Absorb LMS vs Cornerstone on Demand – Which is Best?

Absorb and Cornerstone are two of the biggest learning management systems currently available. So, it’s no surprise that users often compare the two and don’t really know how to decide between them.

For the most part, they offer the same features, and they’re both there to provide the same service – to help make elearning easier for employees, students and whoever else is in need of an easy way to learn on demand.

But between them, is it possible to differentiate the two and decide which one is better than the other, as least for your own personal circumstance? Well, I’m going to try and give you the benefits and negatives of both learning management systems so that you can make an informed decision for yourself.

Absorb LMS vs Cornerstone on Demand


If you’re looking for something with a user friendly interface for both students and administrators, then Absorb might be a good choice. Their LMS is great for large companies and institutions, as it can easily cope with high volumes of employees or students.

If you have more than 20,000 users, then you’ll need to contact Absorb for a custom plan.


  • In terms of value for money, Absorb probably offers the one of the best options that you’ll find on the market. This is especially true for those that are looking for something that can cope with a lot of users – I’m talking tens of thousands.
  • Most companies are using Zoom nowadays. If you’re one of them, then it’s super easy to integrate Absorb with Zoom straight away with no hassle. This makes it very easy to link everything up with students or staff.


  • Absorb probably isn’t the best option for those looking for an LMS for a small company. It has some setup costs and it can be expensive – it pays if you’re using it for a medium or large company, but it’s not so great value if you’re a smaller sized company.
  • Like most big companies, Absorb outsource some of their customer service demands to other companies. Though I’ve never experienced it myself, I’ve heard of friends that have gotten an awful customer service rep that wasn’t helpful at all. Of course, you can ask to change this pretty easily.
  • Although it has got better recently, the finance reporting that you get from Absorb isn’t as in depth as what you’d find with other LMS’s.



  • For those looking for something that does the basics well, then Cornerstone is definitely going to be a good choice for you. It’s very intuitive to use even for those that aren’t tech savvy, so you will easily be able to have admins check users progress without having the spend a lot of time teaching them how to do so.
  • You can get a free trial with Cornerstone. This can help you make your own decision about the service before you go through with using it. As far as I’m aware, this isn’t currently possible with Absorb.


  • The main con that I have with Cornerstone is that for larger amounts of people, I don’t think the software works as well. For example, it’s very easy to group certain users together, however once they are grouped together it is really difficult to edit them.
  • Another criticism of Cornerstone is that everything seems to just be a little harder work than it should be. If you want to find out the progress or results of something, you have to click through several different pages to see them. In Absorb, this is only two clicks away, whereas with Cornerstone it takes more. That might seem picky, but you’d understand if you was scrolling through learning management system creating courses all day!


Overall, both Cornerstone and Absorb offer a great learning management system and there’s not a great deal that you can criticize about either.

However, for most people I do think that Absorb is going to be the better choice of the two. However if you’re looking for an LMS, then you’re probably going to want to check out my list of the best learning management systems beforehand, because there are a few more in there that you will want to consider. So, although there isn’t much between the two in my opinion, Absorb is the (slightly) better option of the two.

About Sarah White

Best Learning Management System

Should Kids Have Less Homework? – A Teacher’s Response