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NEO vs Brightspace


This is a detailed comparison between NEO and Brightspace, taking into consideration the features, functionality, and cost of each platform.

NEO is a world-class, award-winning learning management system (LMS) for schools and universities. NEO helps schools manage all classroom activities, such as creating and delivering educational content, assessing students, tracking their results, and promoting communication and collaboration between students and teachers/faculty.

Brightspace from D2L is an LMS developed for use by K-12 and Higher Education institutions. D2L also has an LMS for businesses.

NEO School portal

User interface

The NEO interface has a modern and responsive design that looks sharp and automatically adjusts based on the type of device. It provides attractive tile-based dashboards for students, teachers and administrators, a graphical class catalog, as well as a catalog for users and resources. Many features can be enabled or disabled to suit young children through to college students. NEO also has a unique “activity display” feature that indicates the level of activity within classes and groups using a pulsing indicator on their tiles together with real-time widgets that scroll through the latest activities.

Brightspace also has a responsive interface and a graphical catalog for classes. However, there is no graphical user or resource catalog and even the main class catalog does not have the option to add categories and subcategories. The Brightspace user dashboard has collapsible widgets that display the classes, announcements, and more. The Course widget has a tab that displays all the classes and one separate tab where students can pin classes. The interface and the appearance of classes is customizable and can be configured to fit different grade levels.

NEO has a simple pop-out navigation system, with many shortcuts that reduce the number of clicks needed to add or delete classes, sections, assignments, groups, and more. Navigating classes, groups, and learning paths in NEO is very intuitive. Teachers and admins can configure the navigation bar to create the ideal user experience.

Brightspace is also fairly simple to navigate, users can select or create navigation bars specifically for classes and organizations or specific departments and they can share navigation bars with classes and other organization units to ensure consistent branding and navigation.

Navigating classes in NEO is easier since the main areas are displayed in the left bar and users can scroll down to see all the available options. On Brightspace the navigation bar is displayed horizontally and in cases when there are many tabs listed they can’t be displayed and a drop-down menu is used.

The NEO class layout is very intuitive, as each lesson can be a tile or a row that displays important information such as the badges awarded for a lesson or a description of each lesson. What also makes the platform easy to use are the progress icons, that indicate a student’s progress through a class and lessons.

The Brightspace class layout has content divided into units, where the units are divided into lessons which comprise different types of materials. The class layout is easy to follow where the units are displayed on the left hand side as a table of contents.

Compared to NEO, the unit tiles on Brightspace display less information, they don’t have customizable images, they don’t display the student’s progress for the unit, and they are less graphical.

Classes in NEO show the student progress through each lesson, indicating which lessons have yet to be started, resumed or which ones are completed, and more.

NEO is very accessible, providing more than 50 languages and offering accessibility features such as screen reader support, high contrast themes, MS Immersive Reader integration, and more. It also has native mobile apps for iOS and Android. The apps can be branded to fit each schools’ unique identity. Brightspace also has accessibility features and is available in 17 languages, but does not have a branded app option.

NEO Student dashboard

Ease of use

NEO is very intuitive and easy to use. In addition, it includes an online help center with videos, getting started guides, and searchable help content. NEO also has a rapid response support forum where staff members typically respond to questions within 15-30 minutes during business hours 24/5.

Brightspace is easy to use and understand, includes online help and technical support via email and forum, telephone and video tutorials.

NEO Help center


NEO and Brightspace have a similar feature set for basic LMS functionality. However, NEO has more assessment options and includes features such as automation and adaptive learning for each Premium plan. Both NEO and Brightspace have a gamification feature to make the learning process more engaging. NEO makes it easy to create site-wide and class games and also includes a badge builder and badge gallery.

Creating content

In NEO, teachers can create instructor-led, blended and self-paced classes, as well as micro classes. NEO also has learning paths, which are classes where instructors can add as goals other classes and certificates.

Brightspace has instructor-led, blended and self-paced classes. Teachers can also assign a learning path to learners where the learning path automatically enrolls the learner into every class within that learning path.

Student assessment

In NEO, teachers can choose from 16 types of assignments such as quiz, essay, debate, team, Dropbox, Turnitin, discussion H5P, Google Assignments, survey, and more.

Brightspace is missing options in this area such as essay, team, debate, discussion and attendance assignments.

Communication and collaboration

In NEO, users can easily connect and collaborate through chat, messages, groups, teams, social networking, wikis, blogs, and more.

Brightspace also includes collaboration tools such as discussion, messages, and more but it is missing collaboration features such as support for teams and wikis.

Personalization and engagement

NEO makes it easy to personalize learning and make classes more dynamic through automation and adaptive learning. For example with adaptive learning, teachers can set up actions that hide or show lessons and assignments based on the student’s progress in the class.

They can easily select which rules to add in many different areas such as classes, learning paths, groups, accounts, e-commerce, and mastery. In addition, the gamification feature is also based on automation, meaning that students can automatically be rewarded with badges and points as they progress through the learning material. The gamification feature is very complex, as users can add site-wide, class, and learning path games, display a leaderboard with the rankings of players, define levels for games, and even set up team games.

Brightspace also has a basic automation feature that includes automatic membership rules, assigning learning paths to users, and more but it does not have a similar adaptive learning feature included in Brightspace Core. The gamification feature is also missing some options compared to NEO, most notably the option of team games.


In NEO, schools can easily personalize their platform according to their individual identity. They can choose a logo, color scheme, fonts, terminology, and even create a visitor portal with portal images, panels, a carousel, custom HTML, and more. Institutions can showcase their classes through a public catalog.

Brightspace also offers customization options to tailor the platform to the user’s needs. In comparison NEO offers a higher level of customization where each organization can have its own visitor portal with a well defined brand feel and identity, class catalog and more.

In addition, here is a list of the features included in NEO that are not supported by Brightspace:

User interface

  • Automatic translation of messages, forum posts, and Help Center documentation
  • Graphical users and resources catalog
  • Branded mobile apps
  • Support for more than 50 languages


  • Adaptive learning (not included in Brightspace Core)
  • Micro learning
  • Proctored assignments
  • Compliance training
  • Prerequisite certificates
  • Digital Media
  • Debate, team, attendance, H5P, Google Assignments, and discussion assignment types
  • Subscription plans
  • Class bundles
  • Offline mode


  • Wikis
  • Teams
  • Public profiles


  • Integration with 1,500+ apps via Zapier
  • xAPI
  • CometChat
  • Unicheck
  • Equella
  • Mailchimp
  • Panopto
  • Kimono
  • MS Immersive Reader
  • Google Fonts
  • Udemy


  • Custom reports
  • Scheduled reports
  • Custom report widgets

Web conferencing tools

  • GoToTraining

Payment gateways

  • Stripe
  • PayUbiz
  • PayU Latam
  • PagSeguro
  • Flywire
  • Purchase orders


  • Trash can for restoring deleted content
  • Built-in student help desk
  • Archiving students
  • SEO features
  • Tagging
  • Shareable Question banks
  • Account types such as teaching assistant, monitor, mentor, and affiliates
  • HTML templates
NEO Class catalog


NEO has a Free plan with a comprehensive set of essential LMS features and a Premium plan for schools that need more powerful functionality. There are no standard setup fees, cancellation fees, storage fees, bandwidth fees, support fees, or other hidden costs.

Brightspace usually has an implementation fee of $10,000 for 1,000 users and customers have to pay extra for add-ons such as e-commerce. Brightspace users have the option to pay more for the Performance Plus module which includes more powerful analytics and reporting features. In comparison, NEO premium plans include all analytics and report tools users need.

NEO Class page


This was a comparison of the most important feature differences between NEO and Brightspace.

NEO is a more easy to use LMS than Brightspace offering a larger set of features suitable for both K-12 and Higher Education clients.

If you require additional information on NEO, please contact us.


This comparison paper was written in August 2020 based on publicly available documentation on both vendors' sites. It was prepared as a guide and is not intended to be exhaustive. The comparison information is for guidance only and does not constitute any contractual representation, warranty or obligation on our part. Liability for errors, omissions or consequential loss is expressly disclaimed.

Since pricing and features can change rapidly, we do not represent that this information is up-to-date, and we encourage you to get the latest information directly from the vendor's web site. If you find any information in this comparison guide to be inaccurate, please contact us with details and we will correct the information within 72hrs.

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