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Usability of Learning Management Systems for Instructors – The Case of Canvas

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNISA,volume 12784)


The past 30 years have seen increased adoption of learning management systems (LMSs) in education. Several studies have investigated the usability of LMSs for students. However, very few studies have assessed the usability from the instructors’ perspective. Usability issues can pose challenges for instructors who use LMSs to create, manage and deliver courses. These challenges require instructors to spend extra time and energy on tackling the challenges rather on teaching-related tasks, which will have negative impacts on learners’ experiences and learning outcomes. This paper aims to identify usability challenges in LMSs for instructors. We used Canvas as an example and conducted user testing with 35 university instructors in computer science and engineering disciplines. Pre- and post-interviews were transcribed and analyzed together with the observation data during their use of Canvas to carry out tasks. The results show that, although Canvas has made continuous efforts to improve its usability, instructors still face some usability challenges. Instructors are a diverse user group for LMSs. Further research should consider recruiting participants from other disciplines and investigating other LMSs to identify possibilities for improving general usability of digital tools for instructors.


  • Learning management system (LMS)
  • Usability
  • Instructor
  • Canvas

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-77889-7_14
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    Learning management system (LMS) market report by Meticulous Research:

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    Our Story | Instructure:

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    10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design:

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    The Canvas Community:


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The authors would like to thank all participants in this study. The project is funded by Faculty of Technology, Art, and Design at Oslo Metropolitan University.

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Correspondence to Weiqin Chen .

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Chen, W., Sanderson, N.C., Nichshyk, A., Bong, W.K., Kessel, S. (2021). Usability of Learning Management Systems for Instructors – The Case of Canvas. In: Zaphiris, P., Ioannou, A. (eds) Learning and Collaboration Technologies: New Challenges and Learning Experiences. HCII 2021. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 12784. Springer, Cham.

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