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Desire2Learn: Inspiring a Modern Workforce

In today’s volatile business market, where every other day a new technology or strategy is triggering disruption, leaders are under the radar, now more than ever, to be agile, adaptable, and resilient to change. As such, constructing a solid framework for leadership development is the much-needed answer to achieve organizational success. Apart from constantly reinventing the wheel and staying relevant, there is also a shift in the way leaders want to consume leadership and development content. Engaging, interactive, and personalized learning material through digital experiences is what all leaders seek for.

Transforming the way the world perceives learning is Desire2Learn (D2L), an Ontario-based company that creates inspired learning for educational institutions and global corporations. The story of D2L’s genesis goes back to 1999 when John Baker in the third year of his university realized that technology was dramatically influencing every part of our lives but knowledge sharing and education seemed untouched by this transformation. Today, D2L influences over 15 million individual learners across K-12, healthcare, government, and the enterprise sector—including Fortune 1000 companies. Baker’s venture has spread its roots across the world with offices in the U.S., Europe, Australia, South America, and Asia. “When you see all the stories of what we can impact when we work together, you can understand why this is a mission for us—a way for us to contribute to progress and build a brighter future,” remarks Baker.

The Fast Track to Leadership Skills

To elevate the learning game across corporate, D2L’s open, extensible, and cloud-based platform, Brightspace is the solution of choice for redefining employee performance. Brightspace comprises all the tools and support an organization needs to create an engaging learning experience for all employees, whether they’re in office or working remotely. The platform is designed to be intuitive, build new content, or import curated course content from third-party authoring tools and off-the-shelf content providers. Its rules-based tools and varied course delivery methods help create personalized learning pathways for each learner. As a result of built-in analytics, the organization can easily keep track of the performance displayed by different departments, courses, or individual leaders. It also features a variety of built-in tools such as video-based assessments, online discussion forums to promote social learning, and gamification elements to motivate employees. Above all, the platform’s mobile-friendly, responsive interface allows employees to access their courses on laptops or smartphones and is fully compliant with accessibility standards.

Instead of following a hit and run approach when it comes to solutions delivery, D2L offers a plethora of services from implementation to end user support. At the onset of any project, the company helps a client identify their learning goals and how it can be achieved, alongside strategic planning and visioning services. The key areas of focus include a learning strategy roadmap, platform design, and communication and marketing strategies. Once a foolproof plan is in place, D2L’s hands-on implementation team ensures that a client is up and running in no time. For clients looking for that extra push, D2L’s customization services come to the rescue. A bench of expert instructional designers and courseware developers are always available to bring a customer’s vision to life.

When a leading world distributor of electronic components was in search of a learning platform that would help employees stay current with an ever-changing portfolio of products and markets, their obvious choice was D2L. One of the main reasons for choosing D2L was the solution met the client’s agility and speed requirements. D2L started off with a week-long training and soon the electronics company was creating their program courses known within the company as “Smith University.” From zero experience, the client launched their first course in eight weeks, a feat truly phenomenal. D2L liberated the client from the limitations of a fixed course structure and instead encapsulated the unique intellectual property of the client’s team. The custom content was augmented by video presentations and curated material. The D2L team also went the extra mile and developed a “flip tile” widget, which displays information about each module on the main course homepage, giving learners a quick overview.

D2L influences over 15 million individual learners across K-12, healthcare, government, and the enterprise sector— including Fortune 1000 companies


In just over seven months, the client had launched over 250 courses and there was a 50 percent reduction in training time for new hires.

Taking Learning Course to the Next Level

In times when classroom training is under scrutiny and the world is progressing toward an adaptive learning approach, D2L’s Performance Plus encourages this new-style of learning that is data-driven and focuses on teaching by adjusting instruction according to the student. The solution’s semantic engine automatically links concepts to course content. It determines where knowledge gaps exist and presents the content needed to help close them. It also uses predictive analytics and interactive dashboards to transform learner data into easily-identified patterns. This not only helps track the performance trajectory of a leader but also extend additional support or training.

For a Melbourne-based teaching hospital, responsible for educating the next generation of health professionals, the challenge was to promote digital literacy. The client offers leadership and development programs around on-the-job application of skills. Their obstacles included leveraging data to enhance e-learning and gaining a reign on the cost and time involved in bringing together training modules. In the past, the teaching hospital subscribed to a Shareable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) that did not offer the freedom to put together a syllabus for a course. Working with D2L, the client was able to evolve its e-learning practice into an engaging, data-driven solution that encompasses employee onboarding, technical training, professional development, and leadership development. D2L also easily supported their current corporate compliance training process. By and by, the client was able to reduce learning costs by 66 percent, observed a five times improvement in the delivery of e-learning courses, and the compliance course duration decreased from 25 minutes to 10 minutes.

Placing client satisfaction above everything, D2L is available 24/7 through different contact mediums to answer any queries related to their products, services, and implementation. Moreover, through a module called subscription training, the company offers organizations unlimited access to on-demand & live virtual Brightspace training for instructors and administrators. To obtain a deeper understanding of Brightspace, an online certificate program is also offered. The gamut of add-ons is truly endless with D2L and for best-in-class learning outcomes, the company even delivers premium video assessments tools, a course registration storefront which empowers companies to extend their training programs to a wider audience, and professional learning dashboard services.

Transforming the Way the World Learns

Recently, D2L set a new benchmark in leadership development through the Magenta release, an extension to Brightspace which enables managers to provide meaningful and transparent feedback to employees. The upgrade also included next-gen gamification techniques and now training can be delivered in more engaging ways through animated stories, interactive assessments, and leader-boards to drive some friendly competition.

In the coming days, the company will continue to improve their product suite through next-gen enhancements and further expand their reach around the world. Given the fourth industrial revolution, an economy driven by sky-high consumer expectations and the need for leaders to always stay on their toes and keep up with the fast-paced digital world, D2L is indeed the bridge to the future of work, learning, and leadership development.