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Bournemouth University Personalises Education With Brightspace Learning Platform

Sam Pudwell joined Silicon UK as a reporter in December 2016. As well as being the resident Cloud aficionado, he covers areas such as cyber security, government IT and sports technology, with the aim of going to as many events as possible.

Students want personalisation and they definitely want technology

Bournemouth University (BU) is to start using education technology company D2L’s Brightspace Learning Management System (LMS) to deliver more engaging and personalised experiences to students.

After an evaluation process involving a pitch presentation and multiple usability tests, the platform was chosen due to its ease of us and mobility which makes it available anytime and anywhere.

Built-in analytics will enable BU to track and understand individual student performance, which can be used to tailor learning experiences and help educators design courses, create content and grade assignments.

university lecturer, education

It just got personal

“Brightspace’s ability to create personalised learning experiences for our students was key in making our choice,” said the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Tim McIntyre-Bhatty of Bournemouth University (BU).

“The feedback from our students during testing was incredibly positive, and with BU having a real focus on enhancing learning outcomes, we felt Brightspace was the right solution to support our ambitions in this area. BU students will now be able to work at a pace that best suits them and their capabilities, wherever they are located.”

Speaking to Silicon, D2L’s EMEA chief Elliot Gowans emphasised the importance of being able to create personalised learning experiences in what is becoming an increasingly competitive market.

“With uncapped student numbers and The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) now in place, focus has to shift further towards quality of teaching and learning and the student experience at an institution,” he said.

“The TEF puts universities under pressure to improve student satisfaction, retention and employability. All other aspects of our lives, particularly our digital lives, are personalised (Netflix, Flipboard etc.) and in order to engage students and have them as active players in their own success it is necessary to engage them in the way they expect.”

The integrations of platforms such as D2L’s is part of a wider digital transformation trend currently sweeping across the education sector.

Gowans explained how factors such as improved connectivity and the proliferation of smartphones are creating new ways of learning, with the likes of augmented reality and virtual learning environments (VLE) enabling students to “engage in a fulfilling learning experience on any device, without necessarily ever having to step foot into a physical classroom or lecture hall.”

Education 2.0

The UK is doing its part to encourage this education revolution, but it’s something which is gathering pace all over the world as the benefits of technology in the classroom continue to be realised.

“Education providers in countries such as Canada, the USA and Australia are already reporting rises in levels of student satisfaction and retention as a result of modern VLE technology and personalised learning,” Gowans continued.

“In the UK, the market seems to have recognised that there has been a step-change where VLE technology is concerned and many institutions are now choosing to switch from older, clunkier systems, onto next generation learning platforms.”

And, as is the case across many other sectors, the trend is unlikely to slow down any time soon.

“Almost everything is done digitally now, long gone are the days of handing a physical assignment in through a staff pigeon hole. Digital transformation within the education sector is providing the students with far more choice in how they learn.

“It’s also enabling instructors to reach every learner – with data and personalisation, this transformation has meant it’s possible to tailor and adapt to each student before it’s too late, rather than get a body count of who didn’t pass.”

As with any other business, universities can’t afford to ignore this wave of digitisation. Today’s students want the quality of technology in education to match that in their personal lives and those who meet these demands will be the ones who attract the top talent.

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