Monthly Archives: March 2017

LMS Data – Spring 2017 Updates

The Spring 2017 LMS data set referenced in this post is available for purchase.

Spring has come early this year, and so too has our spring 2017 LMS market share update. Our goal remains to be the best source of current data for institutional Learning Management System usage for US colleges and universities. LMSs used by individual instructors or for individual courses are not counted. We include pilot servers in our numbers but not sales demo environments. Where multiple LMSs are detected to be in use, a team of analysts reviews publicly available help desk knowledge base articles, RFP documentation, student newspapers, social media, and other publicly-verifiable sources to inform how we count each LMS. When a school definitively stops using a LMS to teach classes, we remove it. We have also removed over 100 colleges and universities from our data set that have ceased operations over the past year. For-profit schools (notably those accredited by ACICS) and smaller schools are disproportionately affected.


Since last fall, the most significant overall trend is that fewer schools are running multiple LMSs. This continues the trend of consolidation first noted in our Fall 2016 report. For a period of time, the number of schools running multiple LMSs appeared to be increasing, and we now believe this was because many schools chose to run two LMSs in parallel while migrating from one to another. We are now seeing switch-overs that happen more quickly than in previous years and a more-rapid decommissioning of legacy LMSs.


There are now only 16 unique ANGEL installations in our data set accounting for 34 schools. Penn State is the largest remaining multi-campus ANGEL environment and will fully support ANGEL through summer 2017 after which the school will standardize on Canvas. Almost all schools still running ANGEL have a clearly identified replacement LMS at this time.

Blackboard Learn

For a period of time, schools migrating from ANGEL to Blackboard Learn (following Blackboard’s 2009 acquisition of ANGEL) steadily increased the total number of schools using Learn. This trend is now coming to an end. Because of this, and the shutting down of Learn environments following prolonged migrations during which 2 LMSs were run in parallel, there is a noticeable drop in the number of schools running Learn for this update.

One encouraging trend for Blackboard is that over 50 schools are now running Blackboard Learn SaaS – up from only 7 during our last update. Blackboard Learn SaaS runs on Amazon AWS infrastructure and is the only version of Learn for which the new, Ultra user interface/experience is available.

D2L Brightspace

D2L continues to have a steady and ever-so-slightly-growing presence with its Brightspace learning platform. Save only a handful of self-hosted schools, almost their entire customer base is now running the latest versions of its product. There has been tremendous progress made in this regard over the past year.

Instructure Canvas

During this past quarter, Canvas has definitively become the #2 LMS in US higher education, overtaking Moodle in terms of both number of institutions and student enrollments. Incredibly, the organization has even slightly increased its rate of new adoptions when comparing data over the past year.


Moodle experienced an unexpected drop in institutions since last fall. Of those schools that switched LMSs from Moodle to a different LMS, 1/3 were hosting with a Moodle partner, and 2/3 were self-hosted. 2/3 migrated to Canvas, 7% each to Brightspace and Blackboard Learn, and 2 institutions ceased operating. Several schools consolidated from multiple LMSs to standardize on one LMS and discontinued Moodle as a supported option.

Despite this finding, there are still schools that are switching in the direction of Moodle. Bramson ORT College, for example, appears to have become the first institution in our data set to use the new MoodleCloud hosting option offered through the Moodle organization, having switched from self-hosted Blackboard Learn.


Sakai’s institution base has shrunk to its lowest level yet. However, most remaining schools seem to be committed to the product based on the version numbers in use; they reflect some of the most recent Sakai versions released. Of colleges who switch from Sakai to another LMS, California-based universities, and in particular those using the Sakai-powered Etudes LMS, are currently most correlated with switches to Canvas.

Pearson LearningStudio

Pearson continues a rapid and responsible exit as a LMS vendor with most schools continuing to switch to either Brightspace or Canvas.

Other LMSs

Most new usage of “other” LMSs has come from smaller schools switching to or standardizing on the Jenzabar eLearning LMS that is integrated with their SIS solution. The newest entrant that we’ve seen in our data set is NEO LMS which in this update replaced a Moodle installation, formerly hosted by The Learning House, at Iowa Wesleyan.