Previous LMS For Schools Moving to Canvas in US and Canada

During the most recent quarterly earnings call for Instructure, an analyst asked an interesting question (despite starting off from the Chris Farley Show format).

Corey Greendale (First Analysis Securities Corporation):  Awesome. A couple of other things on the, primarily on the Higher Ed space but I guess on education space, there’s a whole lot of couple questions about the competitive environment. When you’re and I don’t know if you will ever get into this level of granularity but when you got competitive wins against the Blackboard, are those predominantly from legacy ANGEL, are you getting those wins as much from Learn as well.

Josh Coates (CEO of Instructure):  A lot of them are from Learn. Most, you know I don’t have the stats right off the top of my head. A lot of the ANGEL and WebCT stuff is been mopped up in the previous years and so, what’s left the majority of what’s left is Learn and our win rate against Blackboard it continues to be incredibly high, not just domestically but internationally as well.

In fact, I think most of three out of the four international schools that we announced in this earnings where Blackboard Learn replacements, so yes Learn’s getting it.

The question gets to the issue of whether Canvas is just picking up higher education clients coming off of discontinued LMSs (Angel, WebCT, etc) or if they are picking up clients from ongoing platforms such as Blackboard Learn. Beyond the obvious interest of investors and other ed tech vendors, this issue in general affects higher education institutions going through a vendor selection – for the system in consideration, are there many other schools considering the same migration path?

Thanks to the work we’ve been doing with LISTedTECH and our new subscription service, we can answer this question in a little more detail. One of the charts we share shows higher education migrations over the past five years in the US and Canada. Continue reading

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What Homework and Adaptive Platforms Are (and Aren’t) Good For

I was delighted that we are able to publish Mike Caulfield’s post on how ed tech gets personalization backwards, partly because Mike is such a unique and inventive thinker, but also because he provided such a great example of how “personalized learning” teaching techniques are different than adaptive content and other product capabilities.

The heart of his post is two stories about teachable moments he had with his daughters. In one, he helped his middle school-aged daughter understand why an Iranian author was worried that people in the Western world have harmful stereotypes of Iranians. In the other, he helped his high school aged-daughter see how her knowledge of the history of rocket science could be useful in answering a question she was asked about Churchill’s Iron Curtain speech. Mike’s stories show truly significant learning of the kind that changes students perspectives and, if we’re lucky, their lives. It is not just personalized but deeply personal. He was able to reach his daughters because he understood them as humans, well beyond the boundaries of a list of competencies they had or had not mastered within the disciplines they were studying.

For now and the foreseeable future, no robot tutor in the sky is going to be able to take Mike’s place in those conversations. This is the kind of personal teaching that humans are good at and robots are not. But neither are the tools we have today useless for this sort of teaching. Vendors, administrators, and faculty alike have broadly misunderstood their role and potential. In this post, I’m going to talk about both how these tools are useful for the kind of education that Mike cares about (and I care about) as well as, perhaps more importantly, why we are so prone to getting that role wrong.

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Posted in Tools, Toys, and Technology (Oh my!) | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Our LMS Subscription is Available Today

Today we are pleased to announce that our LMS subscription service is available for purchase. As promised, we have kept the promotion on the blog to a minimum, providing details instead to people who specifically sign up for the mailing list. But since today is the big unveiling, it seems appropriate to tell you all a little bit about it and what it means for where we are going with the blog and our work.

The subscription is called “e-Literate Big Picture: LMS.” As you might guess from the title, there will be other “e-Literate Big Picture” subscriptions. Each of these will provide regular updates and in-depth analysis that go beyond the free analysis that we will continue to provide here on the blog, focused particularly on helping campuses make good decisions about how to evaluate, acquire, implement, and support educational technology in ways that will have the most positive impact for students and faculty. They will extend the work of the blog with analysis that is more actionable.

In the case of this first subscription, we have been able to augment our analysis of the LMS  market with data and analytics support from our partner LISTedTECH. Their database contains information on LMS selections of more than 4,000 colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada, plus thousands of more worldwide. The database goes well beyond who is using which LMS today, as it also contains information on LMS migrations (decommission, implementations, pilots, etc) over the last 15 years. This information has given us an unprecedented chance to both test hypotheses we’ve had about the LMS market as well as form new ones. The bottom line is that we have gained insights into how the LMS market is changing that we believe are new. Continue reading

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We Have Personalization Backwards

[Note – an earlier version of the first half of this post was first published at Mike’s Hapgood site. We asked him to make some alterations for the e-Literate audience and republish here. – ed]

Indie Rock and Donald Trump

I drive my oldest daughter to high school every day. She goes to a magnet STEM school in the district that’s on the campus where I work. I’ve been brainwashing her into liking indie rock one car ride at a time using carefully planned mix CDs.

Last week she tells me I need to put more Magnetic Fields songs in the mix. Why? I ask.

“Physics homework.” she says.

It turns out that there’s a number of principles of physics that she remembers through a complex set of associations she’s developed referencing indie rock songs. I don’t pretend to get them all, but the 69 Love Songs hit “Meaningless” plays an apparently crucial role.

Later that day, my youngest daughter is asking me about the book Persepolis, a book about growing up Iranian during and after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The author of that book spends the preface talking about the reasons she wrote it, and how she felt the understanding of her native country of Iran was too narrow, and in a way, too exotic. My daughter tells me that she doesn’t quite get what the author is talking about. After all, there’s a lot of fundamentalism in the early parts of the book — and people really are in a revolution in 1978, so what are we getting wrong in the West?

I know that this daughter, a middle schooler, has had some stress about Donald Trump. She has people in her class who like him, and she can’t understand why when he’s so mean. It worries her.

I ask her if Trump gets elected, how would she feel if everyone assumed all Americans were like Donald Trump. Well, we wouldn’t be, she says.

Oh, she says.

We Have Personalization Backwards

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Posted in Higher Education, Notable Posts, Openness, Tools, Toys, and Technology (Oh my!) | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

The Battle for “Personalized Learning”


So here we go again. Another terminology war. First there was the battle for open. Then the battle for MOOCs. Somewhere in there was the battle for edupunk.

I stay out of terminology wars because, even though they are often about very real and important issues, the emphasis on finding a single correct definition tends to distract rather than focus the conversation.

It’s a different with “personalized learning” because there is no fight over its meaning right now. Rather, it seems to have no specific meaning at all. Sometimes it is used interchangeably with “adaptive learning.” But not always. And not exactly. More often it means, roughly, “robot tutor in the sky.” Shorter version: “WHEEEEEE!!!” Or maybe, “Wingardium leviosa!”


Phil and I have decided to claim this prime piece of linguistic real estate. We are asserting squatters’ rights.

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