner
FeaturesMoodle™
InterfaceTalentLMS
Ease of useTalentLMS
Ease of customizationMoodle™ 
Grading and scoringMoodle™
IntegrationMoodle™
PricingMoodle™
HostingMoodle™
Implementation TechnologyMoodle™
SupportMoodle™

By now it may be clear to you where we’re headed. Moodle™ wins hands down in almost all criteria of our comparison, so needless to say that we shall recommend it for all possible use cases. 

No matter whether you want to set up an online school, university, course platform, or a corporate training site, Moodle™ will serve your purpose well. 

But if you’re willing to pay and have something that doesn’t require maintenance and coding effort from your end, you can go for TalentLMS.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below!!

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