Canvas by Instructure

Canvas LMS: A Catalyst for Change at General Assembly

Transforming Remote Learning Experiences


New York, NY

1,000+ Users

Adopted Canvas: 2024


General Assembly, a part of The Adecco Group, boasts a remote culture with approximately 1,000 global employees. Since 2011, they've helped over 100,000 alumni worldwide launch tech careers and assisted numerous top companies in building diverse, scalable tech talent pipelines. Facing challenges in delivering seamless learning experiences, GA sought a new LMS to enhance instructor flexibility, streamline grading, and improve scalability. Their solution? Canvas LMS.

The Challenge

General Assembly faced significant obstacles with their previous LMS, leading them to seek a more robust solution for remote and blended learning environments. Feedback from instructors and students emphasized the urgent need for a platform to accommodate their evolving educational needs.

Transitioning LMS platforms posed challenges for the company, especially in cost management and change implementation. Despite initial expenses, they recognized the long-term benefits and savings. A comprehensive costbenefit analysis played a crucial role in justifying the investment and gaining support.

Effective change management was vital, requiring stakeholder buy-in and ensuring a smooth transition for all users. Early engagement, including testing and course pilots, facilitated a successful transition process.

Key Insights

Leveraging data-driven insights, General Assembly embarked on a thorough exploration, leading them to Canvas as a comprehensive and adaptable platform.

Canvas' tailored features and flexible design offered a promising solution to their diverse educational challenges.

General Assembly continues to discover new benefits as they dive deeper into the platform.

The Solution

General Assembly sought a comprehensive solution and found it in Canvas LMS. Through a thorough evaluation process drawing on user feedback and data analysis, they identified key user personas and meticulously assessed Canvas against their requirements.

“We put Canvas to the test in the truest fashion! We conducted two pilot programs with real instructors and students to assess Canvas' performance in a real teaching and learning environment,” said Heather Luna, Technical Product Manager, General Assembly. “This evaluation process provided invaluable insights, enabling us to adopt an evidence-based approach in selecting the best solution for our needs, which ended up being Canvas.”

The LMS Scorecard

The LMS scorecard was GA’s key metric – it represented personas and functions across their organization, incorporating over 100 user stories with humanization to foster empathy. Each story was assigned a status and rated on a scale from 0 to 1.5. Canvas emerged victorious in all personas and functions, often by double the margin.

General Assembly embraced inclusivity and fun throughout the LMS selection process. Engaging stakeholders not only fostered trust in their capabilities but also in the platform's potential. They prioritized transparency, acknowledging that Canvas, like any tool, has its limitations. By openly addressing areas for improvement, they can collaborate with stakeholders to find acceptable solutions. As they proposed the change from their old LMS to Canvas, they're backed by a supportive team ready to champion positive transformation every step of the way.

GA's transition to Canvas has been met with overwhelming enthusiasm from employees and users alike. The platform's seamless integration and robust features have not only met but exceeded expectations, setting the stage for future growth and innovation.

That’s What’s Cool About Canvas

Their excitement birthed "That's What's Cool About Canvas," a series highlighting features like the link validator, accessibility checker, and speed grader, which tackle pain points like superheroes saving the day. The goal? To make learning about Canvas enjoyable, informative, and relatable, fostering empathy among users. These episodes have become a hit at GA’s Demo Days. This infectious enthusiasm drives change management and eases the transition to Canvas with minimal pushback.

The Results

The adoption of Canvas has greatly empowered GA, helping them meet current goals and set the stage for future success while enhancing their ability to serve students and clients. The versatility offered by Canvas solutions has sparked exploration into additional opportunities like Canvas Credentials, exemplifying its potential to improve educational offerings.

"With Canvas, the possibilities really are limitless. Whether it involves leveraging Canvas solutions, supporting applications natively, or through LTI plugins, we are confident in Canvas' ability to support our organization's evolving needs," said Luna.

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