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 provides an end-to-end solution.

No, it is not exporting content cartridges. While a good idea in principle, those export formats come with limitations:

  • compatibility problems
  • functionality driven by the least common denominator of target systems
  • no usage information flows back once content was exported, so you do not have analytics or recommendation data
  • digital rights cannot be managed in a way that does not disrupt the user experience

In an apparently monolithic structure like this, how can you innovate? The structure itself needs to be modular, so that new content processes and business processes can be plugged into the existing infrastructure.

Course Management

Educational content should not live on an island. While independent learners are welcome in our system, our particular focus is weaving granular content into connected and organized learning venues: courses.

LON-CAPA lets educators manage these courses in a diverse set of environments: schools, colleges, and universities; for-credit, open, blended, or massively online.