While LON-CAPA-NG’s approach to providing an educational object economy is unique, we are operating in a competitive landscape of existing components. Each of these components, operating within their respective silos, has characteristics that our system components have to measure up against.

We have a sustainable advantage by providing an end-to-end solution for an educational object economy, which is based on 20 years of experience and research in assessment and learning content management, as well as patent pending innovations. The time and cost to replicate our work are exceptional. The competition is entrenched in providing solutions that are located in specific silos of the industry, while we are providing an integrated approach that crosses the content and platform industry – the best of both worlds, by educators for educators.

Learning Content LON-CAPA Course Management Systems
Textbook eText iTunesU® Online Homework Systems Digital Libraries BlackBoard XpLor® Corporate Open Source
WebAssign®, OWL®, Mastering®, … NSDL, Merlot, … BlackBoard®, Desire2Learn®, … Moodle, Sakai, …
Cost to Learner high high, no resale variable or free variable or bundled free free low or free free free
Cost to Institution free free free free free yet unclear low or free high free, but possibly high Total Cost of Ownership
Enterprise Level Support n/a no limited limited no yet unclear yes yes no, but service companies exist
Immediate Cross-Institutional Sharing of Faculty-Authored Content no no yes limited yes yet unclear yes no no
Content Quality high high variable high variable variable data-driven quality control n/a n/a
Platform Capability n/a variable limited variable weak yet unclear high high variable
Content Granularity course course variable course variable learning object learning object course, limited modularity with add-ons none
Licensing sold restrictive, time and location limited variable restrictive, time limited open open platform open, content variable incl. open proprietary open
Platform Technology n/a proprietary proprietary proprietary open proprietary open proprietary open
Homework Functionality n/a limited limited advanced no yes advanced yes yes
Homework CMS Integration no no no no no plugs into BlackBoard® controlled CMSs yes yes yes
Provides CMS Functionality no no no limited no plugs into BlackBoard® controlled CMSs yes yes yes
Campus Infrastructure Integration no no no no no plugs into BlackBoard® controlled CMSs optional optional, for service fee optional
Data-Driven Content Recommender no no no no no no yes no no


LON-CAPA supports CAPA, the most flexible, powerful, and expandable system for formative and summative assessment out there. CAPA covers everything from the most simple multiple choice responses to sophisticated symbolic math, and allows all components to be mixed and matched into complex multipart and multiple-response structures. All components of problems can be randomized, so that different students get different versions of the same problem.

CAPA has a superset of most any homework and exam systems’ functionality, and thus content from several other systems has successfully been ported into CAPA.


Content that has been woven together can immediately be used in courses, there are no exporting and importing hoops to go through – and no compatibility problems, either. The system provides the navigation and management of dates and associated discussions.

Learners are presented with a coherent user experience, which does not require them to switch back and forth between systems, juggle different user interfaces, or navigate back and forth between different components of a course. Course components can be arranged by pedagogical considerations rather than according to system cubbyholes: assessment can be embedded into content, discussions can be attached to content, etc.