Learning Management Systems

D2L Pursues Usage for LMS as K–12 PD Platform

Learning management company D2L has tweaked its learning management system to accommodate professional development management for K–12 teachers as well. In April the company announced a similar offering for the higher education edition of its cloud-based Brightspace platform. Among the features: a dashboard to manage teacher PD and new kinds of assessment support.

Along with the update, D2L has also released a consulting "service package" to help schools and districts implement a customized edition of the LMS for the purpose of PD.

According to Vice President Ken Chapman, by using Brightspace to track PD, "teachers and staff [will] not only learn within the same environment as their students, they'll become more effective teachers within that environment."

The new K–12 release includes a manager dashboard to help school leaders stay on top of enrollment and completion of PD courses taken by staff and teachers. With the use of "tagged" assets, such as date hired, department or reporting structure, managers can set up rule-based assignments to assign participants into specific kinds of training and then view metrics on employee course completion.

Participants can practice, demonstrate and receive feedback on their instructional practices via video-based recordings. The program allows for providing feedback; tying evaluation rubrics to mastery levels; adding interactive activities, including gaming features; and assigning traditional tests and quizzes.

Those who meet milestones can be recognized with digital badges that automatically show up in their "profile card"; and participants can track and share their success with personalized certificates.

Because the software is developed in HTML5, the content will adapt to multiple kinds of displays, including mobile and tablet devices.

And the new platform facilitates online collaboration through discussions, video-based breakout sessions and activity feeds.

"It is impossible for one teacher to be an expert at everything," noted Chris Huckans, the principal at D2L customer Bishop Hall Charter School in Georgia, in a prepared statement. "Using an LMS allows teachers to blend their expertise in a given field with technology that is keeping up with today's global environment. An LMS also allows for teachers to collaborate (peer guidance), which provides for a learning community."

Added Tracy Dalton, an assistant principal at Calgary's Bowness High School, which also uses D2L products, "So much research in the last 10 years has changed what we know about good teaching and learning that it can be overwhelming. Teachers need to be lifelong learners, but it can be challenging to keep up with all that is new when you are mired in the day-to-day work with students. Really effective, job-embedded, action-oriented professional learning helps teachers continually evolve their practice without burning out."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.