Moodle, Beware Canvas! 20-Year Perspective In The US & Canada Higher Ed LMS Marketplace

Moodle, Beware Canvas! 20-Year Perspective In The US & Canada Higher Ed LMS Marketplace | Años de Dominio Superior de Moodle en LMS de Código Abierto, Amenazados

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A steady expansion over the past years has made Canvas’ campaign the most effective in the race for domination of the American and Canadian Higher Education LMS markets, according to a report by MindWires and LISTedTECH. Phil Hill, analyst and consultant for e-Literate and MindWires, announced the release of the report along with a few additional observations.
This year, an additional effort was made to draw the evolution in market share since 1998 until now. Back then, Blackboard was battling it out with WebCT for the top spot, with a hotly contested 50 active LMS site implementations. See the “squid” chart below:
Moodle would enter the playing field in 2002, but a real “Open Source” revolution would only begin to unfold at the turn of the last decade with the introduction of Moodle-based Moodlerooms by Blackboard and the beginning of Canvas’ streak. Hill is the first to admit, however, that Canvas is not “open” in the same way Moodle is. Rather, it has an “Open Core” with full functionality under commercial licensing.
Despite the initial difficulty of understanding the chart’s perspective and units of measurement, it indicates the following ranking by the summer of 2017, according to either market share or number of installations:
  1. Blackboard
  2. Moodle
  3. Canvas
  4. Brightspace by D2L (formerly Desire2Learn)
  5. Sakai and others.
This year marks the end of the line for LearningStudio, Pearson’s LMS, as well as “homegrown” or “in-house” LMS developments, which apparently was a solo attempt by the University of Phoenix. On specific dynamics at play, Hill offers a few pointers:
  • Canvas has won the “Most new installations” honor every year since 2012. Considering its rate of adoption, and Moodle’s negative growth, Canvas’ advance to second place is all but confirmed.
  • Blackboard has kept steady, with a slight decline. It is unclear if the thick gray area in 2006 signals a peak year in market share or total installations. If history is any indications, a fresh wave of acquisitions by Blackboard looms near.
  • Within the “under 50 installations” category, Schoology is growing the most among lots of little LMS, none of which can be gauged from the chart.
The data processing and visualization are courtesy of MindWires, using datasets from the LISTedTECH subscription service up through April 2017. No information on data sources, quality, or methodologies is available at this time. Read the original release post.

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6 Responses

  1. I will have to look that up, but in any case they are not comparable. The platforms you mention deliver MOOCs or content online, and it would not make sense to measure them in terms of institutions.

    Moodle and other LMS are internal learning content repositories for universities, colleges and schools.
    Hope this helps.

  2. Thank you for your reply, Cristian.

    I agree that the data for the internal LMS college enrollments and the “MOOC LMSs” is not comparable in the data sets and tables from ( ) and ( 2013-2017)

    However as far back as 2013, the University of California System started accepting a limited number of Coursera courses for UC credit.

    Coursera’s Virtual College Courses Now Get You Real College Credit, For Under $200.

    More recently, edX has partnerships with Arizona State University and other colleges to accept college credit for edX courses.

    Can I receive college credit or credit hours for my (edX) course?

    Specifically, I am curious about growth of edX and Coursera college course credit awarded over the last four years. I’m not sure if this data exists, but I think it would be very relevant and related to credit hour growth data from the “internal LMSs” like Blackboard, Canvas, D2L, and Moodle.

    Hope that clarifies my inquiry.

  3. Agreed. It would be really interesting to do so, but I think it’s out of the scope of MindWires and LISTedTECH (which aren’t completely open with their methodologies, for starters). The unit of measurement would have to be a lot more granular, as it would have to go beyond enrolled users. Maybe something like “academic credit per user.” FWIW having some numbers, even if they’re just raw estimates, about the total Higher Ed academic credits students have earned nationwide, would be amazing!

    And still, credits would not make up for all LMS have to offer. I imagine an extreme scenario where every academic credit was obtained through a Coursera, edX, etc. Many, if not most would probably still have an LMS in place to track and store grades, competencies, frameworks, learning plans…

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