The History of Online Learning & the Evolution of the LMS
March 29, 2023

Online learning has become increasingly popular over the past few decades, revolutionizing the way we approach education. With the rise of the internet, the first online learning platform was created in the early 1960s, but it wasn't until the advent of the World Wide Web that online learning began to take off [1]. One of the key components of online learning is the Learning Management System (LMS), which has evolved significantly since its creation to meet the changing needs of the education industry.

Early LMS Platforms

The early LMS platforms were often designed to be used by large corporations for employee training purposes. However, they soon found their way into the education industry, and by the early 2000s, they had become an integral part of online learning. One of the first LMS platforms designed specifically for education was WebCT, which was created in 1996 by Murray Goldberg, a professor at the University of British Columbia. WebCT allowed instructors to create online courses, manage student enrollment, and track student progress [2].

Blackboard was founded in 1997 and quickly became the dominant player in the LMS market. Its platform offered an impressive range of features, including discussion forums, assignment submission, and grade tracking [3]. Blackboard's success spurred the development of many other LMS platforms, including Moodle, Canvas, Desire2Learn, Tovuti, and Docebo.

Current State of LMS Platforms

Today, LMS platforms have become more user-friendly and offer a wider range of features than ever before. They enable instructors to create multimedia-rich courses that can be accessed from anywhere in the world. They also allow for greater collaboration and communication between students and instructors, which is particularly important in today's fast-paced, digital world.


The history of online learning has been closely tied to the evolution of the LMS. From its early beginnings as a tool for corporate training to its current status as an essential component of the education industry, the LMS has come a long way in a relatively short period of time. As technology continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how LMS platforms continue to adapt and evolve to meet the changing needs of the education industry.

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