Europe Report: Moodle Market Share Leader Almost Everywhere

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Updated in 2020: While the dominant market share of Moodle remains true, the shares might show variations since 2016, the last time the source updated its report. Check out a by-country breakdown:

Europe Report: Moodle™ Market Share Leader Almost Everywhere

Original, 2016 report:

Self-described “craft-oriented educational technology consulting practice” MindWires is releasing their Fall 2016 Report on European LMS Market Dynamics. Spoiler alert: Moodle’s share remains in optimal shape,  but its future dominance could be in question.

With this release, MindWires heads Phil Hill and Michael Feldstein are looking to fill a void in LMS market reporting, which too often focuses on the anglophone world. Coupled with the difficulties in reporting usage of Moodle accurately, dismissing the movements outside of non-G10 Europe “can be misleading when forecasting the roadmaps and future states of various LMS solutions.” At least, the present report serves as basis for triangulation with other market studies.

While Europe does not behave like a unified market, this does not preclude the appearance of patterns. Many countries feature local LMS vendors, some sharing leadership with Moodle. Most of them are Open Source (except notable Norwegian Itslearning), which is evidence of the industry’s undisputed relationship across the Old Continent.


Moodle accounts for 65% of existing installations, tripling the 12% of second place Blackboard. Illias and Sakai follow with 4 and 3%. The rest is copped by a handful of players and combinations of implementations. Canvas shows a 2% share and D2L less than 1%. This dominance can be explained by their prominence in Europe’s largest economies: Germany, UK, France. Leadership of other LMS occurs in smaller playing fields.

Historical comparisons reveal that Moodle’s share has not increased since it plateaued at 65% in 2014. After a drop from 16% in 2011, its highest, to 14% by 2013, Blackboard has kept stable in second. As the only growth detected was Canvas’ discreet gain of 1% of the market in two years, this behavior signals a point of saturation. All potential LMS customers have already materialized, or so it would seem in the absence of financials.

Going through individual nations, the landscape is varied. Moodle leads everywhere it was measured except in Norway and the Netherlands. Out of 14 countries, it possesses at least half the market in 10: Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.

The report does not include the actual percentages. Best standings by LMS other than Moodle and Blackboard are shown below, and unless otherwise noted, occur in their country of origin:

  • USA’s Blackboard, #1 in the Netherlands.
  • Itslearning, #1 in Norway.
  • Olat, #2 in Switzerland. (Open Source, maintained by the University of Zurich.)
  • Ilias, #2 in Germany. (Open Source.)
  • Claroline, #2 in France. (Open Source.)
  • USA’s Sakai, #2 in Spain and Portugal. (Open Source.)
  • Australian Canvas, #3 in Denmark and the Netherlands.
  • Stud.IP, #3 in Germany. (Open Source.)
  • Canadian D2L Brightspace, #3 in Ireland.

In addition to the Netherlands, Blackboard Learn shows strong numbers in Denmark and Sweden with a solid second place in the former but a hotly disputed idem in the latter against Itslearning, a contender in there, Denmark (4th) and Finland (2nd). Sakai’s presence is also notable in Sweden (5th) and Denmark (6th), perhaps the most evenly contested markets; as well as Ireland (4th). Claroline exists on the trenches of Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Norway. D2L ranks sixth in France. Share of Olat, Stud.IP and Ilias outside their countries of origin is negligible, but contribute to the 77% share of Open Source solutions continent-wide.


Things are not exactly as bright for Moodle of the future, and numbers for new installations show a more exciting landscape to come. While Blackboard’s new installations are in freefall, Canvas is showing double-digit growth in the last three years. Itslearning and D2L are also growing. All increasing shares in new installations eat up from Moodle’s cut, which in 2016 took 53% of new installations. An impressive number if not for the fact that it is its worst performance since 2005 and far from the 80% peak in 2012.

Complementary tendencies offered by the report include:

  • Average age of LMS. an interesting number but possibly a confusing one. Canvas and D2L show a young age, signalling early adoption that lowers their average, but also a risky standing. GUNET eClass and Homegrown boast 15.9 and 9.8 years per installation, and no market share to speak of. Industry average is 7.3 years.
  • Cloud I: vendor hosting. Growth of cloud-based services follows the world’s trend, except when Open Source. With Moodle there should be a disclaimer: the Partners, some of which offer all-encompassing solutions. 7 out of 8 LMS implementations take place in the cloud. Denmark and Norway are the exceptions where self-hosting is the rule, a showing not expected to last.
  • Cloud II: datacenter law. Europe requires cloud providers to have servers within its geography. This affects US and Australian LMS the most. Blackboard does maintain some infrastructure in Europe; compliance with regulation, however, is all but unclear.
  • The rise of the consortia. To lower bureaucratic burdens, leagues of institutions who procure LMS in bulk have been a tradition in Europe, which is starting to spread. It is unclear who benefits and loses from this.

Sources and methodology

Information on LMS usage was provided to MindWires’ e-Literate Big Picture subscription service by intelligencer LISTedTECH, who produced 1,604 subjects. They consist of higher education institutions in 14 European countries. According to e-Literate, LISTedTECH validates its data at the source. This implies e-Literate does not perform additional data quality tests.

All numbers are calculated yearly. No number of installations by LMS by country are included in the report. No accounting of user volumes (numbers of students) was available either.

The study, claimed as the “first independent market analysis for this region“, is available for download with CC-BY license as a PDF file.

Are you involved with European LMS? Does the Report hold in your personal experience

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