After a quick check on the ATutor forums, and seeing there was no discussion about the patents, I've gotten in touch with Greg Gay -- he says:
If you are looking for evidence of LMS type apps prior to 1999, > here's a study we did early that year.
We'll be in contact with the patent office in Canada, to make sure no patent is issued here.
We're onboard on this too.
and I think that study is good stuff and having them on board is great.