Association LMS: An Interview with Paul Terry of Blackboard

BY Celisa Steele

This week, as we’re nearing the end of our series (three more to go) on the association LMS providers we track, we feature an interview with Blackboard.

In this six-and-half-minute audio-only interview, I talk with Paul Terry, general manager for Blackboard ProEd.

Paul speaks to four topics:

  1. Who is Blackboard, and what does the company do?
  2. What differentiates Blackboard from other LMS companies working in the association space?
  3. Blackboard serves a range of markets—from the K-12 market to the higher ed market, from corporations to government. What similarities does Blackboard see across all of those markets in terms of the needs and expectations of an LMS? What makes Blackboard unique for associations?
  4. What’s coming down the pike for learning in the next couple of years?

Answering that final question, Paul highlights social learning as something he expects to see only more of in the coming years—and something he believes associations need to harness.

Associations…need to capture the peer-to-peer engagement experience. The more an association can capture and build upon that, the more value add it will provide its members. According to some statistics, the peer-to-peer dialog and learning accounts for close to 70 percent of learning today. There definitely are systems, including Blackboard, which I believe are doing a much better job capturing that type of learning. It will allow us to expand the entire learning environment.

The growing prevalence and power of social learning earned it a place in Jeff’s year-end “12 Trends Disrupting the Market for Lifelong Learning” post on this blog. While social learning is arguably as old as learning itself, it has gotten a makeover from the boom in social media and come to feel at home online as well as off. As Paul points out, associations increasingly have to think about how they can facilitate social learning—and that may even mean educating their members and customers on how to leverage social learning effectively.


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