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Learning Management Systems

4 Companies Sit on 95% of LMS Adoptions

Over the past five years, the higher ed LMS market for institution-wide adoptions in the United States and Canada has become increasingly dominated by "the Big Four": Instructure Canvas, Blackboard Learn, D2L Brightspace and Moodle, according to a 2018 analysis from e-Literate's Phil Hill. As a result of that "consolidating market," the "aggregate market share" for the year's top four systems has grown from 80 percent to 95 percent over that period.

When counted by student enrollment, the largest share of learning management system deployments is held by Instructure, which overtook Blackboard this year. Currently, according to Hill, the institutions of higher education running Instructure's Canvas have a possible 8.3 million students on the LMS platform, compared to 7.9 million for Blackboard Learn. That represents marketshare of nearly 35 percent for Instructure and almost 33 percent for Blackboard. Hill and e-Literate co-publisher Michael Feldstein consult and perform market analysis on tech usage in education.

Hill noted that the analysis maps to institutional student count, which may not equate to actual LMS usage. Oftentimes, he explained, colleges and universities don't know how many courses or sections are using an LMS, so they can only estimate. And frequently, when a school is moving to a new LMS, it will keep both running for months through the transition, which means there will be an overcount of actual use, since both will be included in the tally.

The rundown on marketshare is openly available on e-Literate's website, along with a spreadsheet version.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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