2022 was yet another year full of change—but change for the better. I think it was a great year for learners. For the first time in a long time, learners and educators at all levels had more opportunity to learn together even with the occasional disruption. And a lot of the progress we made, particularly through using learning technology, made our institutions better positioned to the needs of learners and more resilient. 2022 was a memorable year at D2L for many reasons, but there are a handful of themes and accomplishments that I think deserve highlighting.
Our Fusion 2022 conference returned to being an in-person event. Its theme, appropriately, was: “This year, it’s personal.” We discussed technology’s ability to offer personalized learning that can reach every student while giving them more choice, control and flexibility in their learning pathways. We talked about how personalized learning isn’t just about learners moving at their own pace—it’s also about building connections and engagement between learners and between the learner and the educator. Engaging students is at the heart of new enhancements to D2L Brightspace, and the newly launched Creator+ that is designed to make it easy for educators to build interactives and practices that spark engagement and help students achieve more.
At D2L, we have always worked hard to give educators the best tools possible to inspire educators and students. We’ve always made sure that, from course creation to evaluation to nudges and communication tools, we give educators the most effective tools to make teaching more efficient. That way, educators can spend more time doing what they do best: connecting with and inspiring learners. We also know that teachers also need to be learners, which is why we are so pleased to see more opportunities for professional development using the same platform they already know well: Brightspace.
Learning to Upskill
As the global economy continues to be volatile, upskilling and reskilling remain at the forefront of discussions around future success and growth. The good news is that upskilling and reskilling are incredibly effective. A recent study by Statistics Canada found that earnings increased for workers in the five years following their upskilling or reskilling. That’s why transforming the learning experience—especially through upskilling, like we do with D2L Wave—continues to be a key priority. Upskilling can help organizations close skills gaps, adapt to the future of work, and address challenges such as employee engagement and retention.
More people are beginning to realize that learning is lifelong, and that’s exciting. The way I see it, we all get to learn new skills and abilities throughout our entire careers. And the ripple effect of all that creativity and new thinking constantly cycling through the workforce isn’t just going to boost productivity and make us more efficient—it’s going to be amazing to watch.
At D2L, accessibility is baked into everything we do. We actively work with the community to enhance standards and guidelines, and we are the only learning platform meeting WCAG 2.1 AAA—just one example of how we are making it easier to learn for everyone. That’s why we are proud to share that, in 2022, we introduced automatic closed captioning of video in multiple languages—not only does this tackle one of the most expensive accessibility workloads for our clients, for free, but it also makes video in Brightspace searchable, which gives students a great new study tool to find what they are looking for far faster. And in 2023, we have more in store, including bringing to life a new approach to building hot spots to make them fully accessible. With an invisible grid overlay that integrates micro alt tags, our hot spots allow screen reader users to benefit from the same contextual insights and spatial relationships that sighted users have access to. Hot spots are just one more example of our ongoing commitment to empower and engage people in their learning goals.
In 2022, we made significant progress toward building better digital learning experiences to optimize for better outcomes and, ultimately, to make learning more human, more personal, more engaging and more inspiring. With the launch of Creator+, the future of online learning experiences has never been brighter. Creator+ gives more people more creative control over powerful, beautiful, accessible and engaging learning experiences. I think Creator+ is going to help even more learners and educators reach their full potential and chart a new and more creative path forward for online learning.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” So, as we wrap up the year 2022 and look ahead to 2023, my hope for our extended D2L family is a continued confidence in our shared, beautiful dream: that education is how we can—and do—make our world a better place.
Peace and comfort to you this holiday season, and we wish you a very happy new year.
CEO and Board Chair
John founded D2L in 1999, at the age of twenty-two, while attending the University of Waterloo. D2L is a global software company that believes learning is the foundation upon which all progress and achievement rests.
A strong believer in community involvement, John devotes both his personal and business efforts to supporting young entrepreneurs who are developing and applying technology to improve society worldwide.
He was appointed to the Governing Council of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Member (Entrepreneurs’ Circle) of the Business Council of Canada, Business Higher Education Roundtable, Past Chair of the Board of Communitech, and is a board member of Canada’s National Ballet School.
John was awarded the Meritorious Service Cross, the EY Entrepreneur of the Year (Ontario for Software and Technology), Young Alumni Achievement Medal from University of Waterloo, and Intrepid Entrepreneur of the Year in Waterloo Region Hall of Fame.
John graduated from the University of Waterloo with an Honours B.A.Sc. in Systems Design Engineering, with First Class Honours and an option in Management Sciences.
LinkedIn: John Baker
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