Smart List: Learning Platforms

Key Points

  • Selecting learning platforms is never easy as no single system will meet every organization’s preferred requirement or feature-set.  

  • Here is an updated non-comprehensive list of platforms.

Selecting learning platforms is never easy as no single system will meet every organization’s preferred requirement or feature-set.  Here is an updated non-comprehensive list of platforms (our last SmartLists were in 2017 and 2018). We encourage schools and districts to list the specific critical features essential to the learning model then match these to available products. While some of these solutions are LMS focused, others are more focused on specific learning trajectories. What has emerged over the last four years are more legacy platforms attempting to adopt project-based, personalize, or competency-based features and emerging platforms beginning with these next-generation features. The pandemic only accelerated the development and adoption of personalized LMS platforms that better meet the needs of future-oriented learning models.

Lightweight learning platforms

  • Edmodo: Enables teachers to create groups, assign homework, schedule quizzes, manage progress and more (owned by Hong Kong based NetDragon Websoft Holdings Limited)
  • Google Classroom: Create classes, distribute assignments and send feedback. (part of G suite for Edu)
  • Microsoft Teams: Classroom and assignment management (part of Office 365 Education)
  • Unrulr: Innovative community-based assessment and documentation platform focused on peer collaborative learning around a set of competencies.
  • SeeSaw: Elementary focused learning documentation platform

Comprehensive K-12 Learning Management Systems

  • Alma: Designed to replace legacy SIS and LMS with a modern data infrastructure that can enable improved student engagement
  • BrightSpace: A system built by Desire 2 Learn with a simple, well-designed interface
  • Canvas by Instructure: Canvas grew significantly during the pandemic and acquired Mastery Connect in an effort to build out mastery-based assessments.
  • Edsby: An Ontario-based, K-12 designed, mobile, social and personalized solutions
  • Engrade. A gradebook acquired by McGraw Hill now connects curriculum, assessments, and data across the learning cycle. It has the capability to draw content from licensed providers, OER libraries, and teacher-created materials.
  • PowerSchool: Purchased the LMS Schoology to add to an existing SIS system to create a comprehensive SIS/LMS system.
  • Buzz by Agilix: Offers formative assessments, individualized tasks, student-choice activities, and grouping options. (See our feature)

K-12 Platforms (LMS & content)

  • Connections Learning: Provides K-12 online courses on the Connexus platform
  • Defined Learning: A STEM based PBL platform with career-connected projects and customized project platform for teachers to build their own.
  • Edgenuity: A comprehensive set of online and blended content and management offerings
  • Edmentum: Adaptive assessments paired with powerful learning paths for K-8 reading, language arts, and math. Added Apex a digital curriculum designed to actively engage students in learning, combining embedded supports and scaffolds in 2021
  • Gooru: Personalized learning platform with learning content from a variety of disciplines mapped to customized and AI driven learner experiences.
  • Stride Learning Solutions: Innovative digital curriculum, technology, instruction, and support enabling you to create a learning environment that is just right for your students
  • GradPoint: Rigorous online curriculum, assessments, data, and reports in an easy-to-use Pearson owned LMS for blended and personalized learning
  • Summit Learning: The digital content and learning management system for the Summit Learning Network of schools that includes both project-based learning and personalized content and skill development.
  • Thrively: A unique strength-based content delivery and learning system that focuses on SEL skill-development and student well-being.

Next-generation K-12 platforms

  • Area9 Lyceum: Personalized and adaptive learning solution with new launch of Capable product which serves as an LMS that meets the needs of personalized, competency-based, and project-based learning designs.
  • Cortex: Cortex is an integrated SIS and LMS that can create personalized learning progressions for students that allow students to own their own data and drive their own learning.
  • Headrush Learning: A learner-centered learning management system that embraces project-based learning and competency-based assessment that allows learners to contribute and design.
  • Empower: Personalized learning LMS adopted by the Marzano Academies.
  • Lift Learning: A project-based learning platform built to be competency-based.
  • Project Foundry: A personalized and project-based platform
  • A mobile first social learning platform from LifeLab Studios with personalized content and sharings used in schools and small group growth settings.

Primarily higher education

  • Blackboard: Provides a range of LMSs, and is a HigherEd leader; owns Angel and Moodlerooms.
  • itslearning: A Norway-based system that offers a full-suite of LMS features, designed primarily for blended learning.
  • Moodle: An open-source, integrated system that helps create personalized learning environments.
  • Sakai: An open-source, flexible alternative to commercial learning systems.
  • Fishtree: A Dublin-based, adaptive learner-relationship-management tool to scale personalized learning (see podcast on Columbus MS).
  • RealizeIt: A Dublin-based adaptive learning platform, mostly focused in career and technical education.
  • Revel: HigherEd interactive learning environment owned by Pearson that enables students to read, practice and study.

Think your solution should be included? Write to us at [email protected].

This Smart List is sponsored by Getting Smart Services, Getting Smart’s consulting division that helps schools, districts, networks and impact-oriented partners create, implement and amplify thought leadership campaigns, education initiatives, powerful learning experiences and forward-leaning strategies. Learn more about what they can do to support your education initiatives here.

Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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