Canvas LMS Review

Canvas LMS
Salt Lake City, UT
Deployment Model:
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Canvas LMS At A Glance

Good: Canvas Studio, a new-generation tool that makes educational videos more collaborative.
Bad: No built-in gamification features, but Canvas can integrate with third-party tools that allow gamification.
Bottom Line: An LMS created for educational institutions, Canvas was designed to better engage users in the teaching and learning processes.

Product Overview

Instructure is a software provider focusing on dynamic learning management systems (LMSs) that streamline teaching tasks for various settings. One of those systems is Canvas LMS, which was created for educational institutions. Developed in 2011, Canvas LMS was designed to better engage users in the teaching and learning processes.

Instructure has an integrated and inclusive video platform for online teaching called Canvas Studio. Canvas Studio provides the ability to easily upload and share videos to a digital classroom, as well as let students and instructors comment on videos to create conversations. It also offers Canvas Catalog, a solution that allows institutions to provide a branded online course catalog to its students. Some of the Canvas Catalog features include customizable page templates, a content editor, custom dashboards and personalized certificates.

While Canvas is mainly geared towards schools, Instructure offers the Canvas for Corporate Education tool for organizations that want to develop employee training programs.


Features of Canvas include:

  • Unlimited file size
  • Outcomes – (aka standards or competencies) Outcomes describe what a learner should be able to do and are used to measure knowledge and ability.
  • MasteryPaths – This tool allows course content to automatically be released to a learner based on performance, providing differentiation to students.
  • Canvas Data – Canvas Data allows instructors to parse Canvas-generated data quickly.
  • Canvas Commons – Canvas Commons is a repository that lets users easily share content.
  • Speedgrader™ – With Speedgrader app for iOS and Android, teachers can preview student submissions, provide feedback and annotate homework submissions in a single frame.
  • Integrated Media Recorder – This tool allows users to record audio and video messages for the digital classroom.
  • Web conferencing – Set a meeting time for the whole class or one-on-one synchronous online discussions.
  • Mastery GradeBook – Helps instructors assess the Outcomes being used in Canvas courses and measure student learning for accreditation or standards-based grading.
  • Canvas on mobile – Native iOS and Android apps that allow students to take an entire course from their mobile device.
  • Canvas Parent – Canvas Parent allows parents to engage with their children’s education by reviewing upcoming or past assignments, checking grades and receiving course announcements.
  • Canvas Polls – A mobile app that gauges students’ comprehension of material without “clicker” devices.
  • Elevate K-12 Analytics (formerly Videri) – An analytics solution that combines data from different sources (e.g., Student Information Systems, assessment tools) to give administrators and teachers real-time insights to students’ test scores and other metrics. Some of its features include custom dashboards, pre-defined metrics, out-of-the-box visualizations and multi-year analysis).
  • Canvas Student Pathways – An integrated solution designed only for higher education students, Student Pathways empowers learners to navigate their academic journeys up to graduation. Some of its features include customizable pathways, a lifelong digital portfolio, custom digital badges that recognize milestones and achievements, and social sharing.
  • Integration with Microsoft Teams, Google Assignments, Nearpod, Discovery Education and other third-party solutions

Target Market

Instructure aims to help educational and corporate organizations bring rich content to their learners, no matter the size or industry.

  • Canyons School District (UT)
  • Olathe Public Schools (KS)
  • Temple University
  • University of California, Davis
  • Santa Ana Unified School District (CA)
  • Northwest Line
  • Coastal Alabama Community College
  • Virginia Community College System
  • Brown University
  • San Jose State University

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Instructure’s learning management platforms are cloud-based, making implementation a quick, simple process. It offers implementation consulting (e.g., remote project manager, custom deployment plans) and data migration services.

Customer Service & Support

Instructure has a support page where users can find their own answers, join community groups and share ideas.

The vendor’s customer service representatives are available via email and phone.


Instructure doesn’t publicly release pricing information. However, we’ve researched the vendor’s pricing model.

Please contact the vendor directly for a price quote.


Canvas doesn’t have gamification features built into its learning management solution. However, it can integrate with a variety of third party tools for users who want to use gamification in their teaching methods.


Instructure Screenshot 1
Instructure Screenshot 2
Instructure Screenshot 3


Instructure was founded in 2008 with the mission to create software that makes people smarter.

Building on this goal, the vendor launched Canvas in 2011, which is now used by over 6,000 universities, school districts and institutions globally. Bridge was launched in 2015 to change the way employees engage with training materials.

Canvas has been recognized as a robust learning platform numerous organizations, such as the 2020 EdTech Award in the LMS Category.

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