Forum .LRN Q&A: Interesting Information Originating from a Study Funded by the European Web-edu Project

From Paulsen, M. F. (2003). Experiences with Learning Management Systems in 113 European Institutions. Educational Technology & Society, 6 (4), 134-148, Available at

"European market is not dominated by the American LMS systems. In countries that do not use English as the first language, locally developed LMS systems have successfully ousted the American products. Remarkably, a large number of the LMS systems used in Europe are commercial systems developed locally, or self-developed systems built by the institutions."

Most common used systems at these 113 European institutions:

      European systems
ClassFronter (16 institutions)
TopClass (7 institutions)
LUVIT (5 institutions)
Tutor2000 (5 institutions)
    North American systems
WebCT (20 institutions)
BlackBoard (14 institutions)
FirstClass (7 institutions)
Lotus Learning Space (6 institutions)

"Southern European analysis showed that the commercial systems can be very easy to start with, but they may have problems with linguistic issues, as well as with assessment tools, suitability to target groups, and pricing. Many systems seem to have problems with content creation and content management, student monitoring, and assessment tools. Online administration and integration with other systems and platforms were also insufficient."

Another very important point:
user-friendliness, cost-effectiveness, integration, openness, and adaptability where of special interest

More summarized information here:

Blackboard has only 14 adopters??? Aaargh...that report must be outdated!

Blackboard has swept The Netherlands under its feet litterally storming into every university in this country. And, I just think it's stupid to see how all these universities blindly shell out money to pay for a solution that is not worth the price (as compared to .LRN). Netherlands alone has over 14 installations for sure, starting at the top from Groningen to the tip in Maastricht.

  1. Universiteit van Amsterdam (
  2. Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam(
  3. Delft University of Technology (
  4. University of Groningen(
  5. Universiteit Leiden ( I use it at my faculty, and I can tell you, it is a rip-off for a primitive application !!
  6. Tilburg university ( previously called Katholieke Universiteit Brabant
  7. Universiteit Maastricht (
  8. Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen (
  9. Erasmus Universiteit (
  10. Universiteit Utrecht (
  11. Katholieke Theologische Universiteit te Utrecht (
  12. Wageningen University. (
  13. Open Universiteit (not sure of the Web address)

I am not adding in the Hogeschools (technical schools that offer education that is now equivalent to a Bachelors under the Dutch BaMA system). For, they in Leiden, Groningen etc.,

In Belgium you can already see BB implementations in

  1. Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (
  2. Universiteit Limburg (

And, from what I have noticed in my faculty (information sciences btw) one cares about looking at good and cost-effective solutions for the university. No one's bothered actually. All are in their own little worlds, teaching jobs and research projects. Or maybe I am wrong again. I wish I am. I would really like to meet anyone in any of these universities who could use any help, and work together to help Dutch universities and well, the Dutch government invest their valuable money into good education rather than on licenses of expensive software solutions, especially when there are better alternatives in place.

The number 14 represents adoptees among the institutions surveyed, not the total in all of Europe.
I realised that it was amongst the 113 institutions, but felt the conclusion that American / commercial products were not making much inroads, (hence, maybe nothing to worry) would just create a false notion that Europe is an open field to walk across and promote OpenACS. Maybe my assumption is flawed but, BB seems to be turning into a MasterBrand. Do we have a vague listing of people from different universities in Europe who are on, who could be approached to help present OpenACS/.LRN in their institutions. Especially, people who come from universties using BB, and capable of knocking on the right doors...
"Do we have a vague listing of people from different universities in Europe who are on"

I am maintaing a list of dotLRN case studies (, that of course includes some european, 9 so far (with different levels of adoption):

Heidelberg, Vienna, UNED, Cambridge, Copenhagen, Bergen, Free Univ. of Berlin, Heilbronn, and American Univ of Bulgaria (a pilot)

Information about any other ones would be appreciated


Venkatesh. You are quite correct. Blackboard and WebCT together probably have 90%+ of the U.S. market, expect to capture similar market share in UK/Europe over the next 12 months, and are aggressively targeting the Eastern markets, particularly China and India. Both companies are gaining strength and have very capable, experienced managers.

We are actively developing a marketing strategy, but will not begin to roll it out until .LRN v2 is released. .LRN still has many rough edges and we can't take on these commercial products head on until some of these are addressed in releases 2.0 and 2.1.