Chapter License: CC-BY
Developer: PowerSchool
Price: Formerly free to access; paid options
Summary: A cloud-based online social network LMS.


Schoology is owned by PowerSchool, which is based in California, USA (PowerSchool, 2020). Schoology was purchased by PowerSchool in October 2019 (PowerSchool, 2019). PowerSchool’s main focus is on K-12 education and provides assistance to schools for a number of things including education itself along with tracking attendance, analytics, state reporting, finance, and human resources. They can be found in 80 countries and support 45 million students within those countries.

Schoology is a cloud-based online social network learning management system created in 2007 by four college students: Jeremy Friedman, Ryan Hwang, Tim Trinidad, and Billkindler (Priyatno, 2017). It won the CODiE award in 2014 for best education solution for K-12 and higher education and learning management system. It was also a finalist for best K-12 course or learning management solution in 2015 (Priyatno, 2017). Schoology is an LMS system, similar to Blackboard, that allows students to access learning materials from anywhere. How it differs from Blackboard is through the ability to provide personalized delivery for each student (PowerSchool, 2020). Also different from Blackboard, it allows the easy use of either Microsoft or Google documents, as well as other third-party applications. The system focuses on streamlining design and resources among different schools within the same district, which is again different from other LMS designs and purposes. Further, there are public resources available. Teachers can access any public resources available within Schoology and populate them into their own class, same with group resources. This allows all teachers using Schoology to share resources and basically create their own open educational resources within the LMS (adventures in ISTEM, 2020). The features heavily featured throughout their site are Instructional Tools, Communication and Collaboration, Mobile App, Data, Analytics, and Personalized Learning, interoperability, and Assessment Management (Schoology, 2020c).

Critique and Implications for Education


One study done by Napitupulu et al. (2020) in Indonesia found that students appreciated the ease of access to course materials and the flexibility allowed with using this LMS for learning said material or submitting assignments. This study specifically looked at Schoology’s usefulness within a chemistry course, and it found that it had further advantages when creating complex, scientific, mathematical questions by allowing for “formulas, reactions, chemical symbols, superscripts and subscripts” (p 184).

Another study that reviewed the test results for Nursing students learning English found that students scored higher on post-tests compared to those learning strictly from lecture-based classes (Rachman, 2019). They found there was a significant difference between those in lecture-based learning (61.05) versus those using Schoology (84) in achieving the course’s learning outcomes. From this, they concluded that the use of Schoology reduced the students’ risk of memory loss, likely because of flexible access to the material.

It seems that Schoology, as an LMS, helps improve students’ ability to achieve learning outcomes and increases their independence studies by encouraging active learning and self-directed learning outside of the classroom (Irawan et al, 2017; Priyatno, 2017). Further, it encourages peer interaction through group learning and sharing materials found from various sources, and thus increasing student’s mastery of concepts (Irawan et al, 2017).

Another advantage found was the ease of use for faculty and made a direct comparison to Facebook in its accessibility and set up (Ferdianto, 2019; Priyatno, 2017). Similar to other social media platforms, it allows students and faculty to comment and click Like for each post and comment, which opens up the ability to freely provide frequent feedback. Faculty in this study also commented on the fact that this platform removed unwanted access to comments and ads usually visible on social media platforms such as YouTube when embedded into the LMS. It seems that faculty within Ferdianto’s study (2019) highly recommended the LMS based on the ability to collaborate with not only the students but also fellow faculty, parents, and community members. One disadvantage of all the collaboration is within the LMS itself. Schoology does not allow for faculty to moderate student content, discussion, or comments (University of Houston, 2020), which could result in inappropriate comments, discrimination, and bullying.

When reviewing prior knowledge, it was stated that this blended learning through Schoology allowed for self-paced learning and those without prior knowledge could learn more slowly without fear of holding peers back or negative social consequences (Irawan et al, 2017). This also allowed students to learn the theoretical components of a subject at their own pace while having it reinforced in face-to-face class time through practicum (Irawan et al, 2017). One negative found was that students required, at times, to be reminded of the instructional material repeatedly by faculty (Roqobih, F., Yuliani, & Rahayu, Y., 2019). This, like other LMS software, does not seem to be a sole problem of Schoology, but more of a problem of habit.

Another benefit of Schoology that sets it apart from Blackboard and Canvas is the integration and capability with over 200 learning applications and tools, including both Microsoft and Google platforms (Schoology, 2020d). This diversity in accessible apps allows faculty to have greater flexibility in their course design and, hopefully, increase student engagement. Further, it would allow for the use of different instructional tools, which allows faculty to accommodate different learning styles (Priyatno, 2017).


As stated earlier, this LMS allows resources to be shared throughout the school board, district, and community; however, this could also be considered a downside. It becomes a concern of ownership of material. At the end who would own it? Could Schoology use the course designed by another faculty member and later sell it? This became a concern once it was realized that Schoology was no longer offering the free version of its LMS – will they be moving to a fully paid service where school boards could purchase courses? This is an assumption that could be made based on the recent changes, since it only recently changed – coincidentally at the same time that a lot of schools were forced to offer blended learning.

It is unfortunate that the free option is no longer available, as discussed below, as a true examination of the LMS was not available. Another negative comment found was that the setup for the system can be cumbersome and time-consuming, but this was not mentioned on all review platforms explored (Common Sense, 2020; University of Houston, 2020).

Lastly, it was found that Schoology would no longer support higher education or corporations on their system as of 2018 (Scavicchio, 2020). Like with the free account option, they are allowing those who already have accounts created to remain, but will not be allowing new ones to join. This is a major disadvantage as it eliminates a large demographic that would benefit from this LMS design and community resources.

Access and Cost

In order to access Schoology, you will require internet access, similar to any LMS system. You can access it using a browser, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, and Google Chrome (Priyatno, 2017). Schoology is also offered through a mobile app, which is compatible with Apple, Google, and Kindle devices (Schoology, 2020c).

Schoology has two different packages: Basic, the free version, and Enterprise, the paid version (Schoology, 2020a). The basic features include instructional tools, badges, calendar, online homework submissions, assignment and events, tests and quizzes, mobile learning, online grade book and attendance, customized grading options, standards and outcomes alignments, user connection, and discussions (“Schoology in Your Classroom”, n.d.). The Enterprise version includes all of those features plus cloud service, aggregated calendars, web pages/documents/text blocking, secure messaging, SIS Integration, audio/video recording, custom branding, increased storage, priority support, and professional development (“Schoology in Your Classroom”, n.d.).

Exact information on pricing is difficult to find for Schoology as it seems they want you to contact them for a consultation. However, some information from third-party sites has indicated that the Enterprise plan costs anywhere from $7.50 to $10 per student per year, plus an additional installation cost of $1,000-4,000 and maintenance costs of an unknown amount (NEO, n.d.). They also have a minimum requirement of a 500 student package, plus a three-year contract.

As of August 19, 2020, Schoology is no longer allowing new registration to Schoology Basic (Schoology, 2020b). They claim this to be a temporary measure and are allowing those who already have the Basic free version to continue to use it. This change has also come with some changes to the original package of the Basic version. They will no longer have access to menu notifications, reminders for events, newly created tests/quizzes – they will still have access to previously created tests/quizzes, individually assigned materials, student completion rules, and course folder navigation.

About the Author

Heather Currie

Heather is a faculty member of Georgian College and teaches within several programs including Office Administration, Law Clerk, CICE, and General Education. She has a Certificate in Teaching and Training Adults, a double major B.A. Honours in Psychology & Law and Justice, Post-Graduate certificate in Human Resources Management, and a Legal Office Administration Diploma – so you could say she believes in continuing education. She is currently working on completing her Masters of Education (expected graduation date of April 2021).

In her spare time, Heather reads a lot. She helps run a Fiction Book Club online, helps run a Book Tour company, and writes book reviews on her blog (all for fun and admits to not always being good).


Adventures in ISTEM (2020, 13 April) How to get started with Schoology and key features that make it one of the best LMS to use. [Video].

Common Sense (2020). Schoology [Webpage]

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Irawan, V., Sutadji, E., & Widiyanti. (2017). Blended learning based on Schoology: Effort of improvement learning outcome and practicum chance in vocational high school. Cogent Education, 4(1).

Napitupulu, W., Walanda, D., Poba, D. & Pulukadan, S. (2020). Ace Chemistry Classroom Management with LMS Schoology. International Journal of Interactive Mobile Technologies, 14(12), 179–185.

NEO (n.d.) NEO vs Schoology [Webpage].,contract%20for%20the%20Enterprise%20plan.

PowerSchool (2019) PowerSchool to acquire schoology, creating the most comprehensive unified classroom solution for K-12 education [Press release].

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PowerSchool (n.d.) Blended learning with Schoology [Video].

Priyatno, A. (2017). Promoting learner autonomy through schoology m-learning platform in an EAP class at an Indonesian university. Teaching English with Technology, 17(2), 55–76.

Rachman, S. (2019). The Effect of E-learning Based Schoology on the Learning Outcomes in Nursing Program. IJOLTL: Indonesian Journal of Language Teaching and Linguistics, 4(3), 156–166.

Roqobih, F., Yuliani, & Rahayu, Y. (2019). Improving Student’s Creative Thinking Skill through Blended Learning using Schoology. Journal of Physics. Conference Series, 1417, 12094–12100.

Schavicchio, J. (2020). Schoology LMS Review [Webpage]

Schoology (2020a) K-12 [Webpage]

Schoology (2020b) Schoology Basic: Back to School 2020-21 [Webpage].

Schoology (2020c). Mobile App [Webpage]

Schoology (2020d). App Center [Webpage]

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TechTeachandTransform (2020, 24 Jul) Basics of Schoology [Video].

University of Houston (2020). Schoology [Webpage]


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Schoology Copyright © by OER Lab at Ontario Tech University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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