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D2L and Artificial Intelligence—The Past, Present and Future

  • 5 Min Read

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly revolutionizing the way we live, work and learn. At D2L, we have built AI capabilities into our products for over a decade, from predictive learning models and automatic video captioning and transcription to our most recent offering of AI-based in-platform help. You placed your trust in us, and together, we’ve witnessed its power to help improve learner engagement, outcomes and success.  

Ever since powerful new large language models (LLMs) became more easily accessible to the public earlier this year, generative AI (GenAI) applications have caused significant shifts in our collective thinking about our world—how it operates and how it might work in the near and distant future. Things are changing quickly, and we’re moving just as quickly—and thoughtfully—to deliver GenAI content creation tools that can help save educators time while still giving them full control over their content, in addition to partnerships and integrations with powerful, and trusted, AI ecosystem tools.

What We Believe 

We believe that learning is inherently a human and social endeavor—a shared experience between an educator and a learner, as well as a personal journey of discovery. Both can be enhanced by technology but never supplanted by it. Leveraging technology to help make learning more human requires thoughtful implementation, focused attention and constant refinement.  

…this technology is a game changer. It’s not here to replace us. It is here to elevate and scale the meaningful work we do.

John Baker, CEO of D2L

“While managing the risks in AI, I believe we must focus on the opportunity it presents, while still being mindful of its challenges, because, without a doubt, this technology is a game changer. It’s not here to replace us. It is here to elevate and scale the meaningful work we do.” says John Baker, CEO of D2L.

Our Commitment to You

We’ll remain curious and open-minded about the possibilities of GenAI—just as we’ve done since we’ve considered the uses, implications and impacts of previous forms of AI that have been embedded thoughtfully into our platforms for many years. 

As innovators, we are energized by GenAI’s potential to further support transforming work and learning. We can already see the benefits of AI both in the way D2L employees work and learn and through the products we develop. We are excited to continue to use it in a way that benefits our customers worldwide, and we will continue to do so responsibly, ethically, inclusively, transparently and securely.  

We’ve developed a set of AI principles and policies and will continue to iterate them. Firmly rooted in the values that inform our mission to transform the way the world learns, these principles and policies are D2L’s commitment to responsible and compliant business practices.

Our Vision and Approach


We’ll continue investing in our predictive and adaptive learning technology to help personalize the learning experience, improving engagement, outcomes and success while also bringing new GenAI innovations to market.  

Key to our vision and approach is the use of GenAI to help generate new course content based on your own learning materials; while other vendors seem focused on GenAI capabilities based on external LLM training data alone.  

We’ve used this capability to develop a new feature that uses D2L Brightspace course content to autogenerate practice questions. This feature, which will be available soon, is an efficient and effective way to help educators integrate formative assessment into courses. Next, we are planning to work to develop autogeneration of questions for quizzes while we continue to explore other capabilities to autogenerate content, such as course outlines, image selection and summaries, to name just a few.

Accessibility and Inclusive Design

At D2L, inclusive design is at the heart of our product development process, and we’re inspired by the promise of what GenAI offers to further support advancing accessibility for all educators and learners in Brightspace. We’ll explore how LLMs can help improve the online learning experience by providing support for generating content in alternative formats, improving communication and enabling adaptive learning.  

As we get on the bandwagon of AI wins, we do not want to leave the largest minority behind, especially when AI can help turn their life around like never before.

Dr. Sambhavi Chandrashekar, global accessibility lead at D2L

“I evangelize not just AI ethics but AI accessibility and ethics,” says Dr. Sambhavi Chandrashekar, global accessibility lead at D2L. “As we get on the bandwagon of AI wins, we do not want to leave the largest minority behind, especially when AI can help turn their life around like never before.” 

Ecosystem Partners

We’re also keen to bring you AI capabilities through new and existing partnerships with our ecosystem vendors, like Bongo, Gradescope/Turnitin, Integrity Advocate and Copyleaks, a leading AI-based text analysis, plagiarism identification and AI-content detection platform.

Moving Forward, Together

As we bring new AI features and partnerships to market, we’ll continue to listen to your needs, ideas and feedback—and work with you to rigorously test our applications in a safe and controlled way—before making them available to all. We know that successful innovation goes beyond technology advancements, and we’ll work with you on an implementation strategy that includes a change management and adoption plan to help see that new features can create value for all your Brightspace users. We are optimistic that with this approach, we will continue to be your trusted partners, bringing confidence to your application of GenAI in education. 

Join the Conversation Today

At our 2023 Fusion conference, we previewed for your interaction and feedback the powerful potential of effective and responsible applications of GenAI in Brightspace, to an overwhelmingly positive response. The discussion with our product leaders and industry experts continues in Brightspace Community. We’d love to hear from you. 

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Table of Contents

  1. What We Believe 
  2. Our Commitment to You
  3. Our Vision and Approach
  4. Moving Forward, Together
  5. Join the Conversation Today

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