Over the past ten or fifteen years that eLearning has been around, many amazing learning management systems have come forward both commercial and not. One of the first that I used was WebCT, which was created right in my own back yard here in Vancouver, Canada by UBC. It was originally free for learning institutions and cost for commercial/profit organizations.
It was created for the university and it ‘s students and faculty and quickly became a popular software force in the elearning community. Later it was purchased and made more commercial. I had used it for a company I worked for but then became too expensive to make it viable.
Once I started working with smaller to medium sized companies, I realized there were some very good open source learning management systems out there that provided all or most of the features of the commercial ones. Many were also created by universities that wanted something specific for their needs and preferred to create it versus buy it.
The open source community is vibrant and just googling open source LMS will find you many options. I have used Moodle and more often Atutor but there are many others. Most are free to download and install on your server so testing and tryouts are easy.
So before your organization spends major dollars on a commercial product look at open source options as well.
You may just find exactly what you are looking for, for the cost of a download and your server space. Which leads me to my last comment for this edition, make sure your write down exactly what it is you want your learning management system to do before you go looking, then you will be clearer about which one is for you.
More on that in another post.