Monthly Archives: March 2018

LMS Data – Spring 2018 Updates

Each spring and fall, one of our longest-running projects has been to take a periodic look at the LMSs used by higher education institutions in the US. Generally speaking, the fall results highlight LMS migrations made over the summer as schools roll out new systems in advance of each new school year. The spring results tend to show the decommissioning of legacy LMSs and surface pilots of new LMS systems.

This spring’s results highlight a continued trend towards market consolidation among Blackboard Learn, Instructure Canvas, Moodle, and D2L Brightspace. This data aligns with the conclusions of another recent report from the Instructional Technology Councils’s Distance Learning Survey which also discusses some of the underlying drivers of this trend. Similar to the results discussed in this report, our data also shows a decline in the number of institutions that we forecast are going to change LMSs during the next year. In other words, as a result of the significant shifts we’ve seen in previous years, the rate of change in US higher education LMS usage appears to be slowing as this market stabilizes.

Even given these conditions, the only clear winner this spring appears to be Instructure Canvas. Canvas continues to draw new customers away from every other major LMS. Though schools continue to adopt new installations of Blackboard Learn, Canvas, Moodle, Brightspace, and some smaller “other” LMSs, for the very first time only Canvas has experienced a net increase in installations. Every other major LMS experienced a net decline in its US higher education installed base. 

By the numbers, we continue to count institutions as reported in the US Department of Education’s IPEDS data source and consider each institution having more than 500 FTEs. We continue to remove institutions that have closed or ceased operations, a number that has now climbed past 150. The ANGEL LMS continues to be used by 3 lagging holdouts. Pearson LearningStudio, another LMS that has passed its end-of-life, continues to be used by a declining number of for-profit institutions. Sakai has continued to slowly fade, while Moodle’s decline appears to be slightly accelerating. D2L lost a few Brightspace institutions even as it gained a few new ones. And Blackboard still retains the top spot by a shrinking margin.