LMS Pricing Options: 8 Models To Consider

LMS Pricing Options: 8 Models To Consider
Summary: The following article discusses 8 of the most popular pricing options that most Learning Management Systems use. Take your time to go through the entire article to discover which payment method is the one that suits your preferences and, more importantly, budget, the most.

LMS Pricing Options And The Best Models To Choose From

If you’re a student, a business person, an employee, or just an online user who’s trying to find the best solution for your unique needs and budget, you’ve come to the right place. In today’s article, we will discuss the various alternatives for LMS pricing. Unfortunately, finding the right one can be a tedious task considering that there are a lot of payment models out there.

1. One-Time Payment

This LMS pricing option is very simple, and it’s also a great way to start, especially in the case of passive courses (those learning programs that don’t add any extra value as time passes by). As a student, you will be required to pay only once, usually, before gaining access to the course’s materials. Hence, you must cover the cost of the program in order to be enrolled. Usually, once you pay the fee and gain access to those learning materials, you will be able to review them over and over again, as many times as you want, without paying additional costs.


  • This payment method is simple and easy to understand. What can be simpler than covering the fee of a course right from the start and then complete the course without going through the same process ever again?!
  • One-time payments are fast and convenient because you don’t have to spend time every month or on a regular basis to make this transaction like in the case of subscriptions.


  • The only materials you will have access to, are the ones of that specific course you enrolled in. After you complete the course, if you were satisfied with the way it worked, and you want to enroll in another program on the same platform, you will have to pay for the second course, separately. So, this type of payment works better when you only want to go through one single set of lectures.

2. Pay Per User

This is a free structure that involves paying for each individual who enrolls or uses the LMS. The system is normally cloud-based. In other words, the vendor has the full responsibility of their LMS platform which means that students will benefit more from free additional services. In other words, the host is required to upgrade and update the content as well as the platform on a regular basis.


  • This payment method allows you to benefit from courses that are hosted on platforms which are constantly improved and upgraded;
  • It works great for groups of students. For instance, if you’re a manager or a business owner and you want your entire team to complete a certain course, you can easily opt for pay-per-user programs because they are cost-effective.


  • As a downside, managers who want to enroll multiple staff members should think twice if the number of potential students is cost-effective because, after a certain point, the total price becomes a bit high.

3. Flat Recurring Payment

In this case, you, as a learner, may be required to cover a daily, monthly, or weekly fee. Some courses even have annual payments. The idea is the following one: the sum remains the same every time it recurs. If you have the possibility to choose this type of payment, you should only consider it when the program you’re about to enroll in is offering extra value on a regular basis. Two of the most common examples are webinars and coaching sessions.


  • Usually, flat recurring payments are supported by automatic processes which make them easy and convenient as well as time-saving;
  • Due to its characteristics, it suits plenty of different students, from individual learners to groups and companies’ employees;
  • As a learner, you will benefit from constant support from the developer;
  • This particular payment method is normally very secure.


  • You are forced to stick to the payment’s schedule because if you miss one, you might get kicked out of the program. In order to do that, you must be very organized and keep track of your previous payments.

4. Pay Per Registered User

This works for groups of companies that need to train their employees. You will have to pay a fee for each additional user you bring to the table. Also, you need to create an account with a login name and password for each user. Finally, you will only pay an extra cost for those new users who want to sing up to gain access to the LMS platform. It’s the ideal payment method for organizations.


  • It saves you a lot of time;
  • Learners will benefit from better customer support, not to mention that the registration is usually free;
  • The payment is made securely and conveniently;
  • You can benefit from early bird discounts;
  • The registration is customized to suit your needs.


  • If your company is a large one with hundreds or thousands of employees, the final cost of the training can get high.

5. Payment Plans

Payment plans are usually used together with single payments. Let’s say that course creators offer one-time payment plans of $500. In that case, they might include a 3-month payment option of only $350. This is a very good option for most learners because they will pay a lower monthly cost. Even if there’s no trial offer, learners will still gain lifetime access to all the materials.


  • Payment plans also work as relationship builders which means users have higher chances of receiving multiple offers, reward points, perks, etc.;
  • It’s convenient and time-saving;
  • You won’t have to worry about missing a payment because most payment plans work automatically so your credit card will be charged on a monthly or annual basis;
  • Payment plans are safer, and they present lower risks of identity theft.


  • You must pay attention to how trustworthy an eLearning platform is because there might be some vendors who use payment plans as a sneaky tactic to charge money without actually providing anything in return;
  • Sometimes this type of payment can lead to errors and mistakes when it comes to what you have paid and due dates;
  • You must always have enough money on your credit card to cover all those regular automatic payments;
  • Canceling payment plans can sometimes be tricky and time-consuming.

6. Pay Per Active User

This option works for groups of learners, and it’s an economical payment alternative for the clients because they will only have to pay for those users who are active on the LMS. Normally, there are two approaches when it comes to the pay-per-active-user system. The first one refers to be charged for every single user who logs in during the billing cycle. Once they get on the platform, these users will be able to browse through the whole training course catalog without any additional costs. The second approach refers to fee charges made for each active user on a monthly basis.


  • If you’re a company that wants to enroll multiple employees in a certain training program, you will only be charged for active users which means this method won’t waste any money on unused accounts;
  • The risk of an extensive adoption is lowered. This billing option encourages companies to take more risks when it comes to online employee training.


  • This method might not be effective in the case of small and medium businesses because these companies have small teams and tight budgets.

7. Free With Membership

This LMS pricing alternative is commonly applied for online classes that are marketed individually. These programs are part of membership along with other courses as well as other non-LMS content like web pages and posts. The simplest example is one of a platform where educational programs can be grouped and sold in one single membership. All the lectures can be accessed free of charge as long as you buy the membership.


  • Most online users opt for this type of payment because it gives them a sense of security and familiarity as well as convenience;
  • The free access to all classes definitely entices many people to enroll in a course;
  • Clients benefit from updated fresh content that’s being uploaded all the time.


  • It can be a tad confusing for some people because there’s the word “free” in the method’s name but the course isn’t actually free of charge. You need to become a member to gain access to the program which some people might not like.

8. Members Only Pricing

The member-only pricing method should be used when online training is available for sale only to those users who are already members of a subscription program. Usually, members-only type of payments are marketed at a higher cost for outsiders while for those who are already subscribed, the host might provide significant discounts, price offers, and gifts in the form of eBooks, etc.


  • Members-only pricing has a lot of benefits for the customers. Users will enjoy plenty of perks, promotional offers, and other important things that aren’t available all over the internet. In fact, some of the platform’s courses might only be seen by actual subscribers;
  • Members can unlock exclusive rates and use certain online tools that are available only for him or her.


  • This payment option works great for members while one-time visitors will encounter plenty of restrictions.

Bottom Line

Before thinking about what pricing model to choose, you should ask questions regarding value. If a course or a program adds value on a regular basis, then the best alternative is one of the recurring models. On the other hand, if you’re afraid of taking risks, and you need to first see how well a course or platform works for you, a trial version should be your chosen alternative. Regardless of what your decision is, we would like to know your thoughts and opinion about the pricing alternatives presented today.