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Why Open Edx is One of the Best Canvas Alternatives in LMS World

Why Open Edx is One of the Best Canvas Alternatives in LMS World

Canvas is one of the most popular LMS systems in the world. And we are not pleading for its merits and advantages. However, what if we tell you that there is a worthy competitor in the form of Open edX? This article will compare these two online learning giants against each other and show you why Open edX is one of the best Canvas alternatives on the market. So, without further ado, let’s get started.

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Marketing Specialist, Raccoon Gang

Daria is the e-learning enthusiast with 6+ years of experience in Marketing. Holding the position of Digital Marketing Specialist at RG she explores trends and innovations in education.

Why Open Edx is One of the Best Canvas Alternatives in LMS World

What Canvas Is?

Canvas is an open-source LMS system for creating online classes and courses of varying complexity. The capabilities of the LMS system are used both in everyday learning in educational institutions and professional training in the workplace. This platform is available both on desktop and mobiles, which creates a seamless learning process. 

According to analysts, Canvas is used by 34% of US & Canadian higher education institutions by 2021. However, why is this platform so popular? It's all about the killer features of this learning management system.

Canvas Killer Features

This platform has several attractive trump cards up its sleeve, which are the primary sales drivers of this LMS.

Convenient learning organization

Canvas allows educators to organize online training faster thanks to a combination of three helpful tools: an informative Dashboard, a convenient view of the best courses, and a multifunctional Global navigation menu from which all the platform's functionality is available.

Flexible quizzes

This feature allows educators to assign different tests and quizzes to students while having flexible settings. For example, educators can give any passing grade to the test, set time frames (deadlines and time of passage), customize answer forms by making simple tests with three options for answers, and complex quizzes with detailed answers.

SpeedGrader

This feature makes it easy to check various attachments like Google Docs, Microsoft Office, PDF files, etc. Educators do not need to download files to their computer, review them and then send the checked version to the student. The entire check is carried out immediately in the browser as soon as the document is opened. In addition, the tool has the necessary features such as annotations, comments, strikethroughs, and so on.

Enhanced grade book

The grade book is an advanced version of the standard grade book with additional features to improve usability. For example, it is possible to add them via CSV files in addition to manually entering ratings. In addition, the full functionality is permeated with algorithms for memorizing actions, which, after a short time of use, allows the system to predict further steps of the user and reduce the number of clicks on routine tasks.

What Is Open edX?

So it's time to take a closer look at Canvas's main competitor and one of the best Canvas alternatives: The Open edX platform

Open edX is the pride of Harvard University and MIT and is an open-source learning management system. The main goal of this platform is to meet the educational design needs of various organizations to create an engaging experience by combining cutting-edge technology and different types of learning. The flexibility of Open edX allows you to integrate multiple third-party systems into LMS, such as SCORM, LTI, iFrame, and many others.

The popularity of this platform is genuinely enormous because for over the nine years of its existence, Open edX has served more than 30 million learners. Such a result would have been impossible to achieve if this platform did not stand out for its unique features and advantages, making it one of the best Canvas alternatives on the market. And now is the time to talk about them.

Open edX Killer Features.

This LMS has incorporated everything necessary so that any user who needs to create advanced online training can easily create a course of any complexity right out of the box.

Open Edx features

 

Wide choice of content types

Open edX encourages creativity in creating online courses and offers a wide range of content to embody any ideas of educators. The following types of content are provided for users to choose from:

In addition, it is worth keeping in mind that thanks to the open-source core, the number of content types can be expanded if you delve into the development of custom solutions for this platform.

Multifunctional instructor interface

The platform provides instructors with maximum control over online training through an advanced interface that contains all the necessary functionality:

  • Creating a course structure (3 levels to choose from)

  • Manage enrollment rules (access settings, prerequisites, enrollment options, course dates)

  • Grading policy management (conditions for completing the course, types of grades and their impact on the final grade of the course, etc.)

  • Enrollment and graduation of students.

  • Content management within the course (adding, grouping, etc.)

  • Managing course visual content

  • Certificate issuance management

  • Managing course monetization

  • Tracking student progress

  • Detailed reporting

And as we said earlier, this list can be expanded if you have the technical knowledge or an experienced development team.

Social learning features

One of the benefits of Open edX is the encouragement of social learning, a reasonably familiar learning format for all of us. Using this LMS, you can quickly diversify your course by introducing such social methods as:

  • Polls and surveys. An ideal way to find out exactly what your students want and get answers to their questions.

  • Online discussions. Topics not only need to be memorized but also discussed. You can easily create an online discussion for multiple students, thus diversifying the learning experience.

  • Group tasks. Group assignments encourage teamwork and help students better understand what they have learned.

Detailed reporting

This feature is hard to underestimate and makes Open edX one of the best Canvas alternatives out there. Reports are the backbone of successful online learning, and with Open edX, you can get the most out of your reporting. The platform has various analytical reports in its arsenal to determine student success, grades in each subject, and much more. All this helps to assess the effectiveness of the course and improve its weaknesses to maximize the usefulness of online learning.

Various minor advantages

Open Edx still has many things up its sleeve that make this platform the ultimate online learning solution. Among them:

  • Gamification support. Game elements during training significantly increase the engagement and efficiency of the process. Open Edx supports the implementation of various elements like leaderboards, quizzes, achievements, and more.

  • Mobile learning. Open Edx has a. mobile application that allows students to study anywhere, anytime.

  • Limitless customization. In addition to implementing custom features, the platform allows you to tailor the interface specifically for your needs.

Open edX vs. Canvas

So, we figured out in detail the insides of these two LMS platforms and know their strengths. It's time to compare them to clearly understand why Open edX is one of the best Canvas alternatives on the market.

Criteria Canvas Open edX
Price

Free for teachers
Individual plans for educational institutions (under NDA)

Completely free
User-friendliness Easy to learn

Easy to learn

Advanced customization requires tech knowledge

Customization Custom features + third-party integrations Custom features + interface + third-party integrations
Customer and community support Standart (official website forums, FAQ, vendor support) Advanced (official website forums, unofficial forums, real-time chats with developers, educators, and other users)
Features Basic LMS features tailored for small and medium classes + ability to add custom features Basic LMS features tailored for any eLearning needs + Advanced (gamification support, content authoring, etc.) + ability to add custom features
Platforms Desktop + mobile + Web Web + mobile

Why Open edX Is a Superior Choice

How else do you know that Open edX is one of the best Canvas alternatives? The answer is simple: Compare this platform with other LMS platforms. We decided to look over two more popular LMS platforms to ensure that Open edX is superior to them.

Open edX vs. Moodle

We decided to take a look at Moodle first. It is another open-source platform that currently holds 18% of the US market.

Criteria Moodle Open edX
Price

Starter plan: 55$ per year 
Mini plan: 175$ per year 
Small plan: 350$ per year 
Medium plan: 700$ per year

Completely free
User-friendliness Medium learning curve

Easy to learn
Advanced customization requires tech knowledge

Customization Custom features + interface + third-party integrations Custom features + interface + third-party integrations
Customer and community support Standart (official website forums, FAQ, vendor support, Moodle Partner) Advanced (official website forums, unofficial forums, real-time chats with developers, educators, and other users)
Features Basic LMS features tailored for small and medium classes + ability to add custom features Basic LMS features tailored for any eLearning needs + Advanced (gamification support, content authoring, etc.) + ability to add custom features
Platforms Desktop + mobile + Web Web + mobile

Open edX vs. TalentLMS

Another popular platform that will face Open edX is the TalentLMS, which is currently used by more than 1,500 websites.

Criteria TalentLMS Open edX
Price

Free limited plan + paid plans:
- $59/month
- $129/month
- $249/month
- $429/month

Completely free
User-friendliness Easy to learn

Easy to learn
Advanced customization requires tech knowledge

Customization Limited to vendor’s capabilities Custom features + interface + third-party integrations
Customer and community support Standart (FAQ, vendor support, Moodle Partner) Advanced (official website forums, unofficial forums, real-time chats with developers, educators, and other users)
Features Basic LMS features tailored for small and medium classes Basic LMS features tailored for any eLearning needs + Advanced (gamification support, content authoring, etc.) + ability to add custom features
Platforms Desktop + mobile + Web Web + mobile

Wrapping Up

So, in this article, we have compared several popular platforms to identify the best Canvas alternatives on the market. And according to the results of comparisons, the Open edX platform turned out to be the best alternative. We are by no means pleading for the benefits of other platforms, but Open edX is a highly flexible and accessible platform that can be tailored for any online learning need. All you need is to have a team of specialists like us on hand.

Raccoon Gang is a team that knows the Open edX platform inside out and has been developing custom eLearning solutions based on it for many years. Our range of services includes developing online courses, custom modules, audit, consulting, and much more. And if you decide to use Open edX as one of the Canvas alternatives, we will be happy to help you get comfortable with the new platform and bring your ideas to life. So drop us a line, and our representatives will contact you to answer all your questions.

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