Learning management system (LMS) has long been adopted by colleges and universities including Tier 1 institutes in India to manage and administer their courses. LMS, also known as Virtual Learning Environment, includes a category of software and web application that facilitates the online delivery of course material in addition to the features of tracking and reporting of student involvement. LMS is a hub of all educational activities in an academic environment where a student can access syllabi and required readings, submit assignments, access grades, connect with peers and teachers. On the other hand, a teacher can monitor students’ engagement, as well as performance across courses.
Currently, higher education LMS market worldwide is dominated by a few platforms such as Canvas, Blackboard, Moodle, Edmodo, Desire2Learn, and Sakai, none of which is “Made in India”. These LMS are deployed at the institution level to assist face-to-face learning sessions. There is traditionally very small room for alternative learning and course development platforms such as OpenEdX and Helix—the open source education platform within institutions, especially in India.
The top three providers of LMS serve an estimated 113.8 million users. The world LMS market is estimated to grow in 2017 and 2018 by 23.17% from $2.65 billion in 2013 to $7.8 billion in 2018 at roughly 25.2% annual growth rate. The LMS market in the corporate sector alone currently stands at $2.5 billion. India, however, except for a few institutes and corporates—is a late and slow adopter of LMS to augment the educational experience. The Indian education-related software market accounts for only 4% of the global market and 22% of the Indian industry. The e-learning industry in India is only 1.6% of the global market and 10% of the Indian industry.
While India is still catching up with the global LMS market, thought leaders around the world have already started proposing next-generation LMS. These LMS are called next generation digital learning environments (NGDLE) and refer to the development of more flexible work spaces that support personalisation, meet universal design standards and with a larger role in informative learning assessment. One aspect all Edtech leaders agree is that LMS could be much more than a just administrative tool, and can be used as a blended learning tool.
In the Indian context, the main task of LMS should be enabling outcome-based education which is the focus of higher education now that the country has signed the Washington Accord to adopt outcome-based education in higher education institutes in the country.
The writer is co-founder of Epecate, an edtech start-up. V Sridhar, professor, IIIT-B contributed to this article