Canvas has been the #1 most popular LMS in the United States for the last three years and it’s the LMS of the world’s top universities such as Stanford University and Cornell University. Open-source by design, Canvas was launched in 2011 by two BYU graduates Brian Whitmer and Devlin Daley, and its’ popularity has shot up like a rocket since that time.

Designed to compete with the Blackboard LMS, developers of the Canvas LMS emphasized its’ simplicity, ease of use, and modern toolset. At a time when an LMS was seen as something usable only by tech-savvy people, the Canvas LMS came and proved that an LMS can be intuitive enough to be used by anyone.

Another key reason why the popularity of Canvas grew so quickly is that it had cloud-based hosting from the beginning. This was during a time when cloud-based computing was still a novel concept to most. Keep in mind that Blackboard, their biggest competitor, did not make the switch to a fully functional cloud-based infrastructure until as late as 2018.