3 Replies
Tammy Moore

The only one that fits the bill you want that I know of is Moodle. I have used it for 11 years in our project (online course co-op for home school families). 

See https://moodle.com/cloud/. It is run by the same people that make Moodle. It is designed for teachers that really just need it for their own students. There are limits, which is reasonable considering it is free. You can only have 50 students enrolled at a time. That should be plenty for most e-learning designer developers needs to get their feet wet with the LMS and even to have clients stop in to see progress on what you are working on for them. 

If you do find that you need more or want more freedom, you can host your own Moodle LMS on a server. We use GoDaddy for our project. We started out 11 years ago on shared hosting and outgrew that in a year. We used virtual dedicated servers through most of the last ten years. This year we moved up to a fully dedicated server (over 5,000 active K-12 students and parents accounts now). The point is that you can start small and inexpensive and move up as you need to. When we first started the project I really had very little experience with server-side or Moodle side tools. If I could figure it out, I think anyone can. 

If you just want to get your feet wet with Moodle just to take it for a spin, you can download a version that can run on your PC or Mac. These are designed for development and not for actual student or client use, but you can focus on trying the software out without needing to do anything more than download and follow a few prompts to install it. You can build sources right there and then upload them to a Moodle that really on the internet as far as student or client access goes. 

Moodle has a very active user community with a great mix of experts and newbies. That makes it easy to get up and rolling because everyone knows people run the full gamut of understanding Moodle and servers. When I post, I usually get an answer from the community within a day unless I ask something really esoteric.

There are many themes that you can select from and are easy to install and use. I like the BCU theme which is based on Bootstraps )responsive design theme). I really like that one. We still have a lot of front page work to finish up since our focus has been on rebuilding our courses to take advantage of the responsive theme and new question behaviors, but you can get a sense of what Moodle with BCU is like at our site - http://www.virtualhomeschoolgroup.org/. Try making your webpage thinner in various locations in the site. You will see that it detects the screen width and shuffles things around for a better Mobile experience. 

If you are looking to just get some experience with it all before jumping in, you are welcome to jump on in and learn from us. We are all volunteer course designers/developers, teachers, and whatever hat is needed here in the project. Most of our training activity runs in the summer, but we can still get you up to speed on the Moodle LMS.

Contact info - teacher.tammy.moore@gmail.com