Learning Management Systems

Eduventures Publishes Report on Learning Management Systems

Blackboard excels in "playing well" with the enterprise resource planning and student information systems in a school but its ability to "scale seamlessly" is middling. D2L's Brightspace "integrates with (nearly) everything," but the product roadmap is little influenced by its customers' requests. The Canvas platform from Instructure "meets or exceeds" the core requirements from the "vast majority" of colleges and universities, but its training and support relies heavily on its own community of customers.

Those are just a few of the findings from the 2016 report on learning management systems, published this week by education advisory firm Eduventures for its clients. The new report highlights seven LMS vendors in depth, examining them against multiple areas of criteria: ERP/SIS integration as well as other kinds of applications, scalability, coverage of varying use cases, the clients' ability to "drive the product roadmap" and the breadth of training and support options.

Besides the LMS products already mentioned, four other platforms are examined, including open source offerings Moodle and Sakai; Schoology, which has a big following in K-12; and iTunes U, which may seem like an odd choice. As the report noted, "If an institution has already made a strategic investment in Apple devices (whether iPads or MacBooks) as the learning device of choice, however, then delivering course content and apps through those managed devices is Apple's core strength."

To develop the vendor profiles, Eduventures interviewed LMS company product managers, marketers and client services professionals; sat through at least one product demonstration "that highlighted key differentiators and recent innovations"; and held follow-up conversations with its own clients and other schools that use each vendor's products and services.

The intention of the report, according to the company, is to help staff "evaluate whether a given LMS vendor is a good fit based on their institution's specific requirements and unique operating environment." Author and Principal Analyst Jeff Alderson emphasized, however, that the contents aren't meant to "identify the single 'best' LMS" or to replace a competitive request for proposals. "Rather, it presents a well-rounded understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each major LMS as measured against a specific set of criteria."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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