The 2021 Learning Management System Field Guide

Why Read This Research

COVID-19 triggered most North American institutions to initiate remote instruction at scale. Institutions quickly evaluated their academic technology stacks for their ability to support fully online, blended, and hybrid-flexible learning. Many of them found their learning technologies—their learning management systems in particular—lacking. Overwhelmingly, higher education institutions in the US support one of four LMS products: Blackboard Learn, D2L Brightspace, Instructure Canvas, and Moodle. The purpose of this field guide is to help orient campus IT leaders to the LMS market.

Key Questions Answered

  • What pedagogical trends are driving LMS innovation in a post-COVID landscape?
  • What is the current state of the US LMS market?
  • Who are the major vendors and products?
  • How are major products and vendors responding to changes in higher education?


  • Vendor in Focus: Blackboard, D2L, Instructure, Moodle, Populi, PowerSchool, Sakai
  • Software Category in Focus: Learning Management Systems
  • Author: Laura Gogia, Research Director, Learning Technologies and Student Success, Tambellini Group
  • Research Availability: May 2021

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Post-COVID Pedagogy
  3. The LMS Market
  4. Blackboard
  5. D2L
  6. Instructure
  7. Moodle Pty
  8. Conclusion & Methodology
  9. References

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