A Searchable Directory of over 2,500 Vendors of Online Learning Products and Services Worldwide
To help colleges, universities, training providers, and faculty and instructors find the latest products and services to help improve the learning experience for their students, Contact North | Contact Nord Research Associate Dr. Don McIntosh compiled a comprehensive directory of over 2,500 vendors of online learning products and services.
They are part of a the fast growing ed-tech (educational technology) industry with over 8 billion dollars in annual sales of hardware and software with no sign of a slowdown.
These innovative technologies range from software to host and organize learning content to adaptive learning systems that use intelligent algorithms to adjust learning to suit individual needs.
Always Evolving - Not Exhaustive
Our searchable directory of vendors of online learning products and services is by no means exhaustive nor static. It is evolving as we add, update and occasionally delete companies if they are no longer in business.
Get Your Company Listed
If you would like to have your company listed in our directory or have your information updated, please share the details with Dr. McIntosh.
No Endorsement nor Recommendation
Contact North | Contact Nord is providing this directory as a service only. It does not endorse nor recommend any of the companies listed in the directory. Education and training providers using the products or services of any companies in this list should do their due diligence prior to selecting a vendor.
The products and services are grouped under the following 11 categories.
Adaptive learning is an important new trend – providing learning that adapts to learners’ individual needs based on an intelligent algorithm. Adaptive learning is still in its infancy but has a great deal of potential. There are challenges such as privacy, ethical issues, and promises by vendors of capabilities that cannot yet be delivered. Many of the platforms listed can are also listed elsewhere in this directory in relevant categories. Most are not full-featured LMS but do include analytics and are designed to be integrated with LMS.
Supplementary tools, articles and websites helpful in navigating the ed-tech world.
Educational institutions (colleges and universities in particular) have often accumulated a great deal of data about students in different systems like Learning Management Systems (LMS), Student Information Systems (SIS), and Client Relationship Management (CRM) systems. This is referred to as “Big Data”. Now tools are being developed to mine this data, analyze and report on it so faculty, instructors and advisors can recruit students, monitor student progress and advise students accordingly.
These companies are not primary sources of learning software but are outsourcing companies that offer consultation, custom development, hosting, and management of learning services and resell other solutions.
It is possible to create web-based learning courses directly by programming in HTML or Flash, however, the course authoring tools presented in this list are designed to simplify the process. There are many companies who offer custom course development as a service (see Consulting/Custom Development Companies). This is a listing only of those who offer authoring courseware for sale.
- Comprehensive: Some course authoring tools are quite comprehensive - creating webpages, tests and assessments, animations, screen simulations, video and audio. The more complex ones require more expertise and can benefit from programming experience.
- Rapid eLearning: These are primarily PowerPoint and/or Microsoft Word to web (usually Flash) conversion tools. PowerPoint can be a powerful authoring tool in expert hands but both the instructional design and the technical implementation of it takes time.
- Tests and Assessments: Specialized tools for the creation of tests, quizzes, assessments and surveys. Many course authoring tools include some of this capability but the specialized ones include much more capability.
- Screen capture tools: Used largely to record screen interactions for software simulation training.
- Mobile learning tools: Mobile learning requires specific design considerations because of the smaller form factor of some devices. Some comprehensive authoring tools include the ability to publish to mobile learning formats like HTML5.
- More sophisticated simulation tools: for social and business simulations.
- Audio and video: There are many available tools for creating, editing and incorporating audio and video into online learning.
- Virtual Worlds: There is an emerging category of tools that offer social networking, conferencing and virtual environments/worlds. They often use avatars.
It is difficult to categorize authoring tools comprehensively. Every possible flavour exists and there is a good deal of overlap in these sub-categories.
Many organizations find it is useful to purchase generic courseware for information technology, communications, sales, financial skills, ethics, values, diversity and regulatory compliance training. Many of them also offer an LMS or LCMS to manage their courseware and although subscribers have access to the LMS information and it may integrate with their own LMS, the courseware provider’s LMS is not often offered as a standalone product.
While LMS manage learners and record keeping, Learning Content Management Systems (LCMS) provide authoring capability and manage the content of courses. Since many LMS are taking on the features of LCMS and vice-versa, there is a duplication of vendors in this list as some companies offer both. The distinction between LMS and LCMS is becoming increasingly vague as LMS providers add authoring tools to their solutions. Arguably, any LMS that includes an integrated authoring capability (more and more common now) is an LCMS. Most LCMS offer at least modest LMS capabilities as well.
Learning Management Systems manage learners, launch and track online learning and keep records of the activity. They can be organised into 2 groups:
Corporate Learning Management Systems (LMS)
- Designed primarily for use in corporate environments and usually include registration and management of classroom instruction as well as online learning management and delivery. Some corporate LMS add e-commerce capability and may include regulatory compliance, competency, performance, human capital and talent management, which link closely to human resources functions. Corporate LMS tend to emphasize the management of asynchronous (self-directed) online learning. Course authoring and content management are not normally included in a corporate LMS except as part of a suite that includes learning content management (LCMS).
Education Learning Management Systems (ELMS)
Educational institutions are usually already well equipped for registration and management of classroom instruction so ELMS tend to be primarily for online learning and they usually provide course authoring and some content management features. They also emphasize communication and collaboration features. There are two further categories –commercial (proprietary) and open source.
Proprietary systems are easier to install and operate and provide IT support and maintenance, however, they tend to cost more money.
Most open source systems were built for education but were adopted by both educational organizations and some companies. The source code is open; therefore, it can be modified to be highly customizable for each organization. However, most open source products tend to be more complicated than commercial products and although the software is free in many cases, substantial institutional IT support is necessary.
- Educational institutions are usually already well equipped for registration and management of classroom instruction so ELMS tend to be primarily for online learning and they usually provide course authoring and some content management features. They also emphasize communication and collaboration features. There are two further categories –commercial (proprietary) and open source.
There are businesses that choose to use ELMS products – particularly those that support the use of open source tools. And the reverse is true - sometimes a corporate LMS is appropriate for the formal education sector, for example, to be used for distance education. Therefore, organizations looking for LMS should not ignore the possibilities of using an LMS primarily focused on the other sector.
It is natural that, with the increased popularity of SaaS, cloud computing, and social networking, the LMS would evolve to include those things. Many “behind the firewall” LMS are offering “hosted” (SaaS/cloud) solutions and are including social networking tools within the organization. Some of the tools give access to social networking but with a learning focus. Social learning tools offer schools and corporations the opportunity to build communities of interest, to manage and capture informal learning, and to provide mentoring and coaching. These tools are being rapidly adopted not just because of their popularity but also because of the value they provide.
Companies that offer a product or service in the ed-tech industry that do not fit into one of the designated categories.
These tools provide an interface for synchronous, over-the-web meetings for small or large groups and classes, also known as web conferencing or webinars. They typically include a whiteboard for presentation and data sharing with interactive graphic tools. They may also include video sharing, audio tools, a chat window for instant messaging among participants and polling and feedback tools.
Many offer recording capability so the presentation can be viewed later. Some vendors cater to business and some to education. Tools designed strictly for webcasting lack some of these interactive tools. With some exceptions, virtual classrooms are not typically included in LMS but are available as third party solutions. Most LMS offer integration with specific third party tools.
You can filter and sort the directory to see a listing of the companies and the products they offer.
You can also download a PDF of the complete list with commentary from Dr. McIntosh.