In an exclusive interview with Tony Maguire, Regional Director for Australia and New Zealand at D2L, key insights were revealed about the company's pioneering efforts in eLearning and its commitment to accessibility in education and the workplace.
D2L, established in the late 90s, stands as one of the original eLearning companies. It shares its genesis with other North American contemporaries and Moodle from Western Australia. Maguire highlights the company's unique journey, "We still continue to be learning leader lead. Our founder, John Baker, is still at the helm, which has given us a particularly interesting approach to how we think about education and our connection to our clients."
Over its 25-year tenure, D2L has expanded its operations beyond North America, making significant strides in Australia for over 13 years. Maguire outlines D2L's impressive client base, ranging from universities and school districts to government associations and corporate entities. He notes the diversity of their clientele, including Queensland TAFE and Queensland Health.
Discussing the company's global reach, Maguire reveals D2L's involvement in various regions, including New Zealand, Southeast Asia, the UK, and North America. Recent achievements include partnerships with the State University of New York system and the City University of New York system.
In Australia, D2L's team fluctuates between 35 to 40 employees, primarily based in Melbourne. This regional focus is part of D2L's broader strategy to enhance eLearning accessibility and opportunities in the workplace. Maguire emphasizes the role of eLearning in empowering people to improve their circumstances and perspectives, stating, "Learning as a human endeavour is really around enabling people to lift themselves out of circumstance to change their view of the world, and to make their lives and hopefully the lives of those around them for the better."
Maguire also addresses the importance of considering neurodiversity in the workplace. He shares a striking statistic: "36% of working Australians who live with a disability are managers in businesses." This insight highlights the untapped potential within the neurodiverse community, a demographic often overlooked in traditional employment frameworks.
The pandemic has undeniably accelerated the adoption of eLearning, reshaping how content is consumed and interacted with. D2L has responded to these changes by focusing on inclusive design and aligning technology with the needs of diverse users. Maguire explains, "We think about the broadest use case we possibly can... and we know that if we've got them covered, everybody inside of that continuum is going to be equally supported."
D2L's commitment to inclusive learning extends to its platform design, adhering to international standards like WCAG 2.2. Maguire highlights the company's proactive approach in this area, "On the date that was released, we announced that our latest version of the platform was fully conformant with the new criteria in WCAG 2.2."
As for what sets D2L apart from its competitors, "I would say it's our unrelenting focus on the humanised dimension of learning, technology that enables, supports, and gives agency to everybody in the learning process," reflects Maguire.
Looking ahead, Maguire is optimistic about D2L's trajectory, citing the company's growth and client retention as key indicators of success. He concludes with a forward-looking statement, "We're really looking forward to 2024... Our clients aren't wedded to us through atrophy. We work closely with them around problems that matter for them."
Through its innovative approach to eLearning and commitment to accessibility, D2L is not just adapting to the changing educational landscape but is actively shaping it for the betterment of learners worldwide.