There seems to be a series of news and analysis on the LMS higher education market worth summarizing.
Major Adoption News
I posted last weekend about University of Phoenix (UoP) and their LMS. UoP is well-known for being the biggest user of a homegrown LMS for well over a decade, but in the past several years they rolled out “Classroom”, an entirely new adaptive-learning based design. In a major strategic change, UoP is abandoning this effort and moving to a commercial provider.
What we can now confirm at e-Literate is that the “learning platform” selected by the University of Phoenix is Blackboard Learn Ultra. This is the cloud-based redesign of Learn that Michael and I have described in several posts. Even with the University of Phoenix’s reduced enrollment, I consider this news to be the most important new client acquisition for Blackboard since at least 2011.
Today Campus Technology reported that Stanford is moving to adopt Canvas as their campus-wide LMS. Previously Stanford was a founding member of Sakai, with its implementation called CourseWork.
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The university has been piloting Instructure Canvas since the 2014-2015 academic year. The vice provost for teaching & learning (VPTL) said in a statement that about 80 percent of faculty in the pilot reported being “very or somewhat satisfied” with the new platform; even more students (94 percent) found it “very or somewhat easy” to use.
Alongside the pilot, two Stanford schools had already adopted the application independently. The Graduate School of Education moved to Canvas in 2013-2014, and the Graduate School of Business did so in 2014. Both adoptions were considered successes.
During this school year, the migration was accelerated. Some 300 classes switched to Canvas. And the plan is to migrate the remaining 4,200 classes still using the legacy LMS software over the next academic year.
Michael wrote a week ago about two significant developments that will impact the future of Moodle – the launch of the Moodle Association and POET (an alliance of Moodle service providers) entering the Apereo Foundation’s incubation program.
Phil and I have written about the growing tension between the interests of Moodle HQ and a those of a couple of the bigger Moodle Partners, most notably Blackboard. There are a number of ways that this tension could be resolved, but one of the more dramatic possibilities would be a fork of Moodle. While we are not predicting it will happen, a couple of developments hit the wires last week that give us some idea of what the world might look like if there were a real and permanent split between the two groups.
Summary Posts and Data
George Kroner at Edutechnica wrote a year-end review, in a long-standing (2 year) tradition, of the LMS market. Topics included:
- New and evolving takes on what a LMS should be and do
- New entrants and indirect competition
- A growing realization that course design is more important than the LMS
- Moodle maneuver mania
- and more
Justin Menard at LISTedTECH put out another great market visualization based on implementation and decommissioning dates at schools. He has an interactive visualization based on numbers and percentages, along with choice to show combined Blackboard data (combining Learn with ANGEL and WebCT) or separate product views. Here is a teaser:
Justin’s concluding comments are worth considering:
As a side note: We know that Canvas is currently being piloted in 60+ higher education institutions. Those numbers are not reflected here, but we will be looking at this in our next post: who are the institutions that are piloting canvas and what LMS they are currently using.
That is interesting both for Canvas and for the nature of having forward-looking market data to analyze that goes beyond anecdotes.