The Top 6 LMS Solutions for the Association Market in 2021

As eLearning continues to become more important for all organizations, associations are finding that they need a learning management system, or LMS, that caters specifically to their needs. What should you look for in an association LMS? You need robust e-commerce capabilities so that you can sell training to all of your members. You also need multi-tenant functionality and a top-tier content marketplace to ensure that you address the needs of all members. Furthermore, associations need to be able to assign CEU/CPD to any content and capture the resulting data. Of course, the best association LMS needs the standard features expected of any learning platform including flexibility and scalability as well.

If you aren’t sure which systems offer all of those features, it’s best to turn to an expert. Craig Weiss is one of the most prominent analysts in the LMS space. He writes the e-Learning 24/7 blog that is read in 147 different countries and founded to help the average person find a great eLearning solution for their organization’s needs. You can create a free account on to start comparing association LMS options head-to-head, or take a look at Weiss’s top picks for the association market in 2021 below. Either way, you will be empowering your association to create the online education and training program that your members deserve.

  1. Thought Industries
  2. Thought Industries is one of the best LMS solutions available today for any organization looking to build successful relationships with external learners. TI is a cloud-based LMS that can scale with your association’s growth. It supports blended and hybrid learning to give your members easy access to all training content, paid on-demand training, and e-commerce integration to help you track the ROI of your association’s eLearning initiative. You also get multi-tenant delivery capabilities and an expansive suite of analytics for tracking learner progress. The reason why Thought Industries isn’t ranked higher is that they don’t yet have a mobile app. Association members lead busy lives and the ability to access content whenever and wherever they like is a huge plus for an association LMS. That said, this problem will be rectified by mid-2022.

  3. Learn Upon
  4. Learn Upon offers a fantastic UI (or User Interface) that makes training more convenient for association members and powerful e-commerce capabilities such as built-in Salesforce integration and support for three popular payment methods (PayPal, Stripe, and Shopify) that make it a top association LMS. Its analytical tools are more good than great, but you can easily filter and export data and access important metrics such as enrollments on the admin dashboard without having to run a report. Its mobile app also offers gamification elements such as live leaderboards, but you lose some flexibility when your association LMS’s app is only available on iOS devices.

  5. Crowd Wisdom
  6. Crowd Wisdom is a dedicated association LMS that runs on cloud technology, making it highly scalable. It also combines on-demand courses with VILT (or Virtual Instructor-Led Training), making it a suitable selection for associations that need to accommodate both synchronous and asynchronous learners. Crowd Wisdom boasts a customizable learner interface that lets you use different branding for different types of learners and automatically tracks certifications and compliance training for association members. Standard eCommerce integration and personalized learning paths are also present.

  7. Skilljar
  8. Skilljar is a great association LMS that doesn’t always receive the press it deserves in the industry. It includes advanced e-commerce features such as a dedicated Salesforce app, subscription-based pricing, and support for international currencies to make training and education easier for associations with global membership. It also consolidates training data with your existing business tools, making it easy to see how your eLearning program is affecting member productivity. Its UI is intuitive and works great on mobile devices, allowing association members to access training content whenever they wish. Skilljar’s customization capabilities are unmatched as well, but you’ll need someone proficient in HTML, CSS, and Javascript to make full use of them.

  9. CourseStage
  10. CourseStage is a dedicated association LMS that’s designed around the specific needs of its market. It offers everything you’re looking for, including an intuitive UI, built-in assessment and course authoring tools, social and adaptive learning capabilities, and automated course enrollment at an industrial scale. It also integrates with a variety of e-commerce services including Google Analytics to help you quantify the benefits of your association’s online learning program. Best of all, CourseStage is backed by outstanding customer service that feels more like an ongoing partnership than calling tech support, making it a great option for associations lacking technology expertise.

  11. D2L Brightspace
  12. D2L Brightspace is Craig Weiss’s top pick for the association market in 2021 for good reason. Powerful analytical tools allow you to show your members how each course will benefit them and then prove that their training had the desired effect. Learners can be assigned personalized courseloads and receive individualized feedback on their performance. Common course management tasks can be completely automated, and content templates deliver a consistent brand experience for in-person and remote learners alike. Brightspace offers all of the e-commerce features you would expect, and everything is backed by superlative customer service. If you’re looking for the best association LMS, it doesn’t get much better than this.

While the list above is accurate in a general sense, your association’s unique needs could change the rankings. As such, D2L may not be the right fit for you even if it is great for associations as a general rule. If you are interested in more personalized insight from Craig Weiss including unbiased reviews of multiple LMS solutions, create a free account on today!

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