How Instructors (Don’t) Use the LMS

For today’s post, I wanted to share this graphic from Blackboard about LMS use since mutatis mutandis that is relevant to the whole LMS world: Blackboard Study on How Instructors Use the LMS. (There’s a more detailed write-up at the Blackboard blog; I might respond more specifically on their blog post later.)


As you can see, hardly anybody is using the LMS for what the LMS claims to do, which is to provide a totalizing learning environment (or VLE as some call it, virtual learning environment). Just 2% have “balanced use of assessments, content, and discussion.”

And no wonder: whether you call it a learning management system or a virtual learning environment, the LMS/VLEs are extremely unappealing, faux tools created for faux school activities as opposed to the real ways people interact, learn, create, and share online.

You might be surprised to be reading about this at a blog which has “Canvas” in the title… but check out the tag: “confessions of an LMS minimalist.” I use Canvas only for what needs to be done in a secure environment: grades. (And my students record their own grades via the quiz tool; you can read about that here:

So, I am glad to take advantage of the opportunity that the common LMS at my school provides to connect with other faculty members (which is why I created this blog), but I personally have no interest in increasing my use of the LMS. Instead, I am constantly on the lookout for ways to do a better job as an online teacher, improving my own digital literacy and the digital literacy of my students. The LMS has nothing to offer me there, and the main tools I rely on are blogs and websites: real content built with real tools on the real web. You can read about how I use blogs here: Building a Student Blog NetworkAnd you can see my students’ wonderful websites here: eStorybook Central.

In future posts, I’ll have more to say about all that, and I’ll take the results of this Blackboard study as a strong indicator that faculty are clearly not making use of the LMS in a holistic way… which means a logical question to then ask is what other tools, resources, and strategies are available to achieve that holistic learning experience? Let’s share and learn from each other about that!


Constant, endless curiosity is what feeds your abilities.
(Growth Mindset Cats)

Crossposted at OU Canvas Community.