“Do you have a side by side comparison of JoomLMS and Guru LMS?”
“I am comparing JoomLMS and King LMS”
“How is JoomLMS different from Shika LMS?”
These are only a few examples of the pre-sale requests we get at the JoomLMS website.
Since there is no detailed and unbiased comparison of the LMS solutions for Joomla! the clients have to spend a lot of time and effort on compiling it by themselves. We decided to get into the shoes of those clients’ and composed an article comparing native Joomla!-based Learning Management Systems available on the market. In the same way as for the JoomLMS and Moodle comparison, we tried to make the comparison as much unbiased as possible. Before publishing the article we carefully examined the websites, the demos and the tutorials of Guru LMS, Shika LMS and King LMS. The matter was complicated by the lack of fully-fledged free trials available that is why if you notice any discordance in our comparison, please let us know in the comments section. We will fix it on a short notice.
JoomLMS is not just for Joomla! Websites
Here at JoomLMS we don’t set ourselves as an LMS for Joomla! CMS only, but rather an LMS that is built on the basis of Joomla!. What does it mean? It means that JoomLMS can be integrated not only into the existing Joomla! website but can be installed at the subdomain of the website built on different CMS (like WordPress or Drupal). You website will stay as it is now. Just an additional menu item with an external link to JoomLMS will be added (in this case there will be separate admin areas but the JoomLMS template can be adjusted to match your main website design.
Now, let’s turn to the JoomLMS vs Guru LMS vs King LMS vs Shika LMS comparison…
When a comparison table was ready it became clear that JoomLMS has a far broader functionality than any other native Learning Management System for Joomla! The question is whether wide functionality is the primary criterion for your business. If the business is small and the budget is limited it is quite irrational to spend money on the functions you will not use. At the same time, if your business is rapidly growing and you need wide functionality to meet the business objectives and differentiate yourself from competitors, then JoomLMS is the most favorable eLearning solution for Joomla!.
For example, Guru LMS costs 2 times less than JoomLMS but is neither SCORM nor AICC compliant. SCORM and AICC compatibility is one of the most important criteria for large institutions that want to use third-party authoring tools like Articulate Storyline or Lectora to create engaging and interactive courses, to apply storytelling or gamification techniques, different learning scenarios. But this feature is not so important for small businesses offering standard learning courses and not going to reuse them or move to another LMS in the near future.
Subscription Type Difference
Another important point that is worth to be mentioned is the difference in subscription type. The JoomLMS license is annual and needs to be prolonged each year. In comparison with JoomLMS, Guru LMS, Shika LMS and King LMS will function even if you don’t prolong the license. Please notice that you will not get any support or updates if the license expires, but numerous market researches indicate that it is the most important criterion for most of the clients. It means that if you want to get technical support you still need to prolong the subscription. So, in cases like above there is no difference which license to purchase.
JoomLMS price depends on the number of users required, while there are no such limitations in the Guru LMS, Shika LMS and King LMS solutions. But practice shows that if a company needs an LMS with many seats, it might require an extended functionality that neither Guru LMS nor Shika LMS nor King LMS can offer.
UX and Usability
Only JoomLMS supports the content creation at the Front End. The other Joomla! Learning Management Systems don’t have such functionality. It means that course creation becomes a challenging process for teachers who are not familiar with the Joomla! Back End.
All the LMS providers at their websites say that the course creation process is as easy as a pie. We cannot insist on JoomLMS supremacy over the others, of course, but there are serious User Experience issues that certain providers overlook.
We downloaded Guru Light and installed it at the testing website. The Light version allows creating 1 course with the help of a course builder at the Back End. There are several tabs you can click through to create a course. At first sight the process seemed to be quite understandable, however when the “Save and close’ button was clicked, a ton of error notifications emerged: “invalid price”, “please create plans for those who are not entitled to this course free”, “sequential courses can be free for guests” etc. We didn’t even know why or where the date was incorrect and had to click through all the tabs and look through all the fields because otherwise the course would not be saved. Pretty tough for a user, as we believe.
What concerns the King LMS Trial version, the interface leaves much to be desired. The trial version is limited in functionality and allows creating lessons and adding quizzes only. We were not able to test other functionality like SCORM for example. The demo in its turn doesn’t allow entering the Back End and has responsiveness issues. It means that you buy King LMS at your own risk and hope that the functionality of the paid version will satisfy your needs.
Only the demo of Shika LMS allowed us to test the functionality fully. We stuck at the adding content to the newly created course (In JoomLMS we use a different approach, that might be the reason) but after reading the manual the process became clearer. We didn’t notice any responsiveness issues or UX lags as compared to Guru LMS or King LMS.
See how the course creation process looks in JoomLMS:
Please notice, the JoomLMS trial is not limited in functionality and allows you to create as many courses as you need. You can both test JoomLMS at our environment (we will generate a free trial for you) or ask for a trial installation package to install at your own Joomla! website and check how it is compatible with the already installed extensions.
JoomLMS has advanced e-commerce capacities, including a capability to issue invoices (the invoice layout can be customized, by the way), discount coupons and promo codes. All the payment processors are already integrated into the system and no additional payments are required in comparison with King LMS, for example, where each additional payment plugin costs $29.95. It means that the intent to give customers numerous payment options can lead to considerable costs. In Guru LMS just PayPal payment processor is offered out of the box. Additionally, you can acquire the Authorize.net plugin for $27. Only Shika LMS offers enough alternative methods of payment.
All the Learning Management Systems allow creating both free and paid courses. With JoomLMS and Shika LMS you can offer users a free trial in paid courses. However, only JoomLMS allows setting the maximum course attendance number and adding users to waiting lists. The features are particularly useful if you offer free and public courses but don’t want strangers to enroll into the courses.
JoomLMS is the only Learning Management System for Joomla! that has Android and iOS compatible Mobile Apps. It means that JoomLMS functionality is not just simply resized to fit the screen of a mobile device like in the case of King LMS, Guru LMS and Shika LMS but is brought to the next level to provide the best possible mobile experience with a clear navigation, a readable font size, the lack of distracting elements etc.
JoomLMS, in comparison with the other Joomla! eLearning solutions, allows creating custom user roles and configuring custom grading/assessment scales.
What does it give you?
With custom user roles you can be ensured that JoomLMS is aligned with your training/teaching goals. For example, you can create a “supervisor” role for users who need access both to the gradebook and reports or permit CEO/parent to check the attendance by customizing a teacher’s role (by default CEO/parent can see just the grades).
The custom grading functionality in its turn allows you to define your own grading scale for each course. For example, you can set such grades as “A, A-, B+, B, B-…D-, F”, “Excellent, Good, Poor”, “Outstanding, satisfactory, unsatisfactory” , use a percentage scale, or comments instead of numbers.
What is more, JoomLMS allows you to create assignments (offline activity, write text, upload file) that will be displayed at the JoomLMS dashboard and notify a user when a new assignment is available. In Guru LMS there is no such option at all, in Shika LMS and King LMS assignments are presented in the form of quizzes only.
Only JoomLMS has a system of announcements enabled. The other Joomla! Learning Management Systems have email notifications only or handle notifications via third-party tools like Jticketing or EasySocial (Shika LMS).
One more advantage of JoomLMS over King LMS, Guru LMS and Shika LMS is a capability of scheduling webinars and online sessions right from the course page. JoomLMS integration with GoToMeeting service allows teachers and trainers to schedule live events and send attendance emails within the LMS environment with no need to enter the GoToMeeting website. The compared LMS solutions don’t have such functionality.
Certificate management is a must-have functionality for any LMS solution, however many LMS vendors think of a certificate more like an image or a PDF file with the student’s name on it rather than an important document confirming the course completion. JoomLMS, in comparison with King LMS, Shika LMS and Guru LMS, allows adding a bar code, a watermark or a serial number on a certificate so you can be insured that the certificate will not be falsified.
JoomLMS vs Guru LMS vs King LMS vs Shika LMS Comparison Table
|Criteria||JoomLMS||Guru LMS||Shika LMS||King LMS|
|Learning Paths||Yes||Yes (the lessons inside a course can have sequences)||Yes||Yes|
|Course creation at the Front End||Yes||No||No||No|
|Custom User Roles||Yes||No||No||No|
|Groups creation (Global groups)||Yes||Yes (Joomla! ACL system support)||Yes (Joomla! ACL system support)||Yes (Joomla! ACL system support)|
|Groups inside the courses (Local groups)||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Setting the maximum course attendees number||Yes||No||No||No|
|Teacher/student mode (course preview function)||Yes||No||Yes/No (ALC configuration is required)||No|
|Live/video conferencing||Yes (GoToMeeting integration)||No||No||No|
|Chat||Yes||No||Yes/No (JBolo integration)||No|
|Forum||Yes/No (via integration with third-party forum tools)||Yes||Yes/No (offered via EasySocial integration only)||Yes|
|Bar cod, watermark and a serial number on certificates||Yes||No||No||No|
|Different assignments types||Yes||Yes/No (in the form of quizzes only)||Yes/No (in the form of quizzes only)||Yes/No (in the form of quizzes only)|
|Quiz tool enabled||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes (a lesson type "quiz")|
|Quiz questions repository (quiz questions library, quiz questions pool, quiz questions bank)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes (using wizard)|
|Social tools integration||Yes (JomSocial)||Yes (JomSocial)||Yes (Easysocial, Jomsocial)||Yes (Easysocial, Jomsocial)|
|A system of email notifications||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|A system of announcements||Yes||No||Yes/No (jTicketing integration)||No|
Offline bank transfer
WorldPay Select Junior
|PayPal Offline Bank Transfer Authorize.net (paid)||2Checkout
Alpha User Points
Amazon [Joomla 2.5]
Pay By Check
Pay By Purchase Order
|Multiple payment processors are available. Each costs $29.95|
|A possibility to generate discounts||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|A possibility to generate promocodes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Free trial (free lesson) in Paid Courses||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Course completion criteria configuration||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|User grades tracking||Yes||Yes/No (score tracking instead)||Yes||No|
|Reports||The latest course activities
Learning paths statistics
User grades statistics
|Course reports||Certification Path reports
Time Spent Reports
Disk Usage Report
|Pie and Graphical reports' view||Yes||No||No||No|
|Export reports||Yes||Yes/No (just quiz results can be exported)||Yes||Yes/No (some reports can be exported)|
|Free trial||Yes (all the functionality of Pro version is supported)||Yes/No (limited functionality)||No||Yes/No (limited functionality)|
|Price (Professional version)||$799||$297||$699,99||$349|
If you have just entered the market, the company is small and offers standardized courses without applying storytelling, learning scenarios, blended learning approach etc. then Guru LMS can be a good match. If SCORM compatibility is a must but the budget is limited then have a look at King LMS (however we recommend checking the trial first as the LMS has responsiveness issues and outdated interface, plus the payment plugins go at additional cost). Shika LMS can perfectly suit the needs of a mid-sized business with basic requests. JoomLMS corresponds both with the standard training/eLearning industry needs and can be used by customers looking for a multifunctional Learning Management System that can be easily adjusted to the business needs and allows doing much more that the other Joomla! eLearning solutions.
The comparison was made based on the publicly available information on the LMS vendors’ websites and demos in August 2016. The article is intended for simplifying the search process and is made more as a guide, not an exhaustive listing of the competitors’ features. The views expressed in the article may not necessarily reflect the views of other LMS vendors. The LMS features can change in the course of time so we recommend checking the relevance of information at the official websites. If there is information missing or misleading, please get in touch with us and we will change it.
What to read next?
JoomLMS and Moodle Comparison [Updated]
Introducing JoomLMS Mobile App and JoomLMS 2.0.4
10 Reasons to Build Your ELearning Project With JoomLMS [Infographic]