D2L Launches the Next Generation of Brightspace and Strives to Accelerate the Nation's Path to 60% Attainment | Press Release | D2L
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  • LOS ANGELES, Milken Conference

D2L Launches the Next Generation of Brightspace and Strives to Accelerate the Nation’s Path to 60% Attainment

Press Release

Given the current trajectory, the Administration’s target of 60% by 2020 is in jeopardy − D2L pledges to help increase customers’ graduation rates with new technologies and encourages the industry to hurry innovations, services and new approaches

D2L, the EdTech company that created Brightspace, today announces the next generation of its learning platform, designed to develop smarter learners and increase graduation rates. By featuring a new faculty user interface (UI) and bringing adaptive learning to the masses, Brightspace is more flexible, smarter, and easier to use.

In addition to unveiling the new platform, CEO John Baker is rallying the world leaders at the Milken Institute Global Conference 2015 to create innovative strategies designed to eliminate the attainment gap and increase graduation rates as quickly as possible: “The current trajectory puts us just over 50% attainment for 25-34 year olds by 2020, millions of graduates short of achieving the 60% attainment goal set out by the Administration,” said John Baker, CEO of D2L. “That means we need more innovative services, approaches and technologies implemented today for first year students. We have a lot to accomplish as an industry and D2L wants to work with customers, partners, and anyone that cares about education, to reach the goal.”

COMMENTS ON THE NEWS

  • D2L is changing the EdTech landscape by enabling students to learn more with Brightspace LeaP™ adaptive learning technology that brings personalized learning to the masses, and will help both increase graduation rates and produce smarter learners.
    • The National Scientific Research Council of Canada (NSERC) produced a recent unpublished study that states:After collating and processing the results, the results were very favourable for LeaP; the study demonstrates, with statistical significance, a 24% absolute gain and a 34% relative gain in final test scores over a traditional LMS while shortening the time on task by 30% all while maintaining a high subjective score on perceived usefulness.”
  • With this release of Brightspace, D2L is giving time back to faculty to enable them to do what they love most: inspire and reach students within an easy-to-use, more accessible platform.

BRIGHTSPACE IS SMARTER

Brightspace LeaP promises to help improve test scores, increase engagement, and reduce the time that students spend on tasks. According to Gartner[1], “Adaptive learning is a concept that traces its roots back to at least the 1950s, but the ability to capture learner data through online learning has provided a breakthrough.”

“To date, adaptive learning has only been used in a few elite schools. Just like early computers, it’s been difficult and rigid to operate—namely because it has traditionally been built for large publishers, not learners or instructors,” said Baker. “With this release, D2L is bringing adaptive learning to the mainstream, making it easy to implement and flexible to use. We’re going to go from a small group of clients using adaptive learning to the masses, with the aim of achieving better learner performance, higher graduation rates, and smarter learners.”

Today, Brightspace LeaP is integrated with publisher and open content, helping students fill the gaps they have in prior knowledge so that they can easily get the resources they need to get up to speed. Brightspace helps learners determine specifically which topics they need to spend more time on so that they can focus their studying efforts.

BRIGHTSPACE IS EASIER TO USE

New Faculty UI: Today, D2L unveils a new Faculty UI, making the Brightspace platform far more intuitive than competitive solutions on the market and extremely easy to use with processes like startup checklists and drag-and-drop course creation.

OpenDyslexic Font: D2L is the undisputed accessibility leader and continues the commitment to being open and accessible to all and is once again leading the way in the LMS market by supporting OpenDyslexic font for learners and teachers that are Dyslexic. This font, when chosen by users as their default font, will make it easier for them to read in the learning system.

Microsoft® Office 365™ Integration: Brightspace is now more tightly integrated with Microsoft Office 365 so that learners can keep an eye on their Outlook® email, calendar, and OneDrive®, making it easier to stay connected within the learning platform.

BRIGHTSPACE IS MORE FLEXIBLE

Support for Common Cartridge 1.2, 1.3, and Thin Common Cartridge: Getting content into Brightspace quickly and easily is critical for faculty, so D2L announces the latest standards-based content import. Faculty can import content in one easy step, keeping the process simple and efficient. Brightspace now supports importing courses from Common Cartridge 1.2, 1.3, and Thin Common Cartridge.

Easy Administration: Brightspace Administration Service now provides clients an option to leverage an outsourced administration service to help with course, user, and tool management. D2L can provide a better level of service at a lower cost, helping clients to maximize their investment. The service is available on its own or can be bundled with End User Support, which is used to assist learners, instructors, and trainers who are using the Brightspace platform directly.

“With this next generation of Brightspace, we’re making it easier than ever for faculty to create exciting and engaging courses while leveraging the best content out there to help students reach their goals and graduate,” added Baker. “Clients now have the ability to help faculty nurture their students in new ways and help keep them on track for success with adaptive learning, thus supporting the goal of increasing graduation rates.”

“The focus on helping clients grow, supporting more completions and increased retention, at the same time as lifting learner outcomes, is also going to have an impact on our K-12, healthcare, government, and corporate clients. All our clients across sectors are focused on the best possible learning outcomes to drive improved results and retention.”

For more information about the Brightspace platform, visit www.brightspace.com.

About D2L

A global leader in EdTech, D2L is the creator of Brightspace, the world’s first integrated learning platform. The company partners with thought-leading organizations to improve learning through data-driven technology that helps deliver a personalized experience to every learner, regardless of geography or ability. D2L’s open and extensible platform is used by more than 1,100 clients and almost 15 million individual learners in higher education, K–12, healthcare, government, and the enterprise sector—including Fortune 1000 companies. The company has operations in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Brazil, and Singapore. www.brightspace.com | www.D2L.com

Press Contacts

Virginia Jamieson
Head of Global Communications, D2L Ltd.
650-279-8619
Virginia.Jamieson@D2L.com
Twitter: @D2LNews
Brian Merrill
, fama PR for D2L
617-986-5005
D2L@famapr.com

[1] Gartner: “Top 10 Strategic Technologies Impacting Education in 2015”

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.