This is the eleventh year I have shared the LMS market share graphic, commonly known as the squid graphic, for US and Canadian higher education. This past year we at e-Literate shifted our LMS Market Analysis reports from Spring / Fall to Mid-Year / End-of-Year to better allow analysis of entire years. With the release of our end-of-2018 report last week to subscribers, it's time for us to look at updates on the institutional LMS market for North America (US and Canada) higher education. Note that our coverage for the market analysis includes Europe, Latin America, Oceania (Australia, New Zealand, and surrounding island countries) as well as emerging coverage of the Middle East.
We present the following data "by institutions", with market share as a percentage of the total number of institutions using each LMS as a primary system, and "by enrollments", where we scale the institutions by its total enrollment. The latter better captures the business of the LMS market, since most licensing deals are based the number of students.
But first, let's look at an updated LMS market share graphic, commonly known as the squid graphic, for US and Canadian higher education. The original idea remains – to give a picture of the LMS market in one page, highlighting the story of the market over time. The key to the graphic is that the width of each band represents the percentage of institutions using a particular LMS as its primary system.
This year there are two inter-related trends that deserve a broader explanation -the LMS market slowed down with less activity overall, and Canvas and Blackboard continue to be neck-and-neck in the top spot of this market.
We recently described the overall market activity slowdown in that there are fewer LMS formal evaluations taking place since mid 2018, with initial data pointing to a 20 - 25% drop from a year earlier. This slowdown seems to be a type of plateau rather than a continuing trend, and we are watching to see if it is temporary or not.
Last summer we shared the symbolic passing of the torch where Canvas surpassed Blackboard in US market share, which was the first time Blackboard was not the top system since the market emerged two decades ago. What is interesting is that half a year later, the two systems are still neck-and-neck. In the US Canvas is still slightly ahead, and in North America (adding in Canada), Blackboard remains in the top spot by 0.4% (26.8% to 26.4%). Why is Canvas not continuing to extend its lead? Looking at the underlying data, there seems to be three reasons to consider:
- The overall market slowdown means that there are fewer deals for Canvas to win lately.
- Blackboard continues its University of Phoenix implementation, which still includes dozens of campuses despite its enrollment drop.
- The shutdown in December of the for-profit Education Corporation of America (Virginia College and Brightwood College systems) meant that Canvas lost several dozen campuses.
The latter two points should fully play out in the next three months, possibly making this a one-time change in trends, but it is important to call this situation out.
Some other notes:
- The market continues to consolidate around the Big Four - Blackboard, Canvas, D2L Brightspace, and Moodle.
- The Homegrown option for LMS usage is going away, at least in a statistical sense. Only a handful of schools even consider this option.
- D2L shares the challenge of having picked up several large for-profit systems that are closing campuses and therefore hurting market share. In D2L's case, the biggest one is the former EDMC schools - the Art Institutes, Argosy University, and South University - that were sold out of bankruptcy to a non-profit entity and have closed dozens of campuses over the past year. These losses offset many of D2L's wins in 2018.
- Moodle had a few new wins in North America.
Sticking with North America, we can also show LMS market share scaled by the enrollment of each institution, giving a different measure worth considering.
We'll share more information on other global regions in the coming months.