Best Solution for Students with Special Needs

Recognizes the best solution specifically designed to benefit students with unique educational needs, including those with physical or learning disabilities, those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), or those who are gifted and talented in the PK-12 or higher education market. Includes solutions that are 508 compliant and provide instructional materials that are accessible, with accommodations enabled, or developed under the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

Brightspace - D2L


Customer Stories

HE: Academy Canada – Helping students with Disabilities to Enter the Workforce 

  • “We saw that D2L’s Brightspace platform offered us the combination of rich functionality and ease of use we needed to support our entire community of instructors and learners—especially students with special learning needs.”
  • Working with the D2L team, Academy Canada designed digital courses and education tools in the Brightspace platform with a special focus on assistive technologies. For example, Brightspace integrates multisensory approaches from Kurzweil Education to help students who are living with dyslexia. Similarly, course materials are designed to include alternate text to describe images and diagrams, so people with visual impairments can have a richer learning experience.
  • Moreover, by providing more options for studying online and finding the right balance between interaction and individual study, the Brightspace platform is designed to support students who find a traditional classroom environment distracting— providing a learning environment that helps them maintain focus.
  • The focus on accessibility doesn’t just help students with special learning needs—it helps everyone. For example, the introduction of visual scheduling techniques was prompted by a desire to help people on the Autism spectrum manage their learning, but in reality, almost all students find them beneficial.
  • “Whenever it came to making design decisions for our courses, our philosophy was to keep accommodation at the front of our minds at all times,” says Lisa Lovelady. “For example, if we uploaded video clips to support a learning program, we wanted to ensure we could add subtitles later if we needed to. Capabilities like this are built into Brightspace to ensure that it’s straightforward to make courses accessible to students with special learning needs without complex and time-consuming retrofitting further down the line.”


K12: VHS Learning – Bringing ASL to online learners through video

  • VHS Learning identified D2L’s Video Note tool in Brightspace as a central pillar in the design of the new ASL course.
  • With Video Note, students can record themselves performing a signing exercise or assessment and upload the video to Dropbox, directly within the Brightspace interface. By eliminating the need to create videos separately and then attach them as external links or files, this provides a much more seamless user experience.
  • The feedback from our students is that the course’s emphasis on recording and uploading their assignments is a significant motivator. One student commented: “If we didn’t have these assignments I wouldn’t practice as much as I do, so I think they’re very helpful in learning proper signing.”
  • “What’s interesting is that very few staff members knew that we have a teacher who is deaf,” says Englander. “D2L’s Brightspace platform levels the playing field for everyone. We’re passionate about building courses that allow everyone to participate on an equal footing, so this is a real win.”


Brightspace is an online learning platform built by D2L for educators and administrators who care deeply about student success and engagement. Brightspace provides a set of tools to quickly enable all student and faculty members to be more successful and achieve their potential.  

Brightspace is a modern cloud-based learning platform that makes virtual and blended learning easy, flexible, smart and supports all types of learning experiences. We help our clients reach their learning goals by supporting all mobile devices, ensuring accessibility for all students and making it simple to drag-and-drop content to create engaging courses.

D2L enables the future of learning with a gaming engine, adaptive learning, video management, virtual personal assistants, templated interactives for course design, full support for competency-based learning, and actionable learning analytics – helping both teachers and students improve outcomes – making predictions that help you take the right actions.  

Access –

Access to learning has changed for millions of students. Should buildings need to close or if a virtual option is preferred by families, it’s critical that students are set up for success. D2L Brightspace provides flexible access to learning, connecting students to their schools on any device, anywhere. 

D2L Brightspace is the only leading learning management platform specifically designed for mobile, with native apps and fully responsive web design. It can be accessed from any browser—on cell phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop—so that students can learn from anywhere, at any time. D2L Brightspace also features offline content access so students can access materials whenever and wherever they need them. 

D2L Brightspace is also the only learning innovation platform that includes accessibility tools and features aligned with WCAG 2.1 AAA. This commitment to Universal Design for Learning (UDL) means our platform is designed with accessibility in mind and is interoperable with assistive technologies. We support teachers in technology, content, and pedagogy, so courses are more accessible for students with disabilities in each of these areas. 

  • Our standards-compliant technology platform and tools allow teachers and students using assistive technologies to easily create and access learning content and activities. 
  • Built-in accessibility checking tools and accessible course templates assist with making great content for everyone. 
  • Numerous features in D2L Brightspace allow differentiation in instruction, assessment, and engagement, and enable teachers to align their pedagogy with the principles of UDL. 

We are a trusted partner for schools that care as deeply as we do about using technology to make education more accessible. We’re passionate about helping teachers create and deliver transformative learning experiences that ensure all learners achieve more than they dreamed possible.  

Customization, Design flexibility and Ease of use-

We empathize with learners and educators to design delightful, intuitive experiences that foster lifelong learning. Progressive Disclosure is an industry term that means the interface shows a basic set of options that meet most needs and reveals more as required. It means we design our products so that all users can get the basics done, but also quickly incorporate more advanced options as they need them. We do this through insights gained from user research, so that we can ensure this is done well and that the end-to-end experience is meaningful and cohesive for educators and students.  

This design philosophy helps achieve the full spectrum of technology adoption at an institution by providing a seamless, easy to use experience meeting the 80% of use-cases up-front while not sacrificing the flexibility and depth that the advanced 20% of the population requires. 

With changes that impact the end-users of the product such as: instructional technologist, faculty, teaching assistants and students, it’s important that we listen to our end-users to drive future enhancements and streamlined user experience improvements. We do this by ensuring we have empathy in product design and development through conducting generative user research with people in the roles that we’re designing for. Research allows us to make sure that we understand users’ goals, challenges, needs, and expectations and to confirm that they can successfully use what we create.  

For nonreaders and early readers, D2L Brightspace offers age-appropriate icons and “Funster mode,” where little ones can showcase their growth in Portfolio. As students mature, offer them more advanced features, like the ability to self-enroll in supplemental courses.  

For English language learners with various language needs, D2L Brightspace auto-generates closed-captions for videos in different languages with Video Note. Various language translations of the platform are available and content translation can be provided through our partners. There are also many opportunities to incorporate audio and video instead of (or in addition to) text throughout the platform.  

Continuous Innovation: New Services, Features, and Tools - 

As we work to emerge from the changes that were brought about by the pandemic, we here at D2L continuously worked to deliver new features and improve upon existing ones to help them connect, communicate, and stage engaged while teaching and learning from home, blended, or fully online. 

Distribute and Manage Courses Across Multiple Systems 

When COVID-19 hit, we quickly heard from our clients that distributing and managing courses within an institution where there may not be an instructor available, and many institutions especially within a state, looking to share & consolidate wherever possible. Clients were struggling with exporting/importing course packages between different LMSs, lacking resources to setup and distribute accounts or arrange for single sign-on integrations. We responded with a new feature called Course Publisher. Institutions can simply take an existing Brightspace course, publish it and distribute it. This results in a seamless, secure transition into the Brightspace course from the external LMS, no user provisioning or SSO is required. The Course publisher removes the risk of distributing copies of their intellectual property through traditional course packages, as all the content remains securely in Brightspace. An additional benefit to our clients since external learners are enrolled into Brightspace through the tool, our customers can leverage all the great reporting tools available to them today to track external learner progress and measure effectiveness of their course content. For students, this means not having to manage multiple credentials - they simply log into their home LMS, click on a link to launch into our customers' full Brightspace course. 

Enabling Human Connections  

While there has been a complete transformation of the education system during the pandemic, learners with disabilities have also borne the brunt of lack of accessibility to high-quality education in the face of a lapse of the traditional learning space. When schools started to shut their doors due to the pandemic, it was clear that the first need was to quickly replicate the face-to-face classroom time with Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet. D2L responded by making many improvements to the integration experience, ensuring it was a key component of the learning ecosystem.  

Now, schools are now revisiting and finding value to create a more accessible, efficient, and personalized experience with video and again D2L is responding with embedding video experiences throughout the Brightspace product and making it simple and easy to use for all users. Our Video Note tool provides teachers with a fast and easy way to record and upload accessible lessons and feedback for learners, resulting in a sharp rise in Video Note adoption (more than 3500%—over the past two years). Recently we’ve expanded the capabilities include searchable existing recorded content, editors, adaptive streaming, customizable content titles and descriptions, and the ability to utilize reporting. A strength of our Video Note tool provides automatic closed captioning in multiple languages for recording videos and the ability to manually add or update captions for all users in the Brightspace platform, no third-party technology required. Memorable, impactful online learning has human connection at its heart and with our video functionality it supports enabling learners who are deaf or hard-of-hearing to understand and respond to audio aspects of visual communication.  

Brightspace Portfolio 

Beyond video, our customers told us that they wanted easy ways to keep learners engaged – especially young learners who have been over the past couple of years, sporadically at home. Using Portfolio and the Portfolio app, students of all ages can capture and share their learning journey with educators, who can then evaluate and share with parents using Brightspace for Parents. Portfolio isn’t new, and having portfolio connected to a personal mobile device isn’t new either, but in the past couple of years several new needs emerged. What can we do to help families with multiple children at home now sharing a mobile device? Or those that rely on the Portfolio funster mode for non-readers, which is designed for in-class use only? For them, we created Portfolio family mode. With these changes, Portfolio usage has taken off with more than 7500% growth in adoption over the past couple of years.  

Recently, our K12 clients have seen a need also arise for a way to collect evidence of and self-reflections for things such as extracurricular activities, internships, and independent learning/research. D2L responded by designing and releasing features that support students collecting, sharing evidence of learning not associated with a course. Watch this video as a student walks through a step-by-step guide on using Portfolio.  

Brightspace Parents & Guardian App 

It’s never been more important to ensure it is easy for students, families, and teachers to connect, stay informed and to receive notifications. Working in close collaboration with our clients, we have released our Parents & Guardian mobile application which displays some of the most important information in D2L Brightspace. In the Work to Do widget, you can view the following activities: Assignments, Discussions, Quizzes, Surveys, and Checklists that have an upcoming or past due date. Assignments and Discussions can also be opened to reveal more details. The app gives parents, guardians, caregivers, and families a window into the classroom in the palm of their hand. With the push notifications, everyone can stay informed and maintain awareness of upcoming work. For homes with multiple students in the same school district, the Brightspace Parent & Guardian App conveniently acts as a one-stop shop where each of their students’ progress can be viewed at any time. Watch this video as a guardian walks through common use cases for the mobile application. 

Integration –

Even with Brightspace’s exceptional track record of scalability, reliability, responsiveness, accessibility, we also benefit from online learning solutions outside of our platform. We believe open always wins—with people and with products. That’s why we continue to build integrations and partnerships that promote safe and secure learning experiences and encourage our customers to blend Brightspace into their broader online ecosystems. Unlike other walled garden learning platforms, Brightspace is open and includes source code libraries and standards-based integrations such as IMS One Roster, LTI Advantage, AICC, and xAPI that let users create their own ideal mix of tools, content, and applications. This open approach allows our customers to maintain easy access to their data through APIs, download critical datasets, and incorporate timely insights into their day-to-day workflows. 

We offer our customers choice in the online tools they use in and outside the classroom. In 2021, D2L signed IMS Global Learning Consortium’s Standards First Pledge, demonstrating our commitment to make open standards the primary choice for education technology and empower customers to determine the right mix of solutions to support their business and learners. Today, D2L’s Brightspace platform is a leader in the industry with 17 IMS certifications and is recognized as the first commercial learning management system certified for IMS Learning Information Services. This interoperability between systems delivers a better experience for learners and helps customers avoid additional costs, inflexibility and barriers created by closed systems. Supporting open standards is entrenched in D2L’s DNA. We care deeply about building a learning platform that is a hub to an open ecosystem of over 1,800 integrated technologies. We work hard to give our clients choice and easy integration through open standards.  

Positive impact –

Feedback and assessment tools streamline the process for teachers to provide feedback. And with tools such as annotations, video and audio feedback, rubrics, and anonymous marking, feedback will be specific, relevant, meaningful and timely – leading to better student outcomes.  

Reports –  

Meaningful data drives better instructional decisions. Tying student achievement data to teacher evaluations is becoming a commonplace practice for many institutions. Being able to access and use data in the classroom itself is no longer an option, but a necessity. 

The Brightspace platform offers flexible, multi-source data reporting features to help understand what students have mastered. Examples supporting data-driven instruction may include: 

  • Formative classroom assessment data for determining how effective a lesson is.
  • Benchmark test data for measuring mastery on units of study, or a set of learning objectives, as part of accountability.
  • Rubrics that provide teachers with standardized evaluation methods and give students the opportunity to assess their own work prior to submission.

Data is available based on multiple assessment types, including diagnostic, formative, and summative. Diagnostic and formative assessment data allows a teacher to measure a student’s understanding and differentiate instruction in precise ways. Summative assessment data helps students prepare for state assessments and track schools’ accountability. 

The Brightspace platform supports holistic and analytic rubrics for the evaluation of learner performance on activities linked to specific competencies and learning objectives. Rubrics are available through a variety of course tools, including Quizzes, Dropbox assignments, Grades, ePortfolio items, and Discussions. 

Instructors can subsequently tie learning objectives to these various items to assess what students do not know before moving forward. State standards can be imported and used to align competencies and objectives within a course. This allows assessments, assignments, and activities to be tailored to the curriculum, further supporting the collection of student performance data. This information can be accessed through Quiz and User Progress Reports, and—more powerfully—analytics tools. 

The Brightspace Advanced Analytics solution provides reporting at both institutional and user levels. Activity reports and academic achievement charts, for example, support the administrative team while specific learning deficiency reports assist classroom decision making. Advanced Analytics helps users identify specific student needs and interests. The solution presents data in meaningful ways that help efficiently meet academic challenges. Instead of waiting for standardized test results to gauge the direction of the classroom or school, Advanced Analytics provides the data immediately

Security –

At D2L, we take security and privacy very seriously. Our approach puts our client’s security and data confidentiality, availability and integrity first. Our process works, demonstrated by a track record of delivering reliable security to all of our clients. D2L’s contracts include confidentiality provisions that prohibit D2L from disclosing customer confidential information, including customer data, except under certain defined circumstances, such as when required by law. D2L agrees not to access customer’s accounts, including customer data, except to maintain the service, prevent or respond to technical or service problems, at a customer’s request in connection with a customer support issue, or where required by law. We take our responsibility to protect the confidentiality, availability and integrity of your data seriously, which is why we have the following certifications: 

We design the Brightspace platform with privacy in mind. We have a long-standing practice of proactively incorporating privacy features into our products and practices. Privacy by Design is how we develop our solutions and helps maintain the trust of our learners. 

We also understand the importance of regulatory compliance with respect to the security, and privacy of information. Our services support compliance with your privacy and security requirements. We have invested significant engineering, process, and security efforts into our offerings to help our clients address user data privacy under relevant privacy laws. 

The Brightspace platform supports compliance with rigorous standards. 

  • GDPR (The General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679)
  • FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) 
  • COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998) 
  • PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act) 
  • LGPD (Brazilian General Data Protection Law) 
  • ISO 27001, 27018, SOC 1 Type 2 and SOC 2 Type 2, Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), Security, Trust and Assurance Registry (STAR) 
  • We are EU-U.S. Privacy Shield certified and are a proud signatory of the Privacy Pledge. 

While certifications are an important step in making sure we’re doing the right things, we know that training our people is just as important. We use the Brightspace platform ourselves to train our employees on privacy and security best practices and to confirm their compliance with our internal security policies. And we run regular “tabletop” (fire drills) exercises to be certain that our employees are prepared to respond and protect user data in any situation. 

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    MobyMax - Best Solution for Students with Special Needs - MobyMax

    Students with special needs learn twice as fast with MobyMax. This suite of assistive technology innovations saves special education teachers valuable time with online assessments, grading and markup tools, easy and accurate diagnostics, IEP reporting, and real-time progress monitoring. �I love Moby because it makes my job easier,� says Karen Townsend, Special Education Instructional Specialist at Yerger Middle School. �Because of the built-in assessment, students are evaluated and given lessons specific to their ability, so I don�t have to create several different lesson plans. I can spend more time working with students one-on-one, building on their specific strengths, bolstering weaknesses.� MobyMax also makes it easy to create an individualized education plan for each student. Moby�s newly released Assessments further assists teachers in drilling down to discrete skills to get an instant snapshot of where students are and what they need. MobyMax offers the only complete and comprehensive K-8 curriculum for 27 subjects, including math, reading, phonics, language, vocabulary, spelling, writing, science, social studies, and state test prep. MobyMax is used in more than 82% of all K-8 schools in the United States with over 28 million students registered. Take a closer look at how MobyMax is helping special needs students by watching � MobyMax Special Education Success: and MobyMax � Motivating Gifted Students:

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    Unique Learning System™ - n2y

    Built on n2y’s vision that everyone can learn, Unique Learning System™ (ULS) was developed using a UDL framework and multiple research and evidence-based methodologies. With point-of-use standards alignment, teachers use the customizable Monthly Plan to ensure students are meeting state standards and generalizing skills and concepts. Students have multiple means of engaging and expressing their knowledge. Differentiated lesson plans and assessments provide multiple data points for teachers to meet and customize learning for student success. Ready-made, standards-aligned assessments ensure educators have what they need to be prepared and provide their students with the opportunity for achievement of standards and IEP goals. Differentiated lessons and activities with immediate corrective feedback empower students to learn at an appropriate level to build knowledge and skills. Addressing all the content areas—ELA, math, science, social studies, and transition—age-appropriate lessons are customizable to meet students’ needs and address IEP goals. Resources such as ready-made progress monitoring assessments, skills tracking, and powerful, predictive indicators to ensure meaningful progress is made towards IEP goals. Accessibility features ensure equitable access to meaningful learning: language and symbol supports, assistive technology, accommodations like closed captioning and text to speech, interactive manipulatives, conversion for screen readers, and braille. All of n2y’s products are certified for compliance with Section 508 2.0 and WCAG 2.0 Level AA accessibility guidelines. VPATs are available to our customers upon request. Instruction is data-driven, with student daily performance metrics and profiles to identify present levels of performance. Automated data and reporting enable teachers to target individual student needs and easily adjust instruction. ULS offers a hub that allows you to track student performance, progress, and access progress monitoring assessments to further personalize instruction. Optimized for multiple platforms and devices, the solution’s individualized interactive lessons can be accessed remotely and across school settings through a customizable Student View.

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  • Bridging the Learning Gap with Rethink Ed/Vizzle - Rethink Ed

    Bridge the learning gap to grade-level proficiency with Vizzle’s® standards-based K-12 web-based Math, ELA, Science, and Social Studies curriculum. The program provides interactive visual and instructional learning for students receiving special education supports with over 15,000 interactive lessons, games, and activities in all core subjects as well as life skills, vocational/transition, and speech. The program includes customizable content to support a student’s unique learning needs as well as lesson plans and course options. Automatic and secure collection and tracking of student data through lesson play assess student progress to provide personalized educational support. The Vizzle K-8 program includes interactive lessons and activities across all core subjects. Lessons are aligned to state learning standards and have an integrated authoring tool that allows educators to edit/create lessons to support any student learning objective. Lessons are designed to be presented digitally however can also be printed for use across specific learning environments. Vizzle provides multi-tiered support in line with district curriculum maps, providing access for all students to the general education curriculum. Structured, differentiated instructional materials, unit guides, lesson plans, and interactive engaging content can be personalized for each student’s specific needs while mapped to a district’s scope and sequence for success. VizZle also offers courses for students in grades 9-12 to assess, instruct, and generalize standards-aligned lessons. Each course includes a full suite of multi-tiered curricular tools to plan, organize, assess, instruct, and practice core academic knowledge and skills. Structured, standards-based units can easily map to district scope and sequence, providing all students access to the general education curriculum. Each course is organized into units and includes 36-weeks of sequential, leveled instruction and interactive lessons to support students varying learning needs. Courses include step-by-step unit guides and lesson plans, as well as pre/post-assessments. Subjects include English 1, 2 & 3, Algebra 1&2, Geometry, Civics, US History, World History, Biology, Earth Science and Chemistry. The Vizzle program supports districts with: • Effectively and efficiently implementing a special education curriculum that empowers students to bridge the learning gap to grade-level proficiency. • Consistency for students and staff with a program that supports student learning throughout their school career. • Ensuring instruction is aligned to State/District Learning Standards. • Empowering educators in providing individualized and personalized instruction to students based on needs. • Enabling timely and informed decision-making regarding instruction/intervention using student progress data. • Improving engagement and collaboration among educators, between teachers and students, and amongst schools and families.

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