Top 20 Most Popular LMS Software Report Methodology

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Top 20 reports are updated annually. This post was updated on 10/3/2018.

Capterra has helped many people with their software purchases over the years, and one of the most common approaches we’ve witnessed is to begin by looking at the most popular products on the market.

There is both a right way and a wrong way to do this.

The wrong way is to determine what you deem to be the two or three most popular and then use that as your shortlist, from which you do not deviate.

Why limit yourself to two offerings when there are so many other viable options?

The top 20 most popular LMS software report

The more sensible way is to begin with a longer list of market leaders and narrow that down based on your requirements and needs. Then, find other alternatives that may be lesser known but possibly a better match for your overall needs.

There are great products on the market that are either too new or too niche to have a high market share or win any sort of popularity contest.

Capterra’s “Top 20 Most Popular” infographic series is our attempt to help those buyers who take this approach to do so successfully.

There are two reasons why we decided not to create a typical market share report. First, product pricing can have a huge impact since revenue is usually the sole component of market share. Focusing on users and/or customers removes price from the equation.

Second, most software companies are private and are very hesitant to disclose their revenue. Even public companies don’t break down their revenue by product line. This means that creating an accurate view of market share would be difficult, if not impossible.

We settled on three components for our popularity index:

  • Number of customers (40%)
  • Number of end users (40%)
  • Online presence (20%)

Each of the three overall components is flawed, but all three together help compensate for the individual flaws; the end result is what we believe to be the best measure of overall popularity within a given software sector.

The research

We begin our LMS research by scouring the web for all mentions of leading LMS solutions. We also use Capterra’s LMS software directory to find which vendors have received a high number of reviews.

We also run a check of the 500+ vendors in our directory to see which ones have the highest amount of web traffic according to third-party estimates. This results in an initial list of more than 50 LMS vendors.

For each of these vendors, we attempt to find their revenue and number of users online before calling them to verify. They are surprisingly accommodating and much of the data we collect is not published anywhere, which means that a significant portion of our research is original.

The data points we collect to measure online presence include Twitter followers, Facebook likes, LinkedIn followers, and customer reviews on Gartner Digital Markets sites (Capterra, GetApp, and Software Advice).

Once we compile all of the data, we rank the vendors within each component. Our calculation of overall scores blends their raw totals with their ranking in the top 20 and weights the two equally.

The table below shows the hard data (Capterra-generated estimates are highlighted in orange):

Chart of the Top 20 most popular LMS software

One final note: Some of the vendors provided “lowball” estimates of their users or customers, so please take all of these data points with a grain of salt. And given how dynamic the LMS market is, we intend to update this report on an annual basis.

If you have any suggestions or comments, please let us know!

Looking for Learning Management System software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Learning Management System software solutions.

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About the Author

Christina Tsantes

Christina is a Product Report Specialist as part of Capterra’s software lab and a graduate from Christopher Newport University. When she’s not testing software solutions, she spends her time practicing yoga, watching reruns of Friends episodes, and attempting to learn her mother’s cooking skills.


[…] as to why Capterra is releasing a Top 20 list of popular software, refer to our CEO, Mike’s, blog post on our LMS infographic for his reasoning behind these […]

This top 20 LMS list appears to be academically slanted – what are some key differences between the needs of academic organizations and corporations for LMS’s? I work in a corporate learning environment and some of the top LMSs I know of are not on this list (SABA, Plateau, etc). That makes me think this isn’t as valuable from a corporate standpoint as it may be from an academic standpoint.

11 of the 20 serve corporations exclusively, 7 serve schools exclusively and 2 serve both corporate and academic.

Plateau Systems reportedly had 350+ customers (not sure how many users) when they were acquired by SuccessFactors in 2011. Then SAP acquired SuccessFactors in 2012. We have been unable to find out if SAP/SuccessFactors/Plateau still has 350+ LMS customers or if that has dropped off – which often happens following acquisitions like this.

Regarding Saba, they have over 700 clients and 10 million users according to their website. However, those numbers include talent management offerings other than their LMS. We have tried to get their LMS-specific numbers. When we do they will likely make this list.

Cengage and Pearson would also likely make this list but they too have been unresponsive.

Saba, Plateau, Cengage, Pearson – care to send us your numbers? We will gladly update our research.

Can you provide any insight on Canvas? Out of all the data I have seen I have not seen Canvas mentioned anywhere.

Instructure produces Canvas and they are currently #13 on the list. Does that help?

Thanks Mike,

This helps clarify the situation.

I also wonder about Kenexa/Outstart and Oracle/Taleo/ I assume that it is similarly difficult to get data.

That’s right, Don. Outstart was said to have 300+ customers when they were acquired by Kenexa last year. was said to have over 500 customers when they were acquired in 2010. We’ll certainly make an effort to reach out to these companies again when we look to republish this research – both to get an estimate of their user numbers as well as their revised customer counts. What a competitive industry LMS is…

[…] For details of the how, what, and why questions you might have please see the detailed article here: […]

[…] to increase accessibility (the hallmark of the internet). Here is the link for more information; As already mentioned, I have used Blackboard previously as a student in my own online educational […]

[…] Source : Top LMS Software Solutions Infographic. […]

Great Michael!!

As founder of EAD Builder ( I’d like to see something like this for Online Courses Authoring Tools.


I’ve seen your Authoring Tool list, but I’d like to see the results using the same methodology you used in the LMS research.

Great piece. I think you’re absolutely right — you get the best results by broadening your search. With a competitive industry like online learning software, especially when it comes to proven companies like Atrixware, you have to take into account the range of unique offerings before deciding.

I have heard of, a great lms system based on moodle

Are these numbers international or US only? I assume international based on Moodle’s total customers, but I would like to confirm.

Total across all countries.

[…] determine these 20 electronic health record leaders, Capterra used a popularity index based on the number of customers, number of users, and social presence of each of the EHR […]

If you are looking for the best online resource hub for buyers of LMS maybe I can help you.

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