• Introduction
  • User interface
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Cost
  • Summary

NEO vs. Brightspace


This page 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.

Brightspace also has a responsive interface and a graphical catalog for classes. However, there is no graphical users or resources catalog and even the main class catalog does not have the option to add categories and subcategories. Instead, users have to “pin” classes for them to appear on the dashboard. In Brightspace, the interface is slightly different for K-12 and Higher Education institutions, with the main difference being that the K-12 interface is more colorful.

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. Brightspace is fairly simple to navigate, but it is not as easy to go to any area of the site through a single click or accomplish tasks as fast as NEO users do. For example, to quickly import or export class content, users can select the Import/Export pop-up options from the class admin tab. In Brightspace, a teacher has to go to the Class Admin tab and then scroll to find the option to import or export from a long list of other tools.

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, but students cannot easily see their progress through each lesson as there is no indicator for current lessons, which ones have yet to be started, resumed or which ones are completed, and more.

NEO is very accessible, providing more than 40 languages. It also has native mobile apps for iOS, Android and Windows. The apps can be branded to fit each schools’ unique identity. Brightspace is available in 10 languages and does not have a native mobile app for Windows or 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 tools such as automation and gamification to make teaching more efficient and learning more engaging.

Creating content

In NEO, teachers can create instructor-led, blended and self-paced classes, as well as micro classes. The platform has learning paths, which allows teachers to set up classes, certificates and other paths as learning goals.

Brightspace has instructor-led, blended and self-paced classes and no similar learning paths feature

Student assessment

In NEO, teachers can choose from 12 types of assignments such as quiz, essay, debate, team, Dropbox, Turnitin, discussion and survey.

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 does not include social networking, teams or collaboration through wikis.

Personalization and engagement

NEO makes it easy to personalize learning and make classes more dynamic through automation. For example, teachers can set up actions that should be performed when students complete a lesson, assignment or a 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 or learning path games, add a leaderboard, different levels for each game, and even set up teams for games.

Brightspace does not have a similar automation or gamification feature, most notably missing the option of awarding points, setting up a leaderboard, team games, and more.


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 does not offer the same level of customization and to display courses, users have to pay extra for the Engagement Plus module.

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

User interface

  • Graphical users and resources catalog
  • Support for more than 40 languages
  • Graphical dashboards
  • Automatic translation of messages and forum posts
  • Branded mobile apps
  • Windows native app


  • Debate, team, attendance, discussion, essay assignment types
  • Automation
  • Full gamification feature
  • Drip content
  • Micro learning
  • Compliance
  • Class ratings and reviews
  • Prerequisite certificates


  • Wikis
  • Social networking
  • Teams


  • Integration with 1,500+ apps via Zapier
  • xAPI
  • Cometchat
  • Unicheck
  • Equella
  • MailChimp
  • Skype for Business
  • GoToTraining
  • Stripe
  • Authorize.net
  • PayUbiz
  • PayU Latam
  • Panopto
  • Kimono


  • Trash can for restoring deleted content
  • Built-in student help desk
  • Archiving students
  • Account types such as teaching assistant and monitor
  • SEO features

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 functionalities. There are no 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. Users have to pay extra for add-ons such as e-commerce, web conferencing, analytics or reporting through the Performance Plus module.

NEO Class page


This was a comparison of the most important features 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 January 2019 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.