Top Blackboard Competitors:
The Best Blackboard Alternatives for Your School or Business
Blackboard Learn is the most widely used learning management system (LMS) in the world. Over 19,000 organizations in education, government and business spanning over 100 countries use the venerable e-learning software to manage course curriculums and assignments, create assessments, facilitate discussion and deliver high-quality training and learning content.
Along with a personalized activity stream and in-system calendar, Blackboard Learn includes a variety of blended learning capabilities, social engagement features and content authoring tools to enhance e-learning content and learner engagement. Blackboard Learn users on Software Advice praise the system’s ease of use and customization options.
Social learning functionality in Blackboard Learn
If you’re not satisfied with Blackboard Learn currently, or just want to see what else is out there, this is a great time to consider alternatives.
In this article, we detail five great Blackboard competitors and alternatives to handle your school or business’s learning needs, chosen based on online search traffic and user reviews.
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In this first section, we look at the two LMS platforms that are searched most often in comparison with Blackboard (e.g., “Blackboard vs. Canvas”).
Note: you can learn more about our Alternatives methodology here.
If Blackboard is the Microsoft of the LMS world, consider Instructure (the vendor who distributes Canvas) in the role of Apple (Instructure actually already made this comparison for us).
Canvas is a cloud-based, open source system for K-12 schools and higher education universities. It offers all of the core LMS functionality you’d expect to find in a modern Blackboard alternative, including course and assessment creation, course management and a gradebook.
This system also features the Canvas Network, which enables MOOC capabilities, the Canvas App Center to embed external learning tools and content and dedicated mobile apps for on-the-go learning.
In reviews on Software Advice, Canvas users applaud the system’s flexibility to adjust to a preferred teaching style and its intuitive, user-friendly interface. On the other hand, some users say that Instructure updates Canvas too often, presenting a challenge to stay on top of the changes.
If you’re a business, check out Instructure’s corporate-focused LMS, Bridge.
If you’re yearning for more learning management customization than what’s offered with Blackboard Learn, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find a better alternative than Moodle. The free, open source LMS has made waves in corporate and academic learning circles since debuting in 2002.
Built with community-sourced plug-ins and supported by a network of certified Moodle Partners, Moodle users can download and install the platform on a web server before tweaking it to their heart’s content.
Alongside customizable layouts and bulk course creation, Moodle also features course gamification, peer and self-assessment, file management, multilingual capabilities and a shared calendar. Collaboration is a significant focus as well, allowing users to create course forums, wikis and more.
Outside of its customization strengths, Moodle users praise the system’s wide variety of available features and free license cost. Moodle isn’t completely free, however. Reviewers say if you don’t have the proper IT architecture and manpower in place to implement and maintain a system such as Moodle, you should look elsewhere.
For this final category of Blackboard alternatives, we went straight to the reviews left by real LMS users on Software Advice and found the three systems similar to Blackboard that were rated the highest. Products identified as most asked-about alternatives in the previous section were omitted.
Note: You can learn more about our Alternatives methodology here.
Highly rated and more affordable than Blackboard Learn, Accord LMS is a great option to consider for schools and businesses alike.
Configurable as a cloud-based or on-premise solution, Accord LMS allows for administrative distribution between multiple users and a blended learning approach combining e-learning courses, instructor-led training, webinars and more.
Corporate users can brand their Accord LMS solution and train outside parties such as customers and channel partners through independent portals, while large universities can implement social learning and role-based groups to engage over 200,000 students.
Users on Software Advice call Accord LMS a great value and praise Accord’s excellent customer service and support. Reporting is one area where the system still needs some work, though.
Where Blackboard Learn fails to adequately tie employee training to other strategic HR initiatives, Halogen Learning succeeds.
Offered as a stand-alone module within the larger Halogen TalentSpace HR suite, Halogen Learning is a cloud-based LMS that integrates training with performance management to ensure your courses are driving real results within the business.
Within Halogen Learning, users can map out competency strengths and weaknesses for each individual worker, so the system can actually recommend a learning path with ideal courses to get them up to speed. As learners consume training content, administrators can keep detailed tabs on their progress within individual courses as well as within their overarching employee development plan.
Certification tracking, bulk enrollments and mobile optimization are also included in Halogen Learning, which can be integrated with other modules in the Halogen TalentSpace suite for tasks such as compensation and succession planning.
Halogen users say the system’s feedback mechanisms are great for collaborative performance reviews and that the vendor is quick to add enhancements and fixes when requested. However, the system is on the pricey side for midsize organizations, and schools may want to seek out a more education-focused platform.
Rounding out our list of Blackboard alternatives is Schoology, an LMS built around learning resource sharing, system-wide and course-specific communication tools and an impressive HTML/CSS editor to make lessons as simple or ornate as desired.
Doubling as a messaging system to broadcast messages to faculty and students across campus, Schoology also allows instructors and faculty to connect and collaborate with other Schoology users around the world to share resources and communicate best practices.
Assessment management and course authoring tools are built in, along with a catalogue of pre-connected apps including YouTube, Google Drive and Turnitin. Don’t let the name fool you either—Schoology is a useful LMS for businesses as well.
On Software Advice, reviewers say Schoology is a great system for administrators, teachers, students and even parents to communicate with ease, and they love the Facebook-like interface. Schoology’s mobile app is also considered one of the best around. On the negative side, people mention that students can’t unenroll themselves, and navigation can be a bit confusing.
All five of these LMSs are great Blackboard alternatives. But, if you’re still on the fence, here’s what you can do: