11 Jun 2021
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D2L continues to expand in A/NZ market, bringing lifelong learning to more

By Catherine Knowles

D2L has made a number of significant hires for its business leadership team, in order to continue to drive growth in the Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) region.

Education and enterprise in A/NZ

As part of its strategic push for lifelong learning relevant to the A/NZ economies, D2L has recruited Stephen Atherton and Jason Staples to head its local Education and Enterprise businesses, respectively.

Stephen Atherton has decades of experience in educational technology, having worked as a K-12 classroom teacher, university educational technologist, and consultant in technology-enhanced teaching in A/NZ and the UK.

In addition, he spent 16 years with the Apple Education team, where he focussed on professional development in the higher education market.

Jason Staples brings more than 15 years of business leadership experience across a variety of industries including eLearning, human resources (HR), management consulting, software-as-a-service (SaaS) and telecommunications - most recently as a senior account executive with SAP Litmos.

The appointees join an A/NZ team of 40 and will report to Tony Maguire, regional director A/NZ at D2L.

On the appointments and the growth in the A/NZ region, Maguire says, “In the past year, we've seen huge demand for digital technologies that deliver engaging remote learning experiences.

"From enterprises and NFPs, to universities and vocational education providers, digital transformation programs that enable the delivery of short courses and microcredentials ensured students and professionals could continue their learning and professional development throughout the pandemic."

He says, "We have also partnered with schools to enable blended or hybrid learning to manage disruption, all the while focused on delivering personalised and accelerated outcomes for every learner - from pre-school through to retirement.

“Stephen and Jason provide the calibre of expertise - as former teachers, subject matter experts, and trusted advisors - that will ensure our customers don’t just recover then go back to the way things were, but establish brand new norms, processes and policies more consistent with the socio-economic demands and challenges faced on either side of the Tasman."

D2L's business development

D2L has also appointed Yashveer Setia and Ali Zanjani to business development roles.

Setia is tasked with driving digital transformation and equitable access to local and international learners, while Zanjani is charged with helping companies establish competitive learning advantage through deeper analytics and learner experience capabilities.

In addition, Stacey Atkinson has joined the company to lead marketing in A/NZ, bringing with her experience in the healthcare, retail and tourism industries.

Central to D2L’s increased local investment is a two-way partnership model tailored to provide customers with relevant and effective, technology-led change management strategies, while simultaneously providing D2L with insights to influence its product roadmap, which has already seen new services and features launched directly from the insights of A/NZ companies, the company states.

Maguire says, “Our go-to-market aims to redefine the meaning of education and professional development as they’re known today. We need to eschew previous norms that impact individual and organisational growth.

"This involves challenging ingrained concepts of learning and professional development as standalone, point-in-time phases, and recognising that authentic lifelong learning models allow every learner to take control of their development with comprehensive mechanisms and tools to guide them to the best possible outcome for their life and career ambitions.”

D2L's A/NZ growth in 2020

In 2020, D2L signed a number of new customers and major expansion deals with local schools, universities, vocational education providers, and enterprises seeking strategies and best practice solutions to digitalise education and training programs.

Projects span the healthcare, retail, and not-for-profit (NFP) sectors, with customers including Vision Australia, the College for Adult Learning, and the Australian Association of Social Workers.

These organisations shared the common desire to transform how training and skills development occurs, implement microcredentials, and provide technology-led, personalised experiences to internal and external stakeholders, D2L states.

The company also guided Deakin University through its migration of 30,000 students to online learning after campuses closed and continued to deliver Victoria University’s Block Model curricula to students through the Brightspace platform.

Further to this, D2L helped offer COVID-safe training programs to professionals providing essential services during lockdowns.

D2L’s A/NZ strategy and momentum form part of a broader Asia-Pacific business. In the last year, D2L has also signed agreements within Southeast Asia with organisations such as The City Government of Taguig, for the Department of Education Division of Taguig and Pateros (TAPAT), Chevalier School and Informatics Philippines.

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