Electronic Learning

Desire2Learn Unveils Learning Suite 9.0

Desire2Learn is publicly unveiling a major update to its Learning Suite this week, including the Learning Repository and ePortfolio.

The Desire2Learn Learning Suite includes D2L's flagship learning management system (the Desire2Learn Learning Environment), analytics tool, learning repository, and electronic portfolio, all of which receive feature upgrades in the Learning Suite 9.0 release. The suite as a whole also receives improvements in the areas of security, user experience, accessibility, and performance.

Desire2Learn Learning Environment
Learning Environment is D2L's core electronic learning system, providing tools for course management, development, and delivery, along with a suite of collaboration, learning, and assessment tools. It also provides services like plagiarism detection and integration with third-party tools like iParadigms' GradeMark for markup of dropbox submissions.

The new version in Learning Suite 9.0 includes a wide range of enhancements, including a new Instructional Design Wizard for creating "pedagogically sound" courses and incorporating assessments that relate to course objectives. Authors can define learning goals and competencies, associate activities with courses, and organize gradebooks for those course.

The screen shot below shows the dialog for aligning a hypothetical course on geometry to one of several pre-defined objectives.

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It also adds a Course Builder and analytic rubrics, with customizable levels within groupings (seen below) and editing capabilities.

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Other new features include:

  • Support for using user profile images throughout the system;
  • New auditor management features, including bulk creation and deletion of auditors and their information using CSV text files;
  • An improved HTML editor;
  • Support for MathML and LaTeX;
  • New, open APIs and Web services; and
  • New accessibility features, including accessible templates and "frameless tools."

Learning Repository
Learning Repository is Desire2Learn's digital asset management and content management tool, used for organizing curricular materials and assessments and sharing digital resources among users.

In Learning Suite 9.0, it gains enhanced search functionality, including filtering by keywords, rating,
object type, publish date, and other criteria; stemming; spelling suggestions; autofill; and full-text searching in HTML, PDF, text, and Word files.

It also adds the ability to store quizzes within the repository, with the ability to store and search individual questions and to add questions and quizzes from the repository to the quiz management tool.

Desire2Learn Analytics is a Web-based business intelligence tool designed to help schools monitor and analyze data from the Learning Environment, such as enrollment trends and demographic information.

The latest release adds scheduling for reports, along with support for pre-designed and custom reports, as well as ad hoc reports. Data can be analyzed from the Desire2Learn Learning Environment and from third-party sources. Supported data has been expanded to include activity, course access, content access, competencies, grades, quizzes and surveys, and Web server logs, among others.

Designed to be used as a stand-alone application or to be integrated with the Desire2Learn learning management system, D2L ePortfolio is targeted toward end users as a repository for storing and organizing, as well as presenting, digital artifacts.

The new version gains enhanced dashboard functionality, including support for profile pictures, customizable welcome areas, and search. It also adds support for displaying news feeds (with inline comments) and other dynamic information, like unread invitations, items recently viewed by others, and items recently modified, among others.

Other new features include:

  • Support for pushing and pulling ePortfolio content to and from other systems;
  • Additional third-party system integration; and
  • "Full Web service support for artifacts, reflections, sharing, collections, [and] tagging, in addition to existing import/export Web services."

Further information about Desire2Learn Learning Suite 9.0 will be available Wednesday on Desire2Learn's site here.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidrnagel/ .