Canvas vs Blackboard: Which is better LMS for small business?

Canvas and Blackboard LMS provide an interactive digital space for your business to train your workforce effectively. In the ever-changing marketplace, it has become necessary for small and large businesses to focus on the professional development and upskilling of their employees to stay relevant. Learning and Development (L&D) focuses on training new and old employees, polishing their skills, providing them career growth opportunities, which increases employee retention and satisfaction.

In the past, companies mostly focused on traditional face-to-face instructor-led training where employees had to leave their assigned jobs for a day or more to learn about new skills in a training room. Now with smart technologies and remote working opportunities during the pandemic, Corporate Learning Management Systems (LMS) have made learning easier, anywhere and anytime.

Corporate LMS saves you the time and cost of arranging classroom training, including travel and accommodation expenditures. Employees can learn at their own pace and time without disrupting their routine activities. The useful analytics tool of LMS provides you detailed insights into employees’ performance and lets you improve your training program based on their deficiencies and needs.

Although there are numerous corporate LMS available in the market based on different enterprise needs, let’s have a look at two of the leading LMS vendors: Canvas and Blackboard.

Canvas LMS for Business Overview

Developed by Instructure in 2011, Canvas is a cloud-based learning management system (LMS) designed for learners, educators, and business leaders. With its easy-to-use and customizable tools and intuitive interface, Canvas provides an interactive platform to boost the learning experience.

Though Canvas LMS mainly focuses on academic learning, Instructure also offers Canvas LMS for Business, an engaging and fully SaaS learning management software dedicated to organizations to develop training programs for employees to enhance their interpersonal skills.

With the Canvas for Business tool, the trainers create engaging training programs for onboarding and ongoing employees, incorporate interactive videos, and answer their queries. It helps the organization retain its valuable employees by providing them with skill development opportunities.

In 2016, Instructure launched Canvas Studio, an integrated next-generation video-learning platform that enhanced the engagement and learning experience. It enables the instructors to easily upload course or training videos in the digital classroom and allows students to watch, share, and comment to improve collaboration.

Blackboard LMS for Business Overview

Blackboard is a leading Edtech company that harnesses the power of technology to push the boundaries of learning and development. Blackboard Learn (previously known as Blackboard LMS) is an interactive, modern, and open-source platform that allows clients to host or attend online courses.

Blackboard Learn provides customizable tools to instructors to support their pedagogical approach. They can create courses, quizzes, assignments, make announcements and interact with students online. With its mobile-responsiveness design and application, students, instructors, and businesses can gain accessibility anywhere, anytime.

With its upgraded version and SaaS feature, Blackboard Learn “Ultra” provides a seamless collaborative experience to educators and businesses. Ultra comes with a built-in Blackboard Collaborate feature which is a web-conferencing tool for real-time interaction. It’s helpful in one-on-one meetings and group sessions.

Blackboard for Business aims at providing a learning and development platform to companies and employees. The engaging corporate learning platform provides an opportunity for employees to learn on the go. During pandemic situations, Ultra and Collaborate tools are useful for web-conferencing and conducting online meetings.

Blackboard Dashboard.

Feature Comparison: Canvas LMS vs Blackboard

Alerts and NotificationsYesYes
Interactive ContentYesYes
Email SupportYesNo
Open APIYesNo

Canvas LMS vs Blackboard: Learning Tools

Canvas Studio by Canvas LMS allows you to virtually interact with your employees or clients. Be it one-on-one meetings, group meetings, training, or any other form of meetup, Canvas Studio offers a bundle of learning and sharing features.

It allows you to convert the passive, boring viewing experience into an engaging interactive session with your employees. Trainers can collaborate with employees in a secure digital space without the risk of any confidentiality threat to your organization.

Following are some significant features of Canvas LMS:

  • Mastery Paths: MasteryPaths allow instructors to configure differentiated learning content that is automatically delivered to students based on their individual source assignment scores.
  • Canvas Commons: sort of a digital library with all course content that lets you find, import, and share files.
  • SpeedGrader: it allows you to view and grade employees’ quizzes and assignments quickly.
  • Videri: this tool collects data from trainees’ scores and other pre-defined benchmarks and metrics by the instructor and then provides useful insights.
  • Mastery Gradebook: an automated platform for monitoring the performance of trainees.

Blackboard Learn provides more or less similar tools as Canvas LMS with different names and slightly different approaches. The functionality and diversity of Blackboard’s features are vastly enhanced with Learn Ultra.

With its Corporate LMS, Blackboard aims for you to invest in your greatest assets; your employees, to help you gain a competitive advantage. Following are some features of Blackboard Learn Ultra:

  • Survey Tool: lets you develop organizational and employee satisfaction surveys.
  • GradeBook Access: trainees can view and monitor the whole grading process
  • Alerts & Push Notifications: you can send personalized alerts to specific trainees or send push notifications through the mobile phone about any announcement
  • Activity Stream: allows trainees to keep track of their progress in all training
  • Analytics tool: gives you insights on how an employee is performing in quizzes and other activities.

Customer Support

Canvas LMS and Blackboard Learn both provide customer support via calls, chats, live support, and tickets. Canvas has a dedicated community forum where you can ask questions and read FAQs.

Blackboard LMS offers similar support as Canvas, and it also provides YouTube tutorials and user guides. However, email support is not available for Blackboard users.

Both of them can serve small, medium, and large enterprises.


Both of the tools have cloud-based hosting but only Blackboard provides an on-premise option for your business. If you’re looking for a quicker solution for implementation, then Canvas setup typically takes less time than an on-premise setup.

With its open application programming interface (API), you can integrate Canvas LMS with any system or application you use in your work. On the other hand, Blackboard comes with limited options of integration, such as school information systems (SIS), Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, and PowerSchool.

If you’re looking for an instant setup and cloud-based solution with no prior installation required, Canvas SaaS will work best for you. But if you’re looking to host your own data in a secure learning space, opt for Blackboard on-premise option.


Both LMS Platforms offer quote-based pricing, meaning the rates vary depending upon the number of tools, features, and add-ons required by your business.

Canvas LMS offers a 14-day trial version as well as an unlimited free trial with limited features. It charges a one-time implementation fee and then an annual subscription based on the number of users.

Blackboard Learn also offers a trial version for 30 days and then charges based upon your subscription.

Canvas LMS or Blackboard: How to choose?

Canvas LMS and Blackboard Learn provide advanced learning management solutions with plenty of significant features and tools. Although both share some similarities, there’s a difference in approach and interface. You have to look at various aspects individually to determine which caters best to your business needs.

Canvas LMS has a cleaner, user-friendly, and self-explanatory interface which makes navigation easier. Though Blackboard has several additional options, some of them are hidden and difficult to find. With Learn Ultra and an interactive mobile app, Blackboard has been continually improving its features and interface to provide you a more user-friendly and bug-free experience.

As per academic needs are concerned, Blackboard has a bundle of additional options in course creation, quizzes, assignments, surveys, grading, etc. For your business needs, Canvas LMS definitely has an edge over Blackboard Learn.

Looking for a learning management system which best caters to your business needs? We have got it covered for you. You can have a look at our LMS top Products List to compare the products and choose what’s best for your team.

Maheen Kanwal
Maheen Kanwal
Maheen Kanwal is a contributor at TechnologyAdvice. She's passionate about writing well-researched content about technology and business. As a freelancer, she has written hundreds of engaging articles and blogs over the years in various niches such as technology, business, HR, education, career, and other general stuff.

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