D2L is an educational technology company best known for their learning management system Desire 2 Learn, recently rebranded as a Brightspace. Brightspace is used in K-12, Higher Education, and Corporate Learning. D2L also offers services to help organizations get Brightspace up and running. Training is a major part of the support services they offer their customers. There are a number of selling points that makes Brightspace appealing to customers including its accessibility, security, cloud integration, user interface, and partner integrations. Brightspace has built-in analytics tools as well as additional add-on functions.
According to their website over the last nineteen years they have expanded to a company with over 750 employees with offices in Canada, the United States, Australia, Europe, Singapore, and Brazil. They’ve won a number of awards including an award for being among Canada’s Best Managed Companies between 2013-2018.
John Baker was born in Newfoundland in 1976. He founded Desire 2 Learn while studying Engineering at the University of Waterloo. He was 22 at the time. It was during this time in school where he got the idea for D2L. On the corporate webstie it describes how he saw technology changing quickly around the world but the university experience staying the same. He graduated with Honours B.A.Sc. in Systems Design Engineering. He has since gone on to win several awards and continues to be the President and CEO of D2L.
Lessons to be Learned
I think it’s inspiring to see someone so young and Canadian succeeding in business. I also think it’s impressive that he’s still there and an important face for the company. What I find most interesting however is that none of the Executive Leadership have backgrounds in education. Most are in law, business, and science. The people in education that are doing exciting things and running successful businesses typically do not have backgrounds in education. I think part of the reason for this is that many of the people entering into the field of education are motivated by service over profit. So people trained in education tend not be as interested in starting for-profit businesses. Alternatively I wonder if there is something wrong with how the field of education is taught that discourages innovation and entrepreneurship.
As a Student of ETEC 522 if I’m serious about starting a business venture I wonder if my time would have been better used taking a business program. I realize this is a bit of a controversial thought so I’m interested in the comments below! Please let me know what you think.