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Redux: The State of Learning Management Systems

One of our most popular EnhancED post featured a graphic developed by Delta Initiative that showed the birth, growth, and mergers of learning management systems (LMS). The graphic was developed in 2009, and while still useful, it had gotten a bit dated. Recently, Phil Hill, the graphic's designer released an update that adds new developments, such as the rise of MOOCs and the growth of Instructure's Canvas and Pearson's eCollege. Also interesting is the prominence of open source and homegrown systems, which led to Hill's decision to remove the band representing pricing.


It is clear that the LMS space is still complex and complicated, especially considering the size of a university's investments required to transition or adopt any one solution. It also worth noting that at Columbia many of the products listed have been used at one time or another by different schools and departments:

  • Prometheus - the original CourseWorks (2002 - 2013)
  • Sakai - New CourseWorks (2011 -
  • Moodle - Global Honors College, Teachers College
  • Moodle Rooms - Global Masters in Development Practice (Earth Institute)
  • Angel - Business School (2007 - 2012)
  • Canvas - Business School (2012 -
  • eCollege - School of Continuing Education
  • Coursera - School of Engineering

This non-exhaustive list will continue to change given that many LMS users continue to express dissatisfaction with adopted platforms for their inability to keep pace with changes outside the LMS and the likelihood of platform adoptions at the faculty level rather than at the institutional level (i.e. OpenClass).