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Defining Innovation: Closing the Longstanding Attainment Gap

  • 2 Min Read

Student retention, persistence, and degree completion are some of the most complex challenges facing higher education institutions today. Solutions to address some of these problems have not existed in education — until now.

I’ve written many times in this blog about the gaps in the basic one-size-fits-all functionality of the traditional LMS. Technology lacks innovation if it lacks the substance to improve the learning experience. I believe the real definition of innovation lies in the ability of technology to transform teaching and learning and directly impact student success. This is where our vision for the Integrated Learning Platform comes in and, in particular, the need for the technology to provide a perceptive learning experience — capable of helping predict and guide a student to the best possible outcome.

This year, our organization has focused a lot of our energies on creating the applications and services to offer real innovation to our clients. One such development has received a lot of positive attention – check out this recent article in the Economist:

economist Minding the gap: Education technology helps minorities do better at university


President Obama has even made mention of Desire2Learn and Degree Compass in a recent White House release and we were also mentioned in a US Senate hearing on Innovations to Improve Student Success.

All this attention reinforces some important findings: what educators need today are solutions for student success, particularly for student populations with historically lower attainment results such as minorities, first generation students, adult learners, and financial aid recipients. This is the kind of innovation that we want to build on to ensure that we can have a real and positive impact on student lives.

One of the things that we say when we talk about the Integrated Learning Platform and its important components — such as Degree Compass — is that learning needs to be inclusive. A core principle of breaking down some of these long standing barriers to learning, and an important guiding principle, is to help all learners achieve their full potential. I’m proud to see that innovations such as these are getting such strong and positive feedback. And prouder still, at the amazing results they are driving for the institutions and students who are using them!

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