Learning Management System (LMS) Review project

After a thorough LMS review, it is recommended that University of Waterloo continue with LEARN (D2L’s Brightspace), focusing on improving LEARN's impact on the learning experience. Read more in our recommendation below.

LMS Review Recommendation

It is recommended that Waterloo continue with LEARN (D2L Brightspace), focusing on improvements towards LEARN’s impact on the learning experience. Based on staff, faculty, and student feedback, current appetite for change, market research, and goals and strategies outlined in the strategic plan and 2019 IT Review, it is evident that there are issues with LEARN that need to be addressed, but now is not the time to change Waterloo’s chosen platform. Project(s) to prioritize and address opportunities for improvement will be initiated, based on feedback gathered through the survey and consultations. Further information on these projects will be shared soon.

Campus feedback

The campus survey, distributed in October 2022 to all faculty, staff, and students, indicated a 78% satisfaction rate with LEARN. Results of the survey and focus group sessions indicate there is little appetite for change currently, regardless of issues impacting the user experience and use of LEARN that are due to factors such as

  • Waterloo’s processes/workflows/policies
  • Brightspace product gaps or perceived deficiencies
  • current LEARN configuration
  • training/knowledge gaps

Additional feedback indicates:

  • Respondents are experiencing change fatigue and worry about the time required for or necessity of transitioning to a new platform
  • Justification for a change must include a significant gain in the benefits and should not be based solely on costs
  • LEARN should
    • be user friendly
    • act as a digital centre of students’ courses
    • meet and support accessibility, privacy and security requirements
    • be fast and responsive
    • provide easy creation of content and access to data for analysis
    • support mobile devices, live video capabilities, and student collaboration
    • be flexible enough to allow for use in various ways, including those not yet anticipated.

Please view the LMS Review: Final Report to learn more about information collected to form this decision (authentication required).


Please contact Pam Fluttert, fluttert@uwaterloo.ca with questions or concerns.

About the Learning Management System (LMS) Review project

The contract for D2L Brightspace (LEARN), the University's current Learning Management System (LMS), is expiring October 31, 2023. Policy 17 requires procurement activities to be conducted in a fair, impartial and transparent manner in compliance with legal provisions and resulting in an optimal outcome for the University. These findings will inform a recommendation on how the University should proceed to ensure an agile, sustainable LMS continues to meet the University’s teaching and learning needs. If the University should choose to initiate a bidding process, an approach to licensing and resourcing to support a transition will be included in the recommendation. Consultations will include a review of the current LMS to determine where there may be gaps with current and future requirements.

Objectives of this work

There are three major deliverables for this project:

  • Internal review with staff, instructors, and students to determine requirements for Waterloo’s LMS of the future
  • External review of the market and trends
  • Final recommendation for LMS renewal

Work plan

In addition to an environmental scan, the team's work will primarily be driven by consultations with key University stakeholders, including:

  • Support staff (consultations were held between June and September 2022)
  • Instructors and students (consultation were held during the fall 2022 term)
  1. 2023
    1. Dec
      1. Two reports on findings available to campus (Fall 2023)

        • LMS Review Recommendation Report
        • LMS Survey & Consultation Summary Report 

  2. 2022
    1. Nov
      1. All focus groups completed

    2. Oct
      1. LMS Review campus survey closed

      2. LMS Review campus survey opened

      3. Focus groups with students and instructors started

    3. Sep
      1. LMS Review project launch and notice to campus

      2. LMS market environmental scan and peer institution LMS review consultations complete

    4. Jun
      1. Focus groups with staff started

    5. May
      1. Ontario Education Collaborative Marketplace (OECM) procurement participation started

    6. Mar
      1. LMS Review project planning started

Learn more

How to get involved

If you have feedback, comments, or questions about this work, please contact Pam Fluttert, Director, Instructional Technologies and Media Services (ITMS), IST.