Monthly Archives: March 2016

LMS Data – Spring 2016 Updates

This complete data set is now available for a fee that helps to sustain these efforts.

Institutions are continuing to shift between LMSs at a steady pace, and considering that Blackboard has now shipped Learn SaaS/Ultra, ANGEL will reach its end-of-life in October, and Pearson has decided to exit the LMS space, we expect this trend to continue through this year.

To visualize the change over the past several years, let us consider the 3 LMSs with the biggest shifts: ANGEL, Blackboard Learn, and Canvas. Hover over this image to see the trend. (For fun, also compare the maps below to the ones in this post showing many of the WebCT LMSs in use in 2010.) While change always seems so painfully slow, it is clear that institutions are continuing to make big changes.

ANGEL + Canvas + Blackboard – 2013 end of year versus 2015 end of year (2000+ FTE)

For the first time, we are publishing numbers for all schools with greater than 500 FTE students and breaking Pearson out as a separate LMS. When institutions start migrating to Blackboard Learn Ultra, we intend to also break it out as well. Considering the additional schools added in this report compared to our last report, we see that Canvas (by student enrollments) has taken a commanding second place position to Blackboard Learn while Moodle remains in a solid second (by institutions). Blackboard’s share by institution, however, drops to only 31.9% even though it still has almost double the share by enrollments of its nearest competitor. Because of the recent shift in Blackboard’s partnership with Moodle, we also wanted to note that 22.9% of Moodle institutions listed in this data set are currently known to host with Moodlerooms.

LMS Data, Spring 2016, 500+ FTE

ANGEL institutions continue to migrate to alternate solutions, though 37 institutions still do not yet appear to be piloting or to have chosen a replacement LMS. For what it is worth, ANGEL institutions are migrating to other LMSs much more quickly than WebCT institutions did when faced with an end-of-life decision. This may be because LMS migration costs have decreased, and it is easier to do so now compared to 5 years ago.

ANGEL, 2013 versus 2015 (hover mouse over image)

Finally, Canvas’s numbers reflect not only net-new institutions and active pilots but also the removal of institutions who piloted Canvas and ultimately chose not to implement it. It is still the case that the majority of institutions that do pilot Canvas end up switching to it. Their growth continues to be in-line with recent trends.

Canvas, 2013 versus 2015 (hover mouse over image)

Praise for procurement pilots

Over the past several weeks, there have been a couple of really exciting articles highlighting new efforts to streamline and decrease the level of effort required to procure educational technology. (These are in addition to other recent coverage about the complexities involved with such.)

UNC has taken the approach of standing up a curated “app store” for all of their campuses. Their site appears to put a heavy emphasis on streamlining contract language across multiple vendors and finding best-in-class learning tools that can be used together rather than continuing to utilize “the monolithic collection of functionality that is the learning management system.” Negotiating legalese among multiple edtech vendors is a painful experience. Starting up-front with a standard contract kind of flips the usual model and should make signing on with these vendors much easier should they agree.

A separate pilot effort involving a wide variety of participants from several states (and K-12 districts) took a different approach. This effort wasn’t targeted specifically at learning tools and also included content repositories, library resources, shared wireless network access, student advising software, and even web-based e-mail/productivity software. Instead of focusing on negotiating contracts, they instead focused on negotiating trusted access to shared online resources through participation in a trusted federation.

Trusted federations such as those provided through InCommon offer an interesting complement to many of the integration mechanisms found within LMSs. Taking this approach turns “launches” into links, meaning that learning tools and resources are easier to share and bookmark outside of the LMS rather than having to rely on the LMS to intermediate configuration and access control.

At this time, there are almost 250 commercial vendors who offer products that support federated authentication through InCommon. If your organization is a member, the vendor you want to use is a member, and your organization’s technical staff configures the requisite identity management software, authentication and user provisioning just happen using an open standard called SAML and no end-user (i.e.: teacher, student, or instructional designer/content developer) configuration required.

We should seek to learn more from these pilots and applaud those involved for their efforts to improve the system by trying approaches that are novel and different. Great work.

-George Kroner (personal thoughts do not represent my employer’s)