Absorb LMS review

The learning platform to address business challenges

Absorb Review Hero
(Image: © Absorb)

TechRadar Verdict

The Absorb LMS is a learning platform that is business focused. It has numerous functions to better engage learners such as a social aspect, and custom certificates. While it has smartphone apps, the ratings are low, and the opaque pricing is frustrating, and ultimately expensive. Overall, while it has good basics, the execution misses the mark.


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    Business focused

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    Variety of content supported

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    Integrate in polls and surveys

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    Smartphone apps for iOS and Android


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    Opaque pricing

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    High cost

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    Apps poorly rated

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    Additional cost for higher tier support

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Based out of Calgary, in Alberta, Canada, Absorb focuses on serving small and medium business size customers. It indicates that it has honed its product to the highest standards and can be more responsive than other platforms as it can have learning up and running in days, rather than weeks.

Absorb has offices worldwide, with a presence in 34 countries, and 23.5 million users. Among its over 1,500 customers it counts Dale Canergie, The Gap, Johnson & Johnson and Global eTraining.


Absorb LMS offers a wide variety of features for both instructors and learners (Image credit: Absorb)


Absorb LMS is a learning management system that is cloud based. It has a number of features to better engage and educate.

One such feature is learner engagement. Absorb LMS has features to foster comprehension, and retention of knowledge. This starts with an interface that is intuitive for ease of navigation. There is a design that is innovative for both desktop and mobile platforms. A connection is fostered via a social connection as learners create social profiles, can rate courses and have a virtual interaction with other learners. Finally, a variety of content is supported, including documents, videos and webinars.

Completion of the learning is tracked, and then rewarded with the issuance of badges or certificates. These certificates can be custom designed, suitable for a download or print. These awards can be tracked and accessed from the transcript of the user. Learners are then able to even show off these awards on their social profile!

Another feature of Absorb is to engage learners and enhance their experience. Custom billboards can be created to “Feature courses and programs.” Leaderboards can also be used for the promotion of competition among learners. For further engagement, polls and surveys can be integrated into the experience. There is also the available function to engage learners further with your organization’s social media accounts. Learners can also be kept up to date with news articles to keep them up to date.


As Absorb markets itself as a business LMS, you'll need to contact the company directly for a custom quote (Image credit: Absorb)

Plans and pricing

Absorb takes the opaque route to pricing. On the site, potential customers need to provide their info, including an email and phone number, and a few simple questions on the potential use case. In turn, the company will contact them for a custom quote. There is no pricing on the Absorb website.

Searching around, we did find a ballpark for the pricing, but it may not be fully up to date. Realizing that, we still would consider Absorb to be one of the more expensive options in this space. A small business would need to purchase an $800 licensing fee, and then $16 for 12 months of use by each active learner. There is also an additional $3200 setup fee for training and support. For these prices, the content would be hosted by Absorb, and a custom website gets created. 

There are also other options, such as to have Absorb integrate into existing applications. Another option is for fully hosted pricing for up to 500 users at a cost of $14,500 on an annual basis. Finally, an upgraded support plan can be added for an additional cost, 


The Absorb LMS Help Desk contains a knowledgebase with some useful articles as well as a FAQ section (Image credit: Absorb)


Premium support is included, but an Elite plan goes for $5000, and an Enterprise plan has a cost of $25,000 annually. However, it is unclear what differentiates those plans.

For those looking for more basic support, there is the Absorb LMS Help Desk that has a number of resources that everyone can access. There is a section for announcements that folks can use to keep up to date with new developments with Absorb. There is also a Knowledge Base that has both informative articles, and FAQ’s. It is rather extensive, covering a wide range of topics, such as “User Acceptance testing,” “Configuring eCommerce,” and “Automation With Surveys” among the many articles. There is also a Community listed for discussion of topics around Absorb, but at this point it is more of a potential as it just indicates “Nothing to see here yet.”

Mobile App

Although Absorb offers mobile apps for both iOS and Android that allow for offline access, the company's apps have less than favorable user reviews (Image credit: Absorb)

User reviews

There are smartphone apps for both the iOS and the Android platforms, which is certainly nice to see. However, both are pretty low rated.

On the iOS Absorb Learning app, there are only 12 ratings, and the score is a low 2.6 out of 5 stars. Users have multiple issues, such as the app not working at all after an update, videos not playing, and random sign outs when using the app.

Over on the Google Play store, once again the Absorb learning app is low volume with only 11 ratings, and an almost as low score of 2.9 out of 5 stars. User complaints cover that it is easier to use the content on a computer, that in landscape mode that the titles occupy the majority of the screen obscuring the video, and that overall it is a “Terrible experience,” and that this company needs to better support the app.

Final verdict

Absorb LMS has plenty of the right features for a cloud based learning management system. We are impressed with the social media aspects, the custom certificates and awards, the well done help center, and the variety of content supported. However, other areas give us pause, which include the seriously glitchy apps, the opaque pricing (that is expensive with further research), and the higher cost for support beyond the basic. In our final analysis, while the functions are attractive, the whole is not greater than the sum of the parts, and potential users should carefully consider Absorb LMS among all of their options.

Jonas P. DeMuro

Jonas P. DeMuro is a freelance reviewer covering wireless networking hardware.