On June 11–14, 2023, in Anaheim, California, leaders and users from higher education, K-12 education, and corporations joined at D2L’s annual Executive Summit and Fusion 2023 to hear about the company’s plans for artificial intelligence (AI) and workforce development while sharing teaching and learning tips and tricks with a large community of peers. Throughout the week, D2L’s commitment to teaching and learning and its desire to play a part in upskilling the workforce could be sensed throughout both events.
Several industry leaders came together on June 12 to discuss AI’s present and future realities and the need to enable learning for life. John Baker, D2L’s CEO, and Jeremy Auger, D2L’s chief strategy officer, spoke about the company’s commitment to the responsible use of AI and addressing risk. While there is real reason for concern about the future use of AI, D2L is focusing on how it can responsibly use the technology at scale and aligned with the company’s values.
“Nobody can do this alone. We need to come together and embrace the change that is happening here. It’s going to free people up to do so many amazing things in their careers and their lives.” —John Baker, D2L CEO, speaking about AI
Continued Focus on Humanity
This year’s theme, “My Learning Moment,” focused on what led to D2L’s present position as it celebrates its 20th annual user conference—and what the future holds in a world full of exciting new technological possibilities. While that future innovation will most certainly include AI, D2L doubled down on its stance that humanity belongs at the center of teaching and learning.
As a leader in the learning management space, D2L made it clear that it sees its products continuing to provide an avenue for K-Professional career education that goes beyond the traditional higher education experience. As technology develops rapidly, D2L recognizes that the future workforce must continue to be developed to keep pace with an ever-changing world.
New Product Enhancements and Releases
Creator+, D2L’s course authoring tool, is bringing new capabilities to customers, such as:
- New web-based elements
- New mobile responsive layouts
- Accessible hotspots
- Practices—formative assessments in line with course content
D2L Wave and Course Merchant
D2L Wave was highlighted as an opportunity to upskill the workforce by offering education as a benefit. By using Wave, institutions can make programs available to corporations directly, acting as a matchmaker between the companies that need the training for their employees and the institutions that have the programming to fill that need.
Institutions can also attract new learners through Course Merchant. Course Merchant allows D2L to “support our customers’ strategies of supporting more flexible programs, including continuing education, noncredit, and workforce-oriented learning programs,” said Kenneth Chapman, D2L’s VP of learning innovation advocacy. Though institutions have used the product for several years as a partner, D2L recently acquired Connected Shopping, makers of Course Merchant, to bring the capabilities in house.
The availability of D2L Link, a service offering prebuilt integrations with third-party systems, was also announced. Early access will begin with a select group of customers before being more broadly released.
AI was a spotlight of many discussions and sessions throughout the event. While future uses of AI are being evaluated and crowd-sourced from institutions, a generative AI tool was announced for authoring formative assessment questions directly within the content editor. Instructors can highlight a material section and automatically generate practice questions based on the content for students to check their understanding as they navigate the lesson.
Other enhancements were released at the conference, such as:
- Improved video capturing and captioning
- The ability to insert code directly into content areas
- The ability to have different achievement scales for different outcomes
- Performance+ integration with Ellucian Experience
- Self-serve faculty course merge and more
D2L’s partnership with Bongo now enables it to offer tonal analysis, providing learners with instant, AI-based feedback on their presentation mechanics. Synchronized quizzing now brings LMS-based synchronous test-taking, giving instructors the capability to require groups of students to take tests simultaneously.
Another huge improvement to the learner user experience is that all content now appears in line rather than sending users out to a third-party experience.
As a growing leader in the LMS market, D2L continues to offer laser-focused attention on enhancing the teaching and learning experience for individuals in all stages of their educational journey. With these new features being released, it will be exciting to see how its customer base reacts and puts these exciting tools into use this upcoming academic year.