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  • 21 October 2020 11:04

Vision Australia rapidly trains employees and volunteers on COVID-19 measures with D2L

Brightspace's accessibility capabilities enable NFP to develop training and telehealth services, and support remote work

Melbourne, Australia – October 21, 2020 – In the face of COVID-19 social distancing requirements and restrictions, Vision Australia successfully trained its workforce and network of volunteers on telehealth and remote working best-practice with the Brightspace learning management system (LMS). As the organisation’s mission is to support blind and low vision Australians live the life they choose, the online courses had to be highly accessible to engage learners who are blind or have low vision.

Vision Australia is a leading national provider of blindness and low vision services in Australia. The not-for-profit employs 800 people and manages a network of 2,500 volunteers who support more than 25,500 blind and low vision Australians.

With around 15 per cent of its workforce blind or low vision themselves, accessibility is non-negotiable for all training and development Vision Australia provides. Dan Casey, Capability Development Manager at Vision Australia, said it first implemented D2L’s Brightspace platform in February 2020 to provide diverse and inclusive communication and education materials to its stakeholders.

“What set Brightspace apart for us was that D2L really understood accessibility,” he said. “Accessibility was built into the platform from the ground up, it wasn’t just an afterthought that was bolted on retroactively.”

Laura Hendrey, Learning and Development Coordinator at Vision Australia, said after having used Brightspace for seven months, the LMS helped Vision Australia overcome some of the logistics challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“All our client work was previously face-to-face, so we had to rapidly develop training around providing telehealth services – we ran a number of training sessions on Zoom which we recorded and uploaded to Brightspace, so people could view it whenever they needed to,” she said. “We then set up a basic competency structure for the telehealth training, along with some assignments which were aligned to the competencies. Also, we had to get people working from home quickly, so we used Brightspace to set up a working from home agreement, then released it as a survey for people to complete and submit online.”

With Vision Australia’s workforce spread across the nation, Hendrey said the platform’s Manager Dashboard also greatly simplified the process of monitoring who had completed mandatory third-party courses – such as an infection control course issued by the Commonwealth Department of Health for essential workers.

“Because we’d already established the platform as a one-stop-shop for learning and training, we were able to simply collect links to any mandatory courses and send them to all our employees and volunteers through Brightspace,” Hendrey said. “We then made it an assignment for anyone who had completed those courses to upload their certificates so we could run reports with just a single click to know who was up-to-date with their training.”

KEY FACTS:

• Accessibility. Vision Australia’s diverse workforce includes a number of employees and volunteers who require the use of screen readers and screen magnifiers. Brightspace’s ability to easily integrate with applications like the JAWS screen reader and ZOOM text magnifier ensured all stakeholders could fully engage with their training: “One of the main things that attracted us to D2L’s Brightspace platform was its rich accessibility options. As well as being compatible with a wide range of screen readers, the built-in Brightspace Accessibility Checker helps us detect potential accessibility issues in our courses automatically,” Hendrey said.

• Monitoring. Previously, Vision Australia found it difficult to keep track of learner progress because their prior LMS relied on excel spreadsheets and word documents which were cumbersome and time-consuming to manage – with Brightspace, detailed reports that track to learning outcomes can be generated with a single click: “From an audit perspective, we can now show real evidence of the competencies and learning outcomes that each learner has developed through real-time snapshots of everyone’s progress. With the competency feature, we can now show more than just whether someone has completed a course, but whether or not they’ve comprehended it – that’s really powerful for us.” Casey said.

• Support. Beyond the technical capabilities, Vision Australia has received ongoing support in how to best design courses and use the platform’s functionality to achieve desired learning outcomes: “Any questions we have or help we need, D2L has always been there to support us. They really understand what it is we’re trying to achieve, so for us the relationship is more like a partnership,” Casey said.

“There’s no half-measures when it comes to accessibility – a platform meets the standards or it doesn’t,” said Tony Maguire, Regional Director ANZ at D2L. “Vision Australia have proudly led the way in ensuring those who are blind or have low vision can more equitably participate in educational and employment opportunities. Thanks to Vision Australia’s work there is real choice and increased independence for all its stakeholders.”

ABOUT BRIGHTSPACE

Brightspace is a cloud-based learning platform built by educators, for educators that works on any device. It’s secure, worry-free technology that puts customers first — allowing you to create engaging courses within your existing technology to fit your unique needs. With Brightspace, you can easily set up individualized learning paths for your students, keep them on track with automated nudges, provide them with personalized feedback and increase their engagement through gamification, social tools, video and other powerful features. To learn more, visit the Higher Education and K-12 pages on our website. ABOUT D2L

D2L believes 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 online and in the classroom. Learn more about D2L for schools, higher education and businesses at www.D2L.com.

Twitter: @D2L © 2020 D2L Corporation

The D2L family of companies includes D2L Corporation, D2L Ltd, D2L Australia Pty Ltd, D2L Europe Ltd, D2L Asia Pte Ltd and D2L Brasil Soluções de Tecnologia para Educação Ltda.

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