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2022: Higher Education’s Year of the Learner?

The COVID-19 pandemic had a huge impact on teaching and learning, accelerating the adoption of online and blended learning across institutions. Higher education adapted to maintain continuity of learning, enabled through change programmes and supported by technology.

There has been much reflection on what this time has taught us about our need for interactions and the potential of technology. 2022 provides an opportunity to meet the needs of educators and learners through cohesive, blended learning journeys that make the best of in-person contact and digital capabilities. 

Education technology has been around for years but never relied upon to the extent it has been in recent times. Educators and students have adopted online tools and made great use of applications; learning through doing and drawing on available resources. Now, the experience that tutors, administrators and students have gained will inform technology’s future adoption. 

How EdTech can help 

Technology bridges the divide between class time and personal study. 2022 can be the year of the learner in higher education through a mindset shift away from physical and digital as distinct learning spaces, towards a single cohesive learning environment. Online learning management should be more than a digitised function, it should be an optimised function. It must bring together teaching and learning across the classroom and online through interactive learning platforms that also remove geographical restrictions on learning. 

There have been, and still are, hurdles to overcome including infrastructure and digital skills. Yet, the motivation is there. Last year, D2L conducted research with higher education participants in EMEA and found that a blended learning model of in-person and digital was considered to offer educational benefits above and beyond solely face-to-face. Over 80 per cent of respondents in South Africa and in the UK believed that technological developments enhance the quality of higher education.    

Technology that works for educators 

However, it has to work for educators and students. Tutors and course leaders don’t have the bandwidth to build online courses piecemeal, from the ground up. In 2022 they will need:  

Simple access to intuitive tools

Online tools must place the creation of digital learning experiences at educators’ fingertips. This goes beyond a content repository, which is just a digital way of storing course materials. The complete learning space must provide learning pathways with clear lines of sight to desired outcomes. The experience must be a joined-up one for students, with connections between course topics, chosen formats that suit each content type and the ability to demonstrate understanding at each stage.   

Personalised learning pathways

This is a new era of personalised learning that meets individual student needs. After all, we all learn in different ways and at different rates. One size doesn’t fit all. We don’t think in a standardised way, and we don’t thrive in systems that constrain us. A modern learning innovation platform must recognise when students need more help, when they’re ready to move on and where they should go next in their learning. Automation should support personalisation through, for example, automated triggers that signpost additional content to struggling students. This automation helps students progress and personalises the learning journeys for those students.  

Multimedia and collaborative tools

These are central to an engaging and rewarding experience. Screen time should be varied because concentration levels wane through hour after hour of virtual lectures. Engaging and reflective discussion forums enable connections – peer as well as tutor-student – to be established and cemented. Video files, interactive applications and quizzes all help achieve a level of understanding and a rewarding learning experience.  

Data analytics

Digital interactions generate crucial data that provides insights that can be drawn upon to further learner progress. Interventions can be prompted when data indicates a student is falling behind. Long-term, data on entire cohorts can inform course planning and content. Learning science must inform technology at every stage of the way to improve engagement, student retention and positive learning outcomes. 

New branding, same mission 

D2L was founded with a mission – to improve the way that people learn. Two decades on and D2L works with schools, colleges and institutions around the world to take learning delivery to the next level and unlock learner potential.  

To mark 2022, and a renewed sense of optimism, D2L has a new look, underscoring a longstanding commitment to transform the way the world learns with a deeper focus on personalised learning, strategic partnership, growth, and human potential.  

The new D2L logo reflects several milestone changes, and helps convey the D2L vision, story and refreshed mission. The ‘2’ of D2L is elevated in the new logo to symbolise exponential advancement through learning.  

The colour and typeface speak to innovation, simplicity, and accessibility. The new green also represents growth and human potential. It has various shades to symbolise spring, youth, and rejuvenation, with darker green tones reflecting enduring, evergreen lifelong learning. 

D2L is committed to the future of education and a new era of personalised learning. Education’s relationship with technology is evolving. 2022 can be higher education’s year of the learner with a focus on meeting students and educators’ needs through intuitive, rewarding learning experiences.  

EdTech demand has grown, and the D2L goal is to become the first truly unified and comprehensive learning platform. We aim to deliver cohesive learning experiences across markets and technologies that evolves with customers, taking them from digitisation to transformation and from novice to power user, through our flexible, accessible, personalised and innovative platform. 

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