State of Higher Ed LMS Market for US and Canada: Mid-Year 2020 Edition

It has now been a dozen years of sharing the LMS Market share graphic, commonly known as the squid diagram. With the release of our Mid-Year 2020 report this week to subscribers along with our partners at LISTedTECH, 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 new coverage of the Middle East.

This is the first report since the completion of the sale of Instructure and since the beginning of the pandemic.

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. 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.

LMS market share for US and Canadian higher ed institutions - the squid graphic for mid-year 2020

There has been another symbolic change where Blackboard has dropped below Moodle in North America higher education. Canvas is now the market leader in terms of institution count at 31%, with Moodle at 24%, Blackboard at 23%, and D2L Brightspace at 12%. In terms of enrollment for North America higher education, however, Canvas leads at 39%, Blackboard remains in second place at 30%, followed by D2L Brightspace in third at 16%, and Moodle in fourth at 11%.

One question worth considering is why we have seen such market momentum for D2L Brightspace, yet their overall market share reported above shows only modest gains. We are exploring this question in more depth, but the initial explanations center on residual losses (e.g. University of Wisconsin system multi-year migration from Brightspace to Canvas) as well as campus closures (e.g. the Dream Center shutdown of multi-campus systems – Argosy University and the Art Institutes). Based on data for new implementations coming up, we would expect to see more of a move by this company in the next report or two.

Update on Market Slowdown

We have 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. Prior to COVID-19, we had seen signs of an acceleration in the market, but as expected the pandemic has slowed down the LMS market, at least temporarily. The following chart is based on trailing 12-month data (to smooth out seasonal variations) of New Implementations (LMS switches or first-time LMS usage) for North America, Europe, Latin America, and Oceania combined, but the trends are similar just in North America. We will keep watching this trend to see if we see evidence of a market acceleration again this fall (hint: we’re expecting this but don’t have the data to back it up yet). All signs from the pandemic point to the LMS market becoming more important, not less so.

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.

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