Desire@Learn is the Learning Management System used by the entire University of Wisconsin system and all UW campuses. Each campus has some control over how it is used. For instance some campuses create a D2L course for every face to face course help on campus, and require instructors to use it for grading and discussions. Some campuses use it for hybrid courses of face to face instruction and online instruction. All campuses use it for fully online courses.
- Desire2Learn is easy to navigate from both a student and instructor point of view. Students use an LMS for the end goal of learning course material. If they must invest a great deal of time first learning to use the LMS, it detracts from the flexibility of online learning.
- Desire2Learn is very customizable. An organization can create a branded look and feel for their D2L instance, while still providing flexibility for specific course customizations. However, if the organization prefers the courses all look and feel the same, they can remove permissions for other to customize their course shells.
- Desire2Learn is easy to use, even for people with little technical skill. While you do have the option to code your pages in html, you also have the option to use many WYSIWYG editors that make creating content as easy as using Microsoft Word.
- Desire2Learn could use added functionality in making content accessible to screenreaders. Creating screenreader accessible math courses proved quite difficult - especially higher level math. While I did find a way to make it work, it was quite a manual process. It would also be helpful to have a accessibility checker built into the LMS so that institution would have the ability to scan courses for inaccessible content.
- Often times updates seem to be haphazard and not well thought through. each update would fix one problem but create a new problem. However, this is very common with software in general.
- The way that the discussion forums are built makes it difficult to grade students and offer meaningful feedback.
- The eportfolio is a great tool, but it doesn't allow for peer feedback from multiple users.
- D2L allows us to create a large number of high level and quality courses in a relatively short amount of time.
- D2L is user friendly and has allowed us to teach our faculty to use the LMS in a meaningful manner to create course content and interact with students.
- D2L allows our students to be efficient learners - focusing on their course and the content and not on how to use the LMS.
I have used D2L, Blackboard, and Scorm - all in organizations where I had no decision input. I have found D2L to be the easiest to master from an administrative side and a design side. In all of these positions, I have been in charge of training others in the use of these systems. D2L was the most user friendly and needed the least amount of hands on training for staff. I trust staff to work effectively in D2L after my training, with the other systems I was afraid to let go of the leash.
While this product is not perfect, it is the most effective and efficient of all of the LMS products I have used. It is intuitive in a way that most programs are not - which is why it is easier to train people in its use. I like the freedom and flexibility in design, and appreciate the freedom in creating roles and permissions that it allows for.
I think that D2L is best suited to a large organization that has a strong IT support system. It seems to be best suited for educational purposes. It is a robust system that might be too robust for a small organization. It has a lot of great tools, but ask yourself how many of the tools would be used. If you are a university or a whole school district I would highly recommend this product. If you are a small school, or a private organization I would say this product is overkill for what you need.