Blackboard Learn was first released in 1999 and has been in use at Emory University since 2002. By 2007, Blackboard Learn had over 70% of the LMS market in higher education, but now stands at 40 to 45%. Blackboard is shifting to a cloud-based LMS service—meaning prompt introduction of functional improvements and new features can be achieved quickly.
Canvas, developed by Instructure and first released in 2011, is a cloud-based LMS service that emphasizes simplicity, ease-of-use, and modern design. The development team releases new features and fixes to the Canvas system every three weeks. Canvas has quickly gained significant adoption in higher education. It is now in use at 500 education institutions, and has about 7 million users.