Founded in 1999 in Canada, Desire2Learn Incorporated (Desire2Learn) is a leading provider of eLearning solutions to higher education, K-12 institutions and other organizations worldwide. Desire2Learn offerings include the Enterprise eLearning Suite, which is comprised of the web-based Learning Environment, ePortfolio, Learning Repository, and LiveRoom. Desire2Learn is driven by their core philosophy that an eLearning platform should not dictate the approach our clients take to teaching and learning. It should be tailored to their needs, desired look and feel, philosophy, beliefs, vision, brand and pedagogical approaches.

Kristin Greene Marketing Manager, International. Kristin is the International Marketing Manager for Desire2Learn. She is currently focused on developing Desire2Learn’s market presence in the U.K. and Australia. Previously, Kristin spent four years conducting strategic planning with 50 education institutions and organizations in the U.S. and eight years in corporate strategy consulting. Kristin is passionate about technology and utilizing technology to help institutions increase access and success.

Charlene Douglas Marketing Manager, Higher Education. Charlene has worked for Desire2Learn for over four years as an eLearning Consultant, the Director of Small Client Initiatives and now as the Marketing Manager for Higher Education. Charlene has 18 years experience in the corporate environment and 19 years in higher education dealing mostly with the areas of eLearning, data centers, hosting and Help Desks. Charlene has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, a Masters in Counseling and an EdD in Educational Psychology.

KH: Desire2Learn has made excellent in-roads in a market in which clients tend to gravitate towards ‘safe’ and well-known providers, and in which the internal/operational costs of switching providers are considerable. What is Desire2Learn doing that its competitors are not?

CD/KG: There are a number of aspects that are core to Desire2Learn and differentiate us in the space. Because our roots are in education, we are not only passionate about education, but we believe we share the values of educators in both higher education and K-12. As a company, we are committed to client satisfaction and to that end we involve clients in our product design, invest 43% of our budget into R&D and evaluate our success on our client success. Because we are completely self-funded, we can keep 100% of our focus on our clients and prospective clients. From a technology standpoint, we think we differ by:

• Fastest application and requires less servers
• Highly scalable competition (proven to over 1 million users)
• Unmatched architecture (variables, unlimited roles and org structure)
• Most secure in industry • Focus on accessibility (equivalent and effective access)
• Open standards support (W3C, IEEE, IMS and others)
• Easy to learn and remember (less retraining)
• One click to edit – reduces training and support
• Two clicks to get to all major functions
• Best hosting services in business

A few of our unique tools include:

• Attendance tracking, checklists
• Data warehouse and new analytics service
• Intelligent agents, search tools and conditional release
• Accessible, Embedded HTML editor with QuickLinks
• Rubrics and competencies (aka learning outcomes or standards)
• Free BlackBerry application and web services

KH: More colleges and universities are considering open source LMS solutions. And an increasing number of well-established technology consulting firms are offering services for open source LMS solutions. How does Desire2Learn plan to differentiate its products and services to address this competition?

CD/KG: (Answer) There have been many studies that look into the selection and use of proprietary versus Open Source LMS solutions. Our belief is that technology shouldn’t take away from an institution’s focus on teaching and learning, but rather support it. When a client partners with Desire2Learn, they mitigate risk through engaging with the most advanced and comprehensive technology. Desire2Learn delivers the best of both worlds – structure, features and tools that enable an institution to develop what they need coupled with the backing of a firm with a robust roadmap, tight integration and accountability for client success.

KH: The LMS market was originally built to provide web-based tools for classroom-based courses in higher education. However, the strongest growth is in online enrollments. (The most recent Sloan report noted that classroom enrollment grew by 1.2%, compared to 12.9% for online.) How does Desire2Learn plan to address the unique needs of the online market?

CD/KG: Desire2Learn’s Enterprise products are all adaptable for the spectrum from web enhanced to totally online education. We know that the online market is aiming to increase accessibility, quality, and outcomes. Accessibility is our second priority after security. We strive to provide equal access to all of our products through adhering to standards, collaborating with industry bodies and advisory groups, and conducting end-user testing. Our tools are built with a comprehensive set of communication tools and competencies to facilitate online learning.

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