D2L Closes the Desktop-Mobile Gap With Summer16 Release -- The Classroom of the Future Is Finally in Hand | Press Release | D2L Europe
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  • WATERLOO, ON

D2L Closes the Desktop-Mobile Gap With Summer16 Release — The Classroom of the Future Is Finally in Hand

Press Release

Brightspace Summer16 meets the needs of mobile learners – award-winning LMS works seamlessly across smartphones, tablets, and desktop browsers

D2L, a global learning technology leader, today unveiled the Summer16 release of Brightspace—its award winning cloud-based learning management system—with a new user interface optimized for mobile devices. Created with a responsive design, Brightspace now works seamlessly across smartphones, tablets, and desktop browsers, ensuring that it is easy to use for a student population that is increasingly mobile-first. The release also includes smarter analytics, searchable video, social and game-based learning on any device.

Developing a seamless experience between desktop and mobile has never been more important, as 87 percent of millennials say that their smartphones never leave their side. However, according to a recent study, mobile technology in learning is not as widespread as the use of mobile devices themselves. Only 50 percent of students claim they complete schoolwork daily from smartphones or tablets, despite the mass proliferation of devices and the fact that many families remain underconnected. Currently nine out of ten low-income families have “mobile-only” access to the Internet, severely limiting students’ ability to do coursework at home.

“We live in a mobile world, but education has not kept pace, leaving millions of learners behind,” said John Baker, CEO of D2L. “With Brightspace Summer16, we’re making learning as engaging and interactive on a mobile device as it is on a desktop so that everyone can learn the way they want to.”

Highlights of Brightspace Summer16, the easy, flexible and smart LMS include:

  • NEW USER EXPERIENCE: The Brightspace Daylight Experience is the new look and feel for Brightspace products, built with a responsive web design so Brightspace can be used on any device. In Spring16, Brightspace Capture, Brightspace Degree Compass and Brightspace Assignment Grader for Android were updated with Daylight. In Summer16 customers have early access to Daylight for testing in Brightspace Learning Environment. With an updated layout, fonts, icons, navigation, and responsive web design, customers will be able to see the impact that Daylight will have and how easy it will be for instructors and learners to use Learning Environment from any device. Once customers turn Daylight on, they’ll be able to follow along as new features are added each month.
  • VIDEO: Brightspace Capture is now tightly integrated with Brightspace Learning Environment, making it easy for instructors to create and add captured videos for learners to find and watch. Support for HTML5 and adaptive multi-bit streaming means captured video can be viewed on any device and delivered with the best quality in all internet conditions. Polls can also be added to live events, helping instructors engage with learners by asking questions and getting feedback.
  • GAMIFICATION: The new Course Adventure Pack takes creating interactive and personalized learning to a new level, including a fun game-based learning service, dynamic story builder service, interactive assessment tools, and consulting from D2L’s team of experts to make developing an interactive learning strategy easy.
  • LEARNING ANALYTICS: Brightspace Summer16 delivers additional analytics tools that put intelligent, actionable information in instructors’ hands when and where they need it. As a part of the core analytics within Brightspace Learning Environment, the User Progress tool provides timely information on how students are progressing through a course and how they are accessing it, as well as their content download metrics. For Brightspace Insights™ users, Summer16 introduces a Class Engagement Dashboard: a class list with interactive data that enables instructors to filter, sort and search student activity, progress and achievement (and a predictive score, if enabled). This helps them easily identify top performers or those who might be at risk and then email the class or the individual student with one simple click. Finally, for institutional learning data users, in addition to Brightspace Insights open APIs, Summer16 improves data access by adding CSV exports with the new Data Hub, designed for easy data automation and integration.
  • ADMINISTRATIVE: Summer16 incorporates streamlined workflows, Microsoft Outlook® integration with Brightspace Capture, easy recurring event scheduling for Brightspace Capture, a Teaching and Learning Certificate program to enhance Brightspace skills, and improved eCollege course import capabilities.

“Our goal is simple: build products our customers love. Brightspace Summer16 is a significant step forward,” explained Renny Monaghan, CMO of D2L. “We listen closely to our customers across all our channels – in person and through our Product Ideas Exchange on the Brightspace Community. We’re proud to share that 25 percent of the features in Summer16 came directly from customer feedback.”

D2L’s track record of innovation has been widely recognized. In March, Fast Company Ranked D2L #6 on the Most Innovative Companies of 2016 list in the Data Science Category, amongst Google, IBM, Spotify, Costco, and Blue Cross Blue Shield. eLearning Magazine recently rated D2L as #1 in Adaptive Learning, and Brightspace was recently named the #1 LMS in Higher Ed by Ovum Research.

To learn more about Brightspace, visit https://www.d2l.com/products/learning-environment/.

About Brightspace

D2L’s Brightspace is an online learning platform that helps schools and institutions deliver personalized learning experiences to people anywhere in the world. Created for the digital learner, Brightspace is cloud-based, runs on mobile devices, and offers rich multimedia to increase engagement, productivity and knowledge retention. The platform makes it easy to design courses, create content, and grade assignments, giving instructors more time to focus on what’s most important – greater teaching and learning. At the same time, analytics reports track and deliver insights into the performance levels of departments, courses, or individuals.

About D2L

D2L is the software leader that makes learning experiences better. The company’s cloud-based platform, Brightspace, is easy to use, flexible, and smart. With Brightspace, organizations can personalize the experience for every learner to deliver real results. The company is a world leader in learning analytics: its platform predicts learner performance so that organizations can take action in real-time to keep learners on track. Brightspace is used by learners in higher education, K-12, and the enterprise sector, including the Fortune 1000. D2L has operations in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Brazil, and Singapore. www.d2l.com
 

Press Contact

Virginia Jamieson
Vice President of PR and AR, D2L Ltd.
650-279-8619
Virginia.Jamieson@D2L.com
Twitter: @D2LNews
© 2015 D2L Corporation.
The D2L family of companies includes D2L Corporation, D2L Ltd, D2L Australia Pty Ltd, D2L Europe Ltd, D2L Asia Pte Ltd, and D2L Brasil Soluções de Tecnologia para Educação Ltda.
All D2L marks are trademarks of D2L Corporation. Please visit D2L.com/trademarks for a list of D2L marks.
Microsoft and Outlook are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

Fueling up:

Upskilling to grow careers

Name: Zaria
Age: 27

Policy prescriptions: Invest in a Learning-Integrated Life; Transform the learning of today with new partnerships; Accelerate the shift to skills-based learning and hiring

Zaria has five years of work experience and is ready to change jobs and enter a field that has high growth potential in her region. The national government has been investing in collecting better skills-based labour market information for years and has developed a public platform to offer individuals specialized tools to assess their skills against current market needs, and to locate employers that are currently hiring.

On the employer side, the human resources team is closely examining a recent internal skills audit done at their organization and determines that the organization needs additional digital marketing specialists. They initiate a search for individuals with the skills they will soon need and spot a strong candidate in Zaria who requires only light training on regulatory issues regarding the sale of electric vehicles, along with some formal skills development courses on social media marketing strategy. After a successful interview, Zaria is offered the job.

Upon joining, Zaria will receive an educational benefits stipend from the company, and access to a company-provided platform of curated programs for skills building from approved providers. Upon completion of a set of courses, Zaria will receive a credential from a company approved program verifying her technical knowledge and marking the end of her probationary period at the company. To ensure she continues to build her skills, she will move into a formal mentor program with one of her colleagues to receive continual peer-to-peer feedback on her demonstration of skills and knowledge. information

This affordable and accessible learning through employer-funded training has enabled Zaria to begin working while also upskilling to ensure her long-term success in the company and growing industry. The employer is investing in its employees, and company leaders are thinking further into the future about the skills the company needs, and the types of job candidates who will succeed. This match, based on skills potential, was made possible because of government investment in high-quality labour market information and a national platform that matches job candidates with career opportunities based on the candidates’ skills and the identified skill needs of a given job.

Taking the road less travelled:

A networked postsecondary education

Name: Sam
Age: 18

Policy prescriptions: Transform the learning of today with new partnerships

Sam is a prospective postsecondary student who has always been interested in pursuing a global and interdisciplinary education. Sam’s siblings have all instilled in her the importance of studying abroad, having spoken fondly of their academic exchange semesters, field research trips, and intensive language immersion programs. She is inspired, but unsure whether this pathway will be available if she chooses not to complete a four-year degree at one institution.

Sam is interested in understanding how emerging technologies can be used to modernize and improve government services—an area in need of talent not only in her home country of Canada but also abroad. She could take on a general political science, public administration, engineering, or computer science degree at the university close to her home, but none of those degrees feels like the right fit to build the skills she needs to pursue this career interest.

While researching options, Sam learns of a new degree completion pathway that allows students to take courses from a network of universities, colleges, and polytechnic institutions throughout Canada and stack them for skills-based  credentials that are recognized by major Canadian employers. A set of four of these credentials grants an individual a degree-equivalent endorsed by each institution. Sam identifies the skills and knowledge she wants to work towards and charts out four credential pathways:

  1. Service delivery design
  2. Change management
  3. Applications of emerging technologies (e.g., artificial intelligence)
  4. Machinery of government

With this customized learning pathway, Sam has full flexibility to decide how she wants to structure her courses, the institutions within the network she will study at, and the format and model of courses she prefers—whether live in-class instruction or online courses.

Cost flexibility is built in as well—students pay a standard fee based on the number of competencies they intend to learn rather than the normal standard of ‘credit hours’. The province in which Sam lives has endorsed this networked model of  postsecondary education and adjusted its financial assistance program to better support students. Grants and other non-repayable assistance take into consideration the number of courses the student is taking across all institutions when assessing financial need. Previously, Sam would have been required to be a full-time student at every institution to receive support.

Sam also has the option of starting with foundational courses or applying for Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) information so her existing knowledge and skills can be tested and she can move on to more advanced topics.

Sam completes her first three credentials in three years and uses her certifications to apply for a one-year work-integrated learning experience with the federal government in Germany where she can learn first-hand about the applications of artificial intelligence in government. When she returns home, she applies for PLAR to certify her learning on the machinery of government and is granted a degree acknowledging her four-part customized education.

The collaboration between universities, polytechnics, and colleges to create a networked approach to degree completion, and its endorsement by the provincial government, allowed Sam to graduate as an alumnus of multiple postsecondary education institutions. Her exposure to different thought spaces and networks was highly valuable for ensuring she was engaged throughout her education and set up for post-graduation success. In the rapidly evolving field she has chosen, she understands how important it is to continuously upskill, and is prepared to return to formal education for more stackable credentials as she continues throughout her career.

Route guidance:

Personalized professional development

Name: ZheYuan
Age: 33

Policy prescriptions: Prepare teachers for their own lifelong learning journeys; Accelerate the shift to skills-based learning and hiring

ZheYuan is about to join Marama’s school as a new secondary school teacher. He completed his professional teacher education a decade ago, and teaching looks a bit different today than it did when he was studying. With the incorporation of learning technologies in the classroom, and expectations of teachers delivering competency-based education information, he needs personalized professional development to feel comfortable and supported in this new opportunity.

The school district has been on its own learning journey since shifting to a competency-based education model, and has had some growing pains. Over time, the district has come to recognize that success depends on school administrators working closely with teachers to co-create systems of instruction, and pathways to professional development. The district has its own online learning management system (LMS) for teacher professional development, with a catalogue of content covering a range of subjects including:

  • Strategies for student-centred instruction
  • Design thinking—how to prototype and iterate on solutions to test new approaches
  • Online content—using learning management systems to advance competency-based education
  • Data analysis—interpreting student progress

ZheYuan is excited that he can take on professional learning to suit his needs on his own schedule. He recalls an earlier time when he had to spend nine hours a month in-person taking the same professional development courses as his peers who were teaching very different subjects and had varied skill levels and pedagogical needs than him, which was less than effective.

ZheYuan can also take advantage of his teacher community in the LMS, connecting both in asynchronous chats and in live discussions with other teachers and experts from across his region to ask questions and share his experiences. He sees some upcoming dialogues hosted by his school district to share learnings and signs up for those sessions, knowing he will get a valuable peer perspective from other teachers. ZheYuan is thankful that his school leaders recognize and value professional learning and provide the supports and the time needed for improvement.

D2L Whitepaper Contributors

Lead Authors:
Malika Asthana, Manager, Strategy and Public Affairs
Joe Pickerill, Senior Director, Strategy and Public Affairs, International

Contributors:
Jeremy Auger, Chief Strategy Officer
Mark Schneiderman, Senior Director, Future of Teaching and Learning
Brendan Desetti, Senior Director, Strategy and Public Affairs, United States
Mike Semansky, Senior Director, Strategy and Public Affairs, Canada
Nia Brown, Senior Manager, Strategy and Public Affairs

In the driver’s seat:

Owning the personalized learning journey

Name: Marama
Age: 14

Policy prescriptions: Prepare teachers for their own lifelong learning journeys; Accelerate the shift to skills-based learning and hiring

Marama is enrolled in a school with a competency-based education model information. Students are responsible for owning the personalization of their learning pathways, making choices alongside their teachers in how and when they learn.iii Teachers play a central role in guiding and validating all learning, regardless of where it takes place—offering formative assessments to evaluate a student’s mastery of skills and knowledge. Teachers use data from these assessments, gathered through an online learning management system (LMS), to differentiate instruction and provide targeted supports so that all students progress toward graduation. As a student diagnosed with a learning disability, Marama is supported in her education by this personalized learning pathway.

All students complete an assessment in ninth grade to identify their natural strengths as a learner. Their teachers use the results as inputs to design tailormade educational pathways with learning materials and activities that suit the individual students’ learning needs. In Marama’s case, this includes:

  1. Supplementing lecture-based teaching with structured but independent reading
  2. Shadowing professionals who work on the concepts she is learning about
  3. Taking the stories and lessons she’s learned and sharing it back with classmates by designing a creative and interactive presentation

Over the course of the school year, Marama spends a third of her time in live lectures (sometimes online) with her teacher alongside other classmates—but the rest of her time is spent learning in the ways that suit her best. She can log into her online LMS from her mobile device to access her school resources and complete on her own schedule before the assigned deadline. When Marama finds a concept that interests her, she can ask her teachers and counsellor for support in finding a working professional to speak to, or work alongside for a couple weeks, from the network her school has curated over time. And when she has learned something, she is encouraged to reinforce her learning by applying her skills and developing content to share back with her classmates.

Marama’s personalized learning journey empowers her to own her education by learning in ways that are effective for her, with the support that allows her to be successful. Her teachers have high-quality data about student strengths and performance they can share with her parents to show them how she is mastering specific skills, and where she may need extra support. Her school experience empowers her to embrace her subject interests very early on, and she advances to deeper topics quickly as she submits evidence of learning that demonstrates her proficiency. She graduates having cultivated a mindset for self-directed learning early in her education.