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The recently published Ovum report, Ovum Decision Matrix: Selecting an Online Learning Platform for Higher Education, 2015–16, features a comparative analysis of online learning platforms (OLPs) in higher education, providing institutions with analysis to inform the selection process based on a vendor's technology and market strengths, as well as its ability to support next-generation online learning. Ovum has highlighted the vendor solutions that it perceives to be the market leaders, challengers, and niche players.

Institutions should consider an OLP to support next-generation online teaching and learning

Delivering exceptional online learning will be the key differentiator for institutions in the future. In a global industry, institutions that differentiate on the academic experience and performance outcomes are likely to meet the ongoing expectations of the student population, attract and retain more students, and advance the institution's reputation in an increasingly competitive market. Doing this requires an OLP that can support an evolving and more dynamic approach to online learning.

The OLP has evolved from the traditional learning management system (LMS) to support next-generation online learning. Although the traditional LMS has successfully enabled course management and administration, it has fallen short in delivering on the promise of innovating teaching and learning. As institutions invest more in OLPs new entrants are coming in, and as these increase the level of competition, vendors are making significant investments in the quality and capabilities of their solutions. For example, by upgrading their solutions and services and investing more in research and development, OLP providers have captured revenue and established a strong competitive position.

Ovum's research suggests that the ability to support next-generation online teaching and learning, from supporting a diverse array of pedagogical techniques to allowing learners to personalize their learning experience, is critical to an OLP's ability to provide long-term value to institutions. Without question, the higher education industry has not yet fully embraced next-generation online teaching and learning, but Ovum believes that as market forces make this approach a necessity and vendors rethink their OLP offerings, the transition will occur.


Further reading

Ovum Decision Matrix: Selecting an Online Learning Platform for Higher Education, 2015–16, IT0008-000245 (September 2015)

Enterprise Case Study: Increasing the Strategic Importance of Online Learning, IT0008-000239 (July 2015)


Navneet Johal, Research Analyst, Education Technology

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