Brightspace LMS Review

D2L (Desire2Learn)
Brightspace LMS
D2L (Desire2Learn)
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Brightspace LMS At A Glance

Good: Accessibility features for all learners, Portfolio tool that documents learners' journeys, increased engagement with optional gamification features.
Bad: Learning curve due to robust features, training and documentation resources can be difficult to find.
Bottom Line: Cloud-based LMS that helps organizations provide the best learning experience with robust features, implementation and support.

Product Overview

Brightspace LMS enables organizations to provide a more engaging experience for their learners. Users can create personalized learning paths and custom content, communicate with other learners and track training programs. The software is deployed in the cloud, so organizations won’t need to host or maintain the data, and learners can access the software from any device.

There are numerous benefits of Brightspace LMS, such as:

  • Tailored to corporate, higher education and K-12 environments
  • Accessibility features (e.g., closed captioning)
  • Increased learner collaboration with gamification and social features
  • Integration with Student Information Systems (SIS), Human Resource Management Systems (HRMS) and other third-party software

The Brightspace LMS is available in three packages:

  • Brightspace Core, which is the foundation of the learning platform, combines the powerful tools, services, and support organizations need to deliver a best-in-class learning experience.
  • Performance Plus, an add-on package to Brightspace Core that unlocks advanced analytics features
  • Engagement Plus, an add-on package to Brightspace Core with gamification and multimedia content features


Here are the key features of each Brighstpace LMS module.

Brightspace Core – Brightspace Core supports a variety of content formats, such as an HTML editor that links with OneDrive and Google Drive, web links and videos. Users can create content within the platform or import off-the-shelf courses with a conversion tool. Users can set up assessments and assignments within each course (e.g., video assignments that require feedback from educators and peers). Brightspace Core also has accessibility features in its content, including closed captioning for videos.

In addition to online learning, educators can host virtual classes with an integrated web conferencing solution that includes whiteboards, slide sharing and other features. This module supports blended learning, too.

There’s also the Portfolio feature that enables learners to document and share their learning journeys. They can use the Brightspace mobile app to capture images, record videos or write in their thoughts. Learners can manage and organize their Portfolio within their Brightspace profile.

Additional features of Brightspace Core include an activity feed, automation tools, a Data Hub for accessing predefined datasets and a learning repository.

Performance Plus – The Performance Plus module includes advanced analytics features and personalized learning paths. Users can create data visualizations, share them with key stakeholders and receive triggered alerts if a datapoint reaches a specific threshold. Users can also measure adoption and performance with three custom dashboards – Adoption Dashboard (software adoption by learners), Engagement Dashboard (to identify successful or at-risks individuals or groups) and Assessments Dashboard (to measure effectiveness of quizzes). Based on the data, users can put together personalized learning paths with the adaptive learning engine that uses objectives, content and assessments tailored to specific learners.

Engagement Plus – With this module, users can create a game-like interface (Game Map) with quizzes, assignments and other content. Learners can complete each course at their own pace and receive points or badges after finishing a course. The Awards Leaderboard shows what badges learners have earned.

In addition to gamification, the Engagement Plus module includes multimedia lecture recordings for K-12 and higher education institutions. Users can add the lectures directly to their courses.

Finally, organizations can sell their courses with a turnkey eCommerce system that integrates with PayPal for collecting registration fees. To sell courses, organizations can simply set up a course catalog with search and self-enrollment options.

Target Market

Brightspace is intended for corporate and educational institutions of all sizes. We’ve listed 10 of its clients below.

  • American Nurses Association
  • Accenture
  • Colliers International
  • Grant Thornton
  • Gwinnett County Public Schools
  • Purdue University
  • New York City Department of Education
  • Southern New Hampshire University
  • State University of New York
  • University of Cape Town (South Africa)

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D2L’s cloud-based platform allows for a quick, easy and seamless implementation. It offers various Implementation Services and Training Services packages based on the individual client’s needs. While the implementation process can vary, there are five typical phases. Those phases are:

  1. Get Started – In this phase, D2L recommends that clients think about their goals and requirements – and how Brightspace LMS can address them.
  2. Kickoff – Clients are introduced to the implementation team, who uncovers their needs and develops a tailored implementation plan.
  3. Discover and Design – The implementation team learns more about the organization and makes configuration recommendations that align with teaching and learning goals.
  4. Train and Coach – D2L’s training team develops a tailored plan that can include live online courses or self-paced on-demand training.
  5. Prepare and Launch – The implementation team works with the organization to ensure all technical integrations and workflows are running smoothly. They’re also on hand to help with troubleshooting or answer any questions the client may have.

Customer Service & Support

D2L recognizes that one size doesn’t fit all, so it offers a variety of Support Service packages for clients. What’s more, its support team is available 24/7 for administrative and/or end-user support, and the Brightspace Community is available 24/7 for users to browse self-serve resources or collaborate with fellow educators on best practices.


D2L doesn’t publicly display its pricing information. Please contact the company directly for a quote.


Some users have mentioned they experienced a learning curve with Brightspace’s robust features. Also, they feel that the software’s training and documentation resources doesn’t always address their questions.


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D2L (Desire2Learn) was founded in 1999 by John Baker with the mission to reach every learner. It believes that learning is the foundation upon which all progress and achievement rests. Working closely with organizations globally, D2L has transformed the way millions of people learn both online and in the classroom. Its cloud-based learning management system, Brightspace, helps K-12 schools, higher education institutions and corporate organizations run blended and fully online courses.

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