April 12th, 2011 // 5:54 am @ admin
The third quarter of 2010 and first quarter of 2011 seems to be showing a shift away from large complex LMS systems such as Blackboard in the schools IT marketplace, according to articles written by several prominent tech bloggers in the US (1), (2).
Blackboard is the clear leader in the providing of LMS, or ‘Learning Management systems’, also called VLE – ‘Virtual Learning Environments’. With the acquisition of ‘Angel Learning’, ‘WebCTA’ and ‘Vista’ Blackboard is thought to have close to a 30 per cent market share of the LMS marketplace
The trend seems to have been driven by two factors. Firstly a reduction in schools and education authorities IT budgets. Blackboard keeps its pricing secret but it with the entry-level Blackboard Standard edition starting at around $13,000 a year it is clearly one of the first areas school look at when looking at budget reductions.
The second factor is the realisation that most schools do not actually need such complex features. Especially with K-12 schools, administrators often want a system that can easily assign students and teachers to a course, and which the the teachers can easily upload shared content and administer.
So which companies are gaining market share? One major winner is LMS services that are provided through the free Google Apps for Education, Googles free suite of email and document sharing for schools which with close to 15 million users has a huge market share. The two main providers currently in the marketplace being CourseDirector and Haiku.
The second winner is the open source product Moodle available remotely hosted via several companies.
It is certainly gong to be an interesting year in the Education tech sector and analysts are interested if the current trend will continue.