- Two of the leading learning management system companies are cutting ties after a six-year partnership — a split that Inside Higher Education reported was likely "messy."
- U.S.-based Blackboard and Australia's Moodle separately announced the end to the partnership, which will mean that Blackboard won't use the Moodle name in the future, but its Moodlerooms product will be maintained.
- Inside Higher Education reported it was a "bold move" for Moodle to strike out on its own, although Blackboard reported it had taken the action. It said it refused to renew Moodle's contract, in part because Moodle was prioritizing separate partnerships that allowed clients to self-host rather than work with Blackboard's Moodlerooms. Moodle CEO Martin Dougiamas said the partnership had been “awkward” and “uncomfortable” from the start.
Last month a tech consulting firm on its e-Literate blog reported that Canvas had surpassed Blackboard Learn in the higher education LMS market with 1,218 installations to Blackboard's 1,216, though Blackboard disputed the numbers.
At its peak in 2006, Blackboard controlled about 70% of the U.S. and Canadian markets but now Canvas and Blackboard each control about 28% with Moodle following with about 23%. Canvas is cloud-based, has a good reputation for customer service and markets its products well, Michael Feldstein, a partner at MindWires and co-publisher of e-Literate, said.
Cornell University reportedly switched to Canvas from Blackboard last month, which was significant because it left only one Ivy League institution using Blackboard and Blackboard had its roots at the university.
Some critics say that Blackboard has been slow to further develop its cloud-based platform at a time when cloud-based applications are growing more popular at colleges.
About six months ago, an analyst said that estimates suggesting the LMS market could total $5 billion and grow to $16 billion annually are inflated and a more realistic amount is $2 billion. But analysts agree that it will grow substantially as institutions increasingly want to develop online courses and blended programs and use learning management in new ways.