ITC Survey: Four trends to watch in LMS market for community colleges

The Instructional Technology Council (ITC), an affiliated council of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), has conducted a distance education survey since 2004 focusing on online education trends among community colleges in the US and Canada. With this focus, the member colleges tend to be those with a stronger interest in online education programs and therefore are more progressive in technology usage than the general community college population. One part of the ITC survey is on general LMS usage at member schools, and this provides another source of data on the higher ed LMS market.

The survey this year was based on 142 responses out of the 375 member institutions (39%), and there are a few caveats that should be noted:

  • Prior to 2012 the survey was emailed to all AACC colleges, but due to uneven responses the survey changed to just survey ITC colleges; and
  • “No answer” responses are not listed in percentages, thus totals will not always equal 100%.

Despite those caveats, “70 percent of the annual submissions have come from the same campuses during the nine years of the survey”, which means that it is worth exploring some broad trends for the LMS market for community colleges. Here is the data presented on LMS usage this year on page 15 (April 2014 report of Fall 2013 survey data):

Table 3

 

This data is a little confusing due to the Blackboard acquisition of WebCT in 2005 and ANGEL in 2009. The survey changed from listing ANGEL as its own LMS to being the same as Blackboard this year. For simplicity’s sake, I’ve combined Bb Learn, WebCT and ANGEL data into one category called “Blackboard”.

ITC LMS Market Share

 

Given the change in data collection (combining Blackboard solutions, changing listed LMS options, dropping the AACC mailing), I think it would be safer to concentrate on trends rather than absolute market share numbers. Here is a view of trend lines:

ITC LMS Trend Lines

 

With this data, there are four trends that seem important for the LMS market.

  • Despite the change in categories, Blackboard may be showing signs of organic market growth – taking customers away from competitors rather than just acquiring or retaining customers. Does this represent a change in Blackboard’s ongoing market share losses overall? I don’t think we can draw conclusions yet, but this is new data worth exploring (watch for Campus Computing Survey, Edutechnica, the next ITC survey).
  • Moodle and Canvas are consistently growing in the community college market – Canvas more so than Moodle. In the case of Moodle, the ITC survey shows fairly consistent growth since 2009 (the year Blackboard acquired ANGEL). In the case of Canvas, the ITC survey shows rapid growth over the past 2 years.
  • For the first time in an LMS market survey that I am aware of, Desire2Learn has actually lost market share. In fact, Desire2Learn is now lower than both Moodle and Canvas for community colleges according to this survey. This is a topic worth exploring further, especially in relation to last year’s layoffs.
  • If you look at the total responses, notice that the top 4 LMS solutions (Blackboard, Moodle, Canvas, Desire2Learn) accounted for 74% total in 2011 and 98.5% total in 2013. I asked the researchers, and they said the survey lists 15 different LMSs plus the ability to write-in, but that this year “the respondents reported a much more narrow number of LMS solutions”.

Update (5/6): George Kroner was kind enough to run data from Edutechnica site, getting fairly similar numbers.

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About Phil Hill

Phil is a consultant and industry analyst covering the educational technology market primarily for higher education. He has written for e-Literate since Aug 2011. For a more complete biography, view his profile page.
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