State of Higher Ed LMS Market for US and Canada: 2019 Mid-Year Edition

It has been nearly a dozen years of sharing the LMS Market share graphic, commonly known as the squid diagram. This past year we at MindWires 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 mid-year 2019 report this 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 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.

North American Higher Ed LMS Market share for mid 2019, based on number of institutions using each solution as primary system.

In the past five years, the LMS Market for North American higher education has become increasingly dominated by “the Big Four” (Instructure Canvas, Blackboard Learn, D2L Brightspace, Moodle) 1 for institution-wide adoptions; the aggregate market share of year’s top four systems moving from 80% to 95% in past five years. Beyond North America, we are seeing the same trends in Europe, Latin America, and Australia / New Zealand.

We recently described the overall market activity slowdown in that there are fewer LMS formal evaluations taking place since mid 2018, with 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. We have seen some increased activity this summer, but we are not ready yet to say if the trend has reversed.

In addition, 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. Despite several counter-forces (the market slowdown, University of Phoenix finishing its Learn Ultra implementation, and closure of for-profit chain and dozens of campuses using Canvas), Canvas has extended its North American lead – 28% vs. 27% based on count of institutions, and 35% vs. 31% in terms of student enrollments at those schools.

While D2L’s market share with Brightspace actually decreased slightly largely due to the closure of for-profit clients, they have picked up some impressive wins lately, including Purdue University, the University of the Sciences, University of Rhode Island, and nearly a dozen others (not all of which are publicly announced yet).

Moodle declined slightly – less than 1% in terms of institutions – over the past year. We have added Jenzabar to our main graphic, based on its somewhat persistent market share.

We have a broader set of data as part of our LMS Market Analysis service, and we will share more information on regions outside of North America this fall.

Update 8/16: Adding Disclosure – Instructure, Blackboard, D2L, Moodle, and Schoology are all subscribers to our LMS Market Analysis service.

1 Disclosure: Instructure, Blackboard, D2L, Moodle, and Schoology are all subscribers to our LMS Market Analysis service.