In recent years, technological innovations have had a profound impact on the education sector. The evolution of information and communications technology (ICT) itself changed the course of teaching and learning practices in the academic setting, enabling higher education and secondary institutions to explore new ways of creating, developing, and delivering educational resources.
One such byproduct of edtech or educational technology is the emergence of learning management systems (LMS), software applications that bring together academic programs, subject study guides, and training materials in one platform. The introduction of LMS to the education sector has brought on a positive impact on learners and instructors alike. LMS programs have helped create, adapt, distribute, and manage elearning practices.
On that note, this article delves further into the adoption of LMS programs on a global scale. The latest statistics below on the LMS market, adoption, usage, accessibility, and its impact on the education sector shall provide insights into the current state of the LMS industry and where it’s headed in the near future.
The first LMS program can be traced back to 1924 when psychology professor Sidney Pressey invented the first electronic teaching device. The contraption resembled a typewriter with a window that administers multiple-choice questions to students. According to Pressy, the main idea behind this teaching device is to allow teachers to focus on more inspirational and thought-stimulating activities for their students (Pressey, 1926, as cited in Kadosh & Dowker, 2015). Since then, LMS applications have become increasingly popular in the academe, enabling educators and learners to access educational resources in a variety of formats.
Latest market research (Global Opportunity Analysis, n.d.) reveals that the LMS market will reach a value of $28.1 billion by the end of 2025. The LMS market has been propelled forward by a number of factors: the extensive government initiatives for growth of LMS, the increasing adoption of digital learning, the growing inclination toward bring-your-own-device policies, and the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in LMS. As a result, revenues for the key players in the global LMS market are continuously increasing.
The LMS market is expected to grow from $9.2 billion in 2018 to $22.4 billion in 2023 at a CAGR of 19.6%.
By 2021, the global LMS and elearning markets will increase to $15.72 billion.
In 2020, the mobile learning market will be worth $38 million.
In the forecast period 2020 to 2024, the global corporate LMS market size is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 23%, with a revenue of $12.48 billion.
Global investments in education technology are expected to reach $252 billion by 2020.
The global elearning market grows at 14% annually.
Canvas and Blackboard dominate the LMS market, with each controlling 28% of the US higher ed LMS market.
Source: eLiterate (2018)
LMS Software Adoption Statistics
ICT innovations and the popularization of LMS programs have led to radical changes in the education sector. In today’s knowledge-based economy, the adoption of LMS has enhanced the teaching and learning environment. A growing number of educational institutions all over the world have started taking advantage of LMS platforms to provide a more effective learning method for students.
The usage of LMS has become a requirement for many universities and educational institutions in different parts of the world. To cater to the increasing educational needs of students and staff, a growing number of educational institutions have turned to the use of information and communication technologies to develop distance education programs
LMS adoption in North America is spreading far and wide as educational institutions and corporate sectors alike start to deploy LMS solutions to enhance the learning experience. Based on a report by Zion Market Research (Learning Management System Market, 2017), North America dominates the learning management system adoption due to the increasing demand for effective and quality education.
In North America, the leading LMS program is Canvas, garnering about 19,238,279 of enrollees by the end of 2019.
As of 2019, Moodle registered 11,289,190 enrollees from North America, while Blackboard listed 10,566,791 enrollees.
With LMS technology being widely adopted in North America, its CAGR sits at 4%.
Canvas leads the LMS market share, accounting for 35% of the entire LMS market in North America
The growing mobile adoption in Latin America is translating into endless opportunities for the edtech sector. As such, the elearning market in Latin America has witnessed considerable growth in the years 2016 to 2020 (E-learning Market Trends, 2020), and it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14% in the next five years.
The demand for corporate learning has also contributed to the increasing adoption of LMS in Latin America. As markets and industries become more globalized, businesses turn to online learning platforms to facilitate corporate training and keep up with the accelerated evolution of a global economy.
One study from Endeavor INSIGHT EdTech (An Overview of Edtech, 2019) also reveals that the simplicity of studying online and job opportunities are among the top reasons for the increasing adoption of online educational resources in Latin America.
In Latin America, the elearning market was valued at $2.1 billion in 2016 and is poised to grow at a CAGR of 14% over the next five years.
Latin America is the 4th largest edtech market in terms of revenue.
The elearning market in Latin America is expected to generate $3 billion in revenue by 2023.
Over 12 million adults in 20 Latin American countries are enrolled in some form of online education.
From 2016 to 2017, the user base of Lingokids, a language learning platform, grew more than 489% in Argentina, 500% in Venezuela, and 425% in Brazil.
In Europe, online education is increasingly becoming popular as more European universities have started offering online degrees to international students. Educational institutions providing short courses and full degree programs are experiencing continued success, with enrollment figures rising year by year. According to the data published by Eurostat (Online Courses, 2019), Finland emerges as the top country with most individuals taking at least one form of an online course, followed by the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Spain.
In Finland, 21% of individuals have taken an online course on any subject, followed by United Kingdom with 19%, Sweden with 18%, and Spain with 15%.
LMS in Europe is expected to grow at a CAGR of almost 27% in 2020.
Cloud-based LMS adoption stands at 12.5%.
By 2022, Europe is expected to generate the second-highest revenue in the LMS market.
LMS growth in Eastern Europe is at 16.9% annually.
LMS adoption in the Asia Pacific region is being driven by the increasing demand for elearning and the inclination towards on-the-go learning practices. Improvement in educational resources and economic progress in developing countries in the Asia Pacific region are also expected to drive the adoption of LMS platforms in the near future.
From $5.2 billion in 2011, LMS revenues in Asia doubled to $11.5 billion.
By 2022, the LMS market size in Asia Pacific is expected increase at a 34.2% CAGR.
The highest elearning growth rate is in Asia, at 17.3% annually.
Education is a primary foundation of Africa’s development. In an attempt to improve the learning effectiveness, an increasing number of African countries have adopted elearning practices. As a result, Africa has emerged as a booming market of elearning and LMS platforms.
Despite Africa’s progress in LMS adoption, however, challenges that hinder effective LMS implementation continue to exist. While online learning poses a potential to improve the quality of education in Africa, factors such as Internet access, availability of online curriculum, and lack of teacher training hamper the success of LMS adoption in African countries.
In Africa, the annual growth rate of the LMS industry is at 15.2%.
In 2016, the LMS industry in Africa has already generated $512.7 million in revenue.
Barriers to LMS adoption
For higher education institutions, adopting an LMS platform cannot be done in haste. In fact, there are a number of considerations that need to be taken care of for successful LMS adoption, such as design, ease of use, and mobile compatibility, among others.
Kizilcec et al. (2017) underscore the need to first offer sufficient guidance and support to LMS users, both teachers and learners. Providing exclusive guidance and support may prove to be highly challenging as the number of LMS users continues to increase (Araka et al., 2020).
To accelerate LMS adoption, L&D professionals continue to find ways to simplify LMS programs and improve user adoption.
30% of L&D professionals aim to incorporate games and simulations in their elearning programs by the end of 2020.
93% of L&D professionals plan to develop live online learning for their programs, while 33% want to develop MOOCs.
64% of digital learning program developers want to include open resources in their programs, while 35% want to include user-generated content.
58% of L&D professionals aim to introduce enterprise social networks to improve learning approaches.
The biggest barriers to satisfaction with learning technology are the inability of LMS programs to be integrated with other digital platforms (52%), poor user experience (51%), and cost of the program (44%).
24% are not satisfied with LMS programs that do not have any mobile capability.
67% of LMS users prefer programs with complete functionalities, while 66% want programs with better customer and technical support.
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Barriers to Satisfaction with Learning Technology
Barriers to Satisfaction with Learning Technology Integration with othe digital platforms: 52%
Integration with othe digital platforms
Barriers to Satisfaction with Learning Technology Poor user experience: 51%
Poor user experience
Barriers to Satisfaction with Learning Technology Program cost: 44%
Source: Docebo (2019)
LMS User Statistics
By definition, an LMS is a software application that is used to deliver training programs and education courses. Colleges and universities are adopting LMS programs to enable online and distance learning. Through LMS platforms, educational institutions can manage and deliver online courses to off-site students.
Aside from academic purposes, LMS platforms are also widely used in a corporate context. HR professionals rely on LMS solutions to train employees and managers, while entrepreneurs use them to gain crash courses in marketing, accounting, and other short-term, skills-based courses.
LMS platforms are also popular among hobbyists and self-learners. Today, there are a number of learning applications that offer modules on crafts, photography, blogging, gardening, carpentry, exercising, and other self-taught skills and hobbies.
Currently, the number of LMS users is estimated at 73.8 million.
Nearly 87% of active users have web-based LMS programs.
The primary participants in learning management systems are corporate-level executives (65%) and managers (35%).
37% of LMS users are adults, 28% are young.
In Great Britain, 24% of people who purchase learning materials online are in the age group 16 to 24 years old, 16% are 25 to 34 years old, and 14% are 35 to 44 years old.
30% of LMS buyers are long-established tech companies.
90% of students prefer learning online to traditional learning methods.
About 49% of students have taken at least one form of online course.
Approximately 4.6 million college students are taking their classes online.
2% of the LMS software market consists of government institutions.
The education sector accounts for one-fifth or 21% of the entire global LMS market.
Real estate and nonprofit organizations both account for 3% each in the LMS market.
Other sectors, such as technology (12%), manufacturing (9%), healthcare and consulting (7%), and software development companies (4%), are also found in the LMS market.
Source: Office for National Statistics (2019)
LMS Accessibility Statistics
Accessibility and availability are some of the most important factors for a successful LMS adoption, which is why it is important for schools, universities, and organizations to ensure accessibility of the LMS platforms they are using. With most LMS platforms being cloud-based, they have become easily accessible for users, whether they are using laptops, tablets, or mobile devices. Over the years, however, mobile learning has become more common, and LMS developers have applied multi-device compatibility for their frameworks.
89% of employees access LMS programs from desktops, 78% from their laptops, while 25% from their mobile devices.
According to 97% of employees, a tablet adoption policy contributes to learning effectiveness since the device allows them to learn from home or the office.
The mobile learning market is valued at $37.60 million in 2020.
76% of online learners are using their own devices to access course content and training materials.
Learners using smartphones to access online educational platforms complete course materials 45% faster than those using a computer.
Current LMS Statistics and Predictions
Educational institutions today take advantage of technologies to cope with modernization and enable institutional transformation. In the latest Global Education Census Report (New Global Survey, 2019), it was revealed that the usage of technology in schools worldwide continues to grow, with 48% of students using desktop computers in the classroom, 42% using smartphones, 33% using interactive whiteboards, and 20% using tablet devices.
In recent years, LMS played a pivotal role in higher education’s teaching models. That being said, a number of trends can be observed in the elearning space, such as the rise of MOOC platforms, personalized learning experience, the transition of LMS to learning experience platforms (LXP), and mobile learning.
MOOC Platforms Statistics
Massive Open Online courses, or MOOCs, are online courses offered by higher education institutions to enable accessible and affordable remote learning opportunities for students all over the world. Universities like Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology provide such online courses on a variety of topics at varying educational levels. Compared to earlier online degrees, MOOC-based degrees have lower fees, more flexible schedules, and easier registrations.
Today, there are around 900 universities in the world offering MOOC-based degrees, with around 2000 courses added by the end of 2018 (Shah, 2019). The leading MOOC providers are Coursera with 37 million registered users, edX with 18 million users, and XuetangX with 14 million users. Due to the demand for shorter courses and more flexible schedules, the number of MOOCs has grown dramatically in the last few years.
As of 2019, over 900 universities in the world have already launched or announced 13,500 MOOCs.
450 universities in total have launched around 2,500 courses.
In terms of course distribution by subject, technology ranks first in popularity (19.8%) based on the number of technology-related courses launched in 2019.
About 19.7% of courses launched in 2019 are all business-related.
Coursera is the leading MOOC platform, listing around 37 million registered users.
Source: EdSurge (2018)
Mobile Learning Statistics
The ever-increasing mobile adoption is prompting educational institutions to rethink their learning strategies and develop learning programs for mobile devices. Mobile-enabled learning programs are becoming more in demand, especially with the tech-savvy Millenials and Gen-Zers overtaking the worldwide student population.
A number of studies have proven the benefits of mobile learning. In a study published in the Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, the top benefits of mobile learning include enhanced knowledge acquisition, updated educational resources, and verified information.
The demand for mobile learning resulted in its growth, with the market currently valued at $27.32 billion in 2020 and is poised to grow at a CAGR of 36.45% from 2020 to 2027 (Mobile Learning Market Size, n.d.).
The mobile learning market is valued at $27.32 billion in 2020.
70% of learners are more motivated to learn when they are using mobile devices instead of computers.
29% of learners who use mobile devices believe that they can easily apply what they have learned.
72% of mobile learners revealed that they are more engaged with learning modules accessed via mobile devices.
30% of smartphone users are using their mobile devices to access organizational training materials.
Personalized Learning Experience Statistics
Over the years, the interest in personalized learning has grown across a number of educational institutions. It is now fueling the multi-million dollar edtech industry and is becoming a focus for philanthropy. Since 2009, when the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation allotted $300 million to fund research and development for personalized learning, many studies have been devoted to prove its effectiveness in the traditional classroom setting.
25% of educators reveal that personalized learning is a promising idea.
21% perceive personalized learning as a transformative approach to improve the K-12 curriculum.
11% of teachers state that they see personalized learning as a passing fad, while 10% reveals that it is not even on their radar.
For 8% of surveyed teachers, personalized learning is a threat to public education.
Source: Klein (2019)
Several years ago, startup companies, such as Degreed, Edcast, and Pathgather pioneered the idea of a next-generation learning portal that makes training content easy to find. This gave rise to LXPs, which are collaborative platforms that place learning under the control of the user rather than the administrator.
LXPs and LMS programs have two distinctive objectives. An LMS relies heavily on the administrator to manage learning, while an LXP provides learners with the total freedom to explore learning materials and discover the content appropriate for their learning level. Basically, LXPs are upgraded versions of LMS programs, in the sense that they provide knowledge management, content management, and learning system under a single platform.
LXPs are increasingly becoming popular, and more organizations are gradually transitioning from the usage of LMS programs to LXPs.
By 2020, the LXP market is valued at $200 million and is growing twice its size on an annual basis.
In the next three years, the LXP market is poised to grow at $15.7 billion.
The Future of LMS and eLearning
Over the years, the education sector has undergone many radical transformations. The shift to digital learning approaches has made a profound impact on the way colleges and universities deliver course content and educational resources. The birth of LMS has enabled elearning, and more developments are coming along as the education sector adapts new technologies to improve content delivery.
Continuous, life-long learning must be ensured to help learners gain new skills and knowledge. To do so, a learning environment should be designed to provide personalized and flexible training programs that address the specific needs of every learner (Change & Guetl, 2007). A holistic and ecological learning approach should be implemented to enhance learning systems and ensure these systems can adapt to upcoming advancements in education and technology (Redmond & Macfadyen, 2020).
The expanding use of technology in the education sector is no doubt becoming more pronounced today, and the LMS industry is expected to grow in the years to come. The adoption of digital learning and the expanding need for quality education are only some of the factors driving growth in the LMS space and transforming the entire academic space. On the other hand, upcoming technological breakthroughs, such as mobile learning and the use of AI and ML in academic learning setups, can provide the education sector with the right tools to curate a modernized learning module for the future that is heavily geared towards digital learning.
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