IBM and Desire2Learn Introduce New Services and Software offerings to K-12 and Higher Education | Press Release | D2L
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  • ARMONK, N.Y. and KITCHENER, Ontario

IBM and Desire2Learn Introduce New Services and Software offerings to K-12 and Higher Education

Press Release

Companies deliver analytics-based intelligent learning environment.

IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Desire2Learn Incorporated (Desire2Learn) today announced new consulting services and software offerings that take the power of predictive analytics to improve outcomes in education. The new education platform will address the needs for schools, colleges and universities to improve the quality of education for students, enhance the effectiveness of teachers, and empower administrators to create more personalized learning environments.

To deliver this new platform, IBM is collaborating with Desire2Learn, a learning solutions company that provides the Desire2Learn Learning Environment and related products and technologies to schools, higher education, and organizations around the world. These range from individual schools, to district- and state-wide clients, to some of the world’s largest education entities, such as The New York City Department of Education.

The result is the Smarter Education Solution from IBM, combining Desire2Learn’s engaging, student focused learning environment with IBM’s deep analytics, case management, and workflow to create instructional improvement systems for districts, departments of education, colleges and universities.

The U.S. Department of Education has allocated $5.3 billion for Race to the Top programs that support education transformation. Based on experiences drawn from hundreds of education engagements, IBM has combined innovations developed by its education services practice with leadership in enterprise analytics, content management and collaboration technologies. The Smarter Education solution has been designed to directly meet the needs of Race to the Top state initiatives and projects, while creating a foundation for any educational institution to improve its academic outcomes.

“Working with our user base of over 8 million learners, we’ve gained tremendous insight about the way students learn today,” said John Baker, President and CEO, Desire2Learn. “The Smarter Education Solution will offer educational organizations the opportunity to combine that type of data, and the existing capabilities of the Desire2Learn Learning Suite, with IBM’s analytics to offer new levels of insight to school administrators, teachers and students alike to develop more personalized and engaging learning paths and ultimately improved outcomes.”

IBM will significantly broaden the access to deep analytics and actionable recommendations for educators, extending IBM’s leadership in education. The Smarter Education Solution will leverage IBM’s and Desire2Learn’s technologies, enhancing the information educators can collect about their students by anticipating and addressing learners’ needs in a proactive manner.

“Today, technology is redefining learning,” said Michael D. King, Vice President, IBM Global Education. “Curriculum can be delivered on a mobile device to follow the student home after school, and intervention strategies can help identify potential problems before they occur. By applying IBM’s advanced analytics technology to the cause of improving education, we hope to help every child succeed.”

Schools are under increased pressure to extract new insights from the explosion of available data to help improve student performance. To address this imperative the Smarter Education Solution, will provide a robust foundation for solutions designed to:

  • Integrate data from multiple sources to provide a single view of student progress and achievement
  • Leverage deep analytics to provide teaching faculty and administrators insights on teaching effectiveness, student outcomes, operational efficiency and effectiveness
  • Create early-warning systems for at-risk students using predictive analytics
  • Build collaborative learning communities with teachers, students, parents, and specialists to work together to identify and implement instructional intervention plans to improve student performance

The new Smarter Education solution combines IBM’s advanced analytics software with the Desire2Learn easy to use learning platform, creating a comprehensive solution that offers both proximity to specific, individual data for students and teachers and the capacity to take a big picture view across an entire district or region. The combined offering will help inform teachers of student performance in real time and to ensure that changes are being driven throughout the learning process. It will accomplish this by applying advanced algorithms to education, providing schools with the ability to predict academic achievement, and prescribe the most appropriate action to prevent at-risk students from failing. This optimizes an educator’s finite resources to drive outcomes such as better grades, better student retention and higher graduation rates.

This kind of improved education insight is used by Hamilton County Schools in Chattanooga, TN who is currently a client of IBM. They have achieved an 8% increase in graduation rates (to 80%) and a 25% reduction in the annual dropout rate. They achieved these results using IBM’s analytics and advanced modeling tools to help teachers, counselors and administrators better understand adverse patterns, how they develop and how to avoid them.

“Now everyone is looking at the data, and the results speak for themselves,” said Dr. Kirk Kelly, Director of Testing and Accountability, Hamilton County.

IBM is also introducing a Smarter Education reference architecture that provides educational institutions with a blueprint for implementation, which is built on open, industry standards to enable a multi-provider, interoperable environment. The Smarter Education Solution adds yet another dimension to IBM’s Smarter Cities initiative. With urban populations projected to double by mid-century, IBM is helping cities around the world tackle serious urban issues and improve the quality of life of their citizens.

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IBM’s statements regarding its plans, directions, and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice at IBM’s sole discretion.

Information regarding potential future products is intended to outline our general product direction and it should not be relied on in making a purchasing decision.

The information mentioned regarding potential future products is not a commitment, promise, or legal obligation to deliver any material, code or functionality. Information about potential future products may not be incorporated into any contract. The development, release, and timing of any future features or functionality described for our products remains at our sole discretion.


Press Contacts:

John McLeod
Vice-President, Marketing, Desire2Learn
Twitter: @Desire2Learn
Whitney Forster
IBM Media Relations,