Surviving on the Fumes of Positive Sentiment

Extended musings on the LMS / VLE market

With the recent release of our LMS Market Analysis report for On EdTech Enterprise subscribers and with Neil Mosley’s post analyzing the UK’s VLE market, we (Morgan, Neil, and I) discussed the LMS / VLE market in some depth in the most recent Online Education Across the Atlantic podcast episode. You can listen to the podcast on any of your favorite platforms, including Apple and Spotify. We’d love to have you subscribe.

I am including a lightly-edited transcription of the LMS portion of our discussion (we also briefly talked about Accenture’s acquisition of Udacity and recent EdTech conferences) for On EdTech+ premium subscribers below. The timestamps correlated to the full podcast episode for those who want to go listen to certain sections.

And full credit to Neil for the episode title.

Phil: The main topic we want to get into is the what the rest of the world calls the learning management system market. But in the UK they call the virtual learning Environment market, the VLE market. And both of us, you know, Morgan and I from a North American higher ed and actual global report, we just put that out. And coincidentally, Neal just put out his update on the UK VLE market. So that's [00:15:00] where we wanted to talk in more depth today. I'm handing it over to you, Morgan, make this exciting.

Morgan: Yeah, yeah. No, I mean it is exciting. It's a time to stop and think about where things are going and how things are going. So we just put out our our end of year 23 report. And Neil had his summary coming out as well. So my question to you all was was there anything in there that that you found surprising, you know, that that made you sit up and go, hmm, in terms as you stop to think about the reports and reflect on them?

Neil: I mean, I wouldn't say surprising.

Morgan: Maybe a strong word.

Neil: I mean, I think if I can sort of slightly reframe that question to what was interesting, I think the most interesting aspect for me was the way in which AI has the potential to differentiate the four big, big players. [00:16:00] That was the interesting thing for me, you know, because I think that would be also quite a nice I mean, as a, as a sort of an analyst looking at this, it's kind of that that would provide more interest as well as being interesting of its in and of itself and provide more choice because I think, you know, one of the things that I guess I noted in the kind of UK is that the a couple of contenders that may have added to, you know, a more interesting dynamic in terms of the companies that were involved in the market, you know, haven't really have kind of fallen by the wayside. So, you know, are you talking.

Morgan: About Aula and . . .

Neil: Aula and EduFlow. Sorry, I should be explicit. So when we're thinking about interest and I guess differentiation, you know, a couple of products that may have kind of entered the market and provided that have not been able to, you know, to do that. And so therefore actually the interesting thing for me [00:17:00] was just around the way I would differentiate the, the four. But no major surprises really for me.

Phil: It's not really a surprising market. I mean, you've got this case where the trends not only are settling in and let's talk about the trends you mentioned the big four. Basically the story is it's Canvas, Instructure Canvas, D2L Brightspace. Those two systems tend to be winning almost most of the new deals, and they're taking away from Anthology's Blackboard Learn and Moodle. And that's turning out to be the case and has been for years. But the pattern is getting even more sad. That's true across the globe. More and more global regions have that same dynamic. It is interesting that in India there's a little bit of difference because Canvas really isn't a player in India, it's much more of a, uh, well, you have Moodle activity and [00:18:00] some installed base, but it's Anthology. It's Anthology and D2L that are fighting it out there quite a bit. But in general, it's the big four. It's a Canvas and Brightspace tend to be winning, taking share from Blackboard and Moodle. So some of this just is the you know, we're seeing more of it. This is what it means. Probably the most notable. I'll answer the question, what's the most notable is a North American higher education. When you scale up by enrollment D2L Brightspace just past Blackboard learn. So Blackboard is now third place in terms of market share. Uh, when you account for enrollment within North America. And that's sort of momentous as well. So that was probably the most notable finding. So we're answering interesting and notable but not really surprising.

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