OLAT - Online Learning And Training

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OLAT is the acronym for Online Learning And Training. It is a web application - a so called Learning Management System that supports any kind of online learning, teaching, and tutoring with little didactical restrictions. OLAT is free software/open source, and has been developed since 1999 at the University of Zürich and won the MeDiDa-Prix in the year 2000. With version 3.0 the system has been completely rebuilt and is now available as a component oriented application developed in the Java programming language. OLAT has support for various E-learning standards such as IMS Content Packaging, IMS QTI and SCORM.

OLAT features

OLAT has a lot of features typical for e-learning platforms:

  • Content managing
  • Forums
  • File discussions
  • Quizzes with different kinds of questions
  • Wikis
  • Surveys
  • Chat
  • Submission module (for exercises)
  • Grading module
  • Time marker for video data
  • Multi-language support (OLAT is multilingual (full support for UTF-8 and the following languages: German, English, French, Italian, Spanish, Czech, Danish, Greek, Polish, Chinese, Lithuanian, Persian, Portuguese and Russian), and integrates the instant messaging system Jabber to support the synchronous communication processes and to extend the users' awareness.)

Current status and future development

As the strategic LMS of the University of Zürich OLAT is continuously being developed. In the meanwhile OLAT gains more and more attention, especially within the European higher education market. OLAT has very similar goals compared to the Sakai Project but compared to the American initiative it has a much longer development phase and it has been successfully in production for several years. OLAT has been developed from the beginning to support campus wide E-learning and can be compared to commercial tools like WebCT Vista.

OLAT is a mature LMS being used to support Universities with thousands of users (f.e. University of Zurich: approx. 40'000, Bildungsportal Sachsen (under the name of OPAL) approx. 30'000).


  • OLAT currently has the highest rating on the UNESCO open source portal in the courseware section.
  • OLAT won the MedidaPrix 2000, which is the most important e-learning award in the German language area (Austria, Germany, & Switzerland).


OLAT runs without modification on Unix, Linux, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, Windows, Mac OS X .

The requirements for OLAT are basically:

  • Java SDK
  • Tomcat Servlet Engine
  • Database such as MySQL or PostgreSQL
  • Ant for developers and installing from source

The project was initiated in 1999 but later rebuilt using Java and released as Open Source in 2004.

The current version of OLAT is version 6.0.

Official OLAT resources

Commercial support