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Blackboard’s Recent Purchase Signals Learning Management System Disruption

It’s been a good week for MyEdu, a Learning Management System company that allows students to manage coursework, build an academic profile, showcase coursework and projects, and define skillsets.

According to EdSurge, the company was acquired by  Blackboard, a “household name in the LMS market,” so the acquisition may be a sign of things to come. Specifically, the purchase may signal that there is room for startups to work on bettering existing learning management systems.

“MyEdu will continue to be free and there will be no product changes,” the company’s website states. “We are excited to join Blackboard as it will allow us to build more features for you and connect you to a larger student community.”

Blackboard’s acquisition is not the first LMS startup partnership to make its way onto the edtech stage. Just last year, Noodle Education acquired a technology platform built by Lore, an LMS with a focus on social features, whereby students post assignments and updates and share them with fellow classmates. Noodle’s website resembles that of a tech startup in terms of its layout and design, an indicator that it is firmly focused on technological innovation and progress. This may also represent a shift in focus for other education companies, which acknowledge that technological innovation is imperative to systematic innovation in the education sphere.

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 2.26.30 PMEducation Drive reported last year that Instructure, an LMS startup, had raised $30 million in a Series D round. GigaOm noted that the company planned on “knocking LMS Blackboard off its throne.” The company’s browser-based software, much like Blackboard’s, aims to help teachers and clients distribute class documents, track student progress, grade assignments and collaborate with individuals and groups.  So with Blackboard’s MyEdu acquisition, competition just got fiercer.

While it isn’t clear who will earn the head seat at the table of the LMS developers, there is clear headway being made in the amelioration of learning management technology. Where once systems like Blackboard were clunky and unintuitive, startups have been helping to upgrade the technology, reach a wider audience more efficiently, and operate with desirable levels of UX.

Liz Elfman is a writer, editor, and content strategist who tweets @lizelfman.  

Liz Elfman

Liz Elfman is a writer, editor, and content strategist.