Features, roadmap and support offerings are all essential considerations when selecting an LMS. But none of that will matter if it’s priced out of budget. Regarding LMS pricing, the published number doesn’t always give you the full picture. Rates may vary based on feature add-ons, access to support and learner usage, so it’s important that you come into these pricing conversations with comprehensive knowledge of how pricing works.
Let’s start by looking at the three most common types of LMS pricing models.
The pay-per-learning pricing model means you’ll pay a fixed price based on the number of learners you have in your academy. So, if the LMS charges $5 per learner and you have 200 of them, you’d pay $1,000 a month.
Paying per learner provides budget stability since you know precisely how much you'll pay over the course of the year, which can be especially helpful when trying to get leadership buy-in.
The downside is that you may be paying for inactive learners.
Per Active Learner
If you’re spending on a per-active-learner basis, you’re only paying for people who are actively using the technology. Using the same example as above, if only 150 of those 200 people are logging in, you’ll pay $750 a month.
This pricing model is great for teams wanting to use an LMS to educate their customer base or other groups that aren't "guaranteed" to learn.
While they hope everyone they invite to the LMS starts using it to learn, the reality is that only a subset will. Paying per active learner prevents you from paying for the people who don’t use the technology.
This is great for companies with large or constantly growing customer bases or teams that are using the LMS for a single use case, like a one-time onboarding program.
As You Go
The "as-you-go" pricing model means you'll pay based on your use of the technology.
If you're using the LMS a lot, you'll pay more. If you don’t use it at all, you won’t pay anything.
This pricing model can appeal to new teams who are still building a foundation and don’t want to pay for the bells and whistles they don’t need.
Paying a licensing fee means you pay the LMS vendor, like Northpass, a set (often annual) fee and you take the reigns — at least most of them. Sometimes, this is called flat-rate pricing.
LMS vendors will often present it in a few different ways regarding a licensing fee. An all-inclusive model will give you access to the full suite of features and services, while a packaged LMS pricing model offers different rates for different feature bundles. This is also called tiered pricing.