Lackawanna Steel Company : A neighborhood Mill

Desire2Learn [D2L]
IndustryEducational cloud software
Key people
BrandsBrightspace, Open Courses
Number of employees
1,000+ (2022)

D2L (or Desire2Learn) is a Canada-based global software company with offices in Australia, Brazil, Europe, Singapore, and the United States.

D2L is the developer of the Brightspace learning management system, a cloud-based software suite used by schools, higher educational institutions, and businesses for online and blended classroom learning.[1][2][3] The company is also the developer of Open Courses, a Massive Open Online Course platform.[4] The acronym D2L is short for Desire2Learn.


John Baker, president and CEO of Desire2Learn speaking at Guelph University[5]

D2L was founded in 1999 by Canadian entrepreneur John Baker, who became president and CEO.[6][7][8] He founded D2L while studying systems design engineering during his third year at University of Waterloo.[9] He was awarded the Meritorious Service Cross in 2017, for his work at the company to advance learning across the country and around the world.[10] The company went public with an initial public offering in November 2021, on the Toronto Stock Exchange.[11]


In 2004, D2L first introduced support for Competency Based Education, and launched an integrated ePortfolio product to allow learners to document their own learning.[12][13] The company became the recipient of the 2012 Platinum Learning Impact Award in the event hosted by IMS Global.[14] In 2013, D2L was recognized by the National Federation of the Blind for its leadership in Accessibility with the Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award.[15] Three years later, the company partnered with the National Federation of the Blind's Strategic Nonvisual Access Partner program to ensure learning systems are fully accessible.[16][17] That same year, D2L launched a beta of a redesigned interface using responsive web design to offer full functionality on mobile devices, which saw general release in 2017.[18]

Products and services

D2L Fusion convention in Kissimmee, Florida, 2019


D2L's first virtual learning environment clients included University of Guelph, Virtual High School (Ontario), the University of Waterloo and Fanshawe College.[citation needed] The technology is now being used by over 1,000 schools, colleges, universities, and businesses around the world.[19]

Brightspace was built using microservices and operates as a software as a service.[20] It incorporates Web Components and Google Polymer, HTML5, and responsive web design to provide a user interface that can work on any mobile device.

Brightspace combines a Learning Environment, ePortfolio, Learning Repository, Video Recorder, Virtual Classroom, eTextbook platform called Binder, and Mobile apps, in one cloud-based platform.[21]

In May 2020, Brightspace signed an agreement with Stockholm-based edtech company RepresentEdTech to resell and distribute its cloud-based learning platform in the Nordic region.[22]

Engagement Plus

Engagement Plus combines a cloud-based Lecture Capture system, interactive components for engaging course design, and a Course Catalog/Registration System.[23]

Performance Plus

Performance Plus is a bundle of learning analytics to help automate tasks and identify risks. An adaptive learning engine personalizes the content for each learner. Learning Analytics and Intelligent Agents provide early intervention to help learners. And a set of data that can be used to make improvements based upon analysis.[24]

In 2016, Fast Company recognized D2L as a leader in Data Science.[25]

Open Courses

In 2008, D2L entered the massive open online course MOOC market to support MOOC pioneers Stephen Downes and George Siemens.[26]

The University of Tasmania used D2L's MOOC platform for tens of thousands of learners with more than 70% of those students starting the courses finishing.[27]


D2L's services include: a cloud-based learning system, end-user help desk support, technical account management, technical data management, advisory consulting, program management, training, course development, customization, and accessibility design support.[28]


  1. ^ Tony Wan (July 14, 2014). "The Sum of Desire2Learn's Acquisitions: Brightspace". Edsurge News.
  2. ^ Joseph Czikk (July 15, 2014). "Desire2Learn Launches New Integrated Platform Called Brightspace". BetaKit.
  3. ^ Dian Schaffhauser (2014-07-14). "D2L Unveils Revamped Platform 'Brightspace' with Adaptive Learning". THE Journal.
  4. ^ "D2L Open Courses". D2L. Retrieved 2022-01-06.
  5. ^ "Leadership Team | About D2L". D2L.
  6. ^ missing detail
  7. ^ "EPC Spotlight-Desire2Learn". Archived from the original on August 28, 2008. Retrieved 2010-10-27.
  8. ^ "D2L - Complete profile - Canadian Company Capabilities - Industries and Business - Industry Canada". Retrieved 2016-04-05.
  9. ^ "From the President: It began in Waterloo". The Greentree Gazette. March 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-03-15. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
  10. ^ Gazette, Government of Canada, Public Works and Government Services Canada, Public Services and Procurement Canada, Integrated Services Branch, Canada (July 2017). "Canada Gazette – Government House". Retrieved 2018-10-21.
  11. ^ Silcoff, Sean (November 3, 2021). "D2L and E Automotive fail to ignite in TSX debuts, continuing humdrum streak for new Canadian tech issues". The Globe and Mail.
  12. ^ "Desire2Learn Supports Educators Striving to Enhance Student Learning Outcomes | D2L". D2L. Retrieved 2016-01-14.
  13. ^ "Desire2Learn Competencies and Rubrics: Part I". e-Literate. 18 November 2007. Retrieved 2016-01-14.
  14. ^ "Learning Impact 2012 Award Winners | IMS Global Learning Consortium". Retrieved 2017-11-01.
  15. ^ "National Federation of the Blind Awards $50,000 | National Federation of the Blind". Retrieved 2017-11-07.
  16. ^ "The Question of Blindfolds". Retrieved 2017-11-07.
  17. ^ "D2L Partners With National Federation of the Blind to Help Make Learning Accessible to All | Press Release | D2L". D2L. Retrieved 2017-11-07.
  18. ^ "D2L Closes the Desktop-Mobile Gap With Summer16 Release -- The Classroom of the Future Is Finally in Hand | Press Release | D2L". D2L. Retrieved 2017-11-07.
  19. ^ "Grow me the money". Retrieved 2017-11-07.
  20. ^ "Brightspace Cloud | D2L". D2L. Retrieved 2017-11-07.
  21. ^ "Brightspace Core Products & Support | D2L". D2L. Retrieved 2017-11-07.
  22. ^ Hamdani, Zahra (20 May 2020). "RepresentEdTech to provide D2L Brightspace across Nordics". Global Education Times. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  23. ^ "Engagement Plus | Multimedia & Creative Package for Brightspace | D2L". D2L. Retrieved 2017-11-07.
  24. ^ "Performance Plus | Learner Data & Success Package for Brightspace | D2L". D2L. Retrieved 2017-11-07.
  25. ^ "D2L: Most Innovative Company | Fast Company". Fast Company. Retrieved 2017-11-07.
  26. ^ "Open Education, MOOCs, and Opportunities".
  27. ^ "Understanding Dementia MOOC Data - Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre".
  28. ^ "eLearning Services | D2L". D2L. Retrieved 2017-11-07.

External links