While this type of data may be useful to the newcomer to the Learning Management System (LMS) marketplace or it may even help an organization start their exploration of LMS options, to the long time LMS user this picture reminds us there really are very few options when it comes to creating online learning environments. Having used most of the major listed products I can confirm we really haven’t made much progress since those early days back in 1996-97 when the researchers at University of British Columbia (UBC) presented their groundbreaking idea for a Content/Course Management System (CMS) or what we now refer to as the LMS. I recall stating back then that the UBC system had great potential to enable us to use technology to enhance the learning…if we could focus on building learning environments, not just content delivery. I used all these LMS and a variety of institutions and have also dabbled in the “Other” or “Homegrown” space and confirm except for a very small handful of active learning innovators most institutions are using their LMS as content delivery systems. The feature lists have grown the interfaces have become more polished but we really are still just using these systems to collect, store, and deliver course content, give students online exams and provide convenient places for students to check their grades.
It also really doesn’t matter who has the biggest market share or who is growing the most because we have reached a saturation and consolidation point in the LMS industry comparable to the North American Pickup Truck market. All the LMS listed can be compared to pickups. Whether you prefer the Dodge Ram, the Ford F150, the Chevy Silverado, the Nissan Titan, or Toyota Tundra all these trucks will work great if you want to pick up and deliver stuff. Most choices are a matter of preference and personal experience with previous models. Similarly, all these LMS will work great to collect, store and deliver content…it is just a matter of familiarizing oneself with where the typical controls are located and then getting comfortable with the way the tool handles. If you want to do much more then just deliver the content you have look beyond the delivery vehicle to consider how you Create Significant Learning Environments and how you give your learners Choice Ownership and Voice through Authentic learning opportunities.