The demand for academic computer solutions such as learning management systems is set for accelerated growth within higher education institutions, according to a recent study from Eduventures, a research and consulting firm that focuses on the education market. In its report, “Postsecondary Academic Computing: Identifying Opportunities Beyond the LMS,” Eduventures finds that mounting external pressures for institutional accountability is one of the factors driving this growth.
The study shows higher education institutions are using academic computing technologies, including LMSs, to support the process and delivery of learning, facilitate online collaborative communications, and collect, report, and manage student learning data. According to the study, the academic computing market will finish the year at $463 million, with an expected 11 percent annual growth rate through 2009.
With a 90 percent adoption rate among U.S. higher education campuses, LMS use is growing as providers expand their platforms’ capabilities. In addition, vendors are capitalizing on the continued growth and acceptance of online learning. LMS providers on the whole are seeking to extend their solutions into adjacent areas currently served by niche suppliers, particularly in the learning outcomes management (LOM) and communication and collaboration segments.
The LOM segment, which is comprised of products that support development, delivery, reporting and management of assessment-related activities, has emerged as a new source of opportunity for both LMS providers and niche suppliers. Although it remains the smallest of those in the academic computing market, LOM stands to benefit from the increasing pressures colleges and universities face regarding student performance and institutional accountability, the study found.
Because the communication and collaboration segment is positioned at the intersection of changes in instruction, shifting student learning dynamics and technology enhancements, it will experience some of the most significant near-term changes among the academic computing technology market, the study found. In its broadest definition, the segment encompasses social networking tools and shared workplace tools. From a commercial standpoint, however, this segment is dominated by revenues earned by virtual classroom platform suppliers, Eduventures analysts maintained.