(DPS) Denver Public Schools is looking at choosing a new LMS for teacher-student interactions. Since I have expertise and they wanted to consider using the same LMS for delivering teacher professional development, they asked me to look at the selected LMSs and give my opinion. I thought that this analysis might be helpful to others who are choosing an LMS and wanted to share my results here.
First, a little background. As some of you may know I have in-depth experience with Blackboard and Moodle and experiential knowledge of eCollege, D2L, Canvas, and Certpoint. Currently, the main LMS I am using is Moodle. DPS asked me to look at Canvas, Schoology and It’s Learning.
Most LMSs are very similar and they meet the basic needs of dissemination, discourse and assessment. The chart I link below shows just how similar Canvas, It’s Learning and Shoology are in functionality. Here is my unvarnished opinion: I’m still a big fan of Moodle and not sure why the district isn’t considering it as an option. I know that many people are swayed by their personal experiences with an LMS and it may have nothing to do with the LMS but much to do with course design, facilitation and user support. Any LMS can underwhelm or even frustrate users if there are inferior courses or lack of orientation.
Of the three LMSs that I looked at, Canvas came out on top. Why? I think Canvas had the best interface for users. It has searchable discussion boards and an easy html editor (with video and audio recording options) throughout. But the most important reason I chose Canvas over the others is that it is the only one that has full-featured digital badges (aka micro-credentials). Micro-credentials are an innovation that must be enabled in LMSs. Kudos to Canvas and Moodle for incorporating these digital badges and linking them to Mozilla Backpacks. Look for a future post on digital badges as I continue to explore, advocate and implement them.
Here is a link to my comparison chart. NOTE: These elements were requested by my team which delivers professional development in face-to-face events, as well as online courses.