ArdorComm Media Group

Dr. Prem Das Maheshwari, Business Director South Asia, D2L, Shares Insights on Learning Management Systems

“LMS focuses on the academic part of education delivery using digital technology to create a fantastic user experience for teachers and students,” says Dr. Prem Das Maheshwari, Business Director South Asia, D2L in an interview with Pratik Ghosh, Content Writer, ArdorComm Media Group at the ‘New Normal – Education Leadership Summit & Awards 2023’ #ELSAChennai #ELSATamilNadu

How are you feeling to witness The New Normal Education Leadership Summit and Awards in Chennai?

Fantastic, I think it’s a very nice gathering of dignitaries from higher education institutions from South India. South India happens to be the hub of education, especially higher education. So having these stalwarts and the leaders from the higher education industry at one place is a fantastic opportunity for us. I’m delighted to be here.

Can you tell us about the services you are providing?

I am the regional director for a company called D2L, formerly known as Desire2Learn, for South Asia. This company is into Learning Management Systems (LMS). We are the world’s number two learning management system company, providing the Brightspace Learning Management platform to a large number of higher education institutions, K-12 schools, and corporates worldwide. We have over 1500+ customers and 20 million users using this platform. We have a strong foothold in India as the only LMS that is 100% UGC compliant with all parameters. We have more than 54 clients in India and have been locally hosted on AWS Mumbai servers for the past three years. With the new normal and the changing UGC policies, it will be mandatory for most higher education institutions to run 40% of their education delivery completely online. We are there to serve them with our compliant Learning Management platform.

What is your take on bridging the urban-rural digital divide when it comes to technology transfer?

I think the urban-rural digital divide has already thinned to a great extent. Even in rural areas and small towns, everyone is using smartphones and has access to technology and the internet. Internet coverage is fantastic, and people are exploring various social media sites. This means that the divide is gradually thinning down, which is good for India. When it comes to online education or digital education, this thinning gap is going to be of great help. Accessibility to higher education through digital technology, such as smartphones, is fantastic and available to anyone anywhere in the country. Learning management platforms play a crucial role in making education accessible to everyone.

In events like this where the government, education fraternity, and corporates come together, how does this gathering help the education sector at large?

There is a great amount of uncertainty and lack of information and clarity about what an LMS is. People have heard about LMS, but if you ask many people, they think using Zoom or Teams is an LMS, which is not the case. Zoom and Teams were used during the pandemic, but they are not true Learning Management Systems. LMS focuses on the academic part of education delivery using digital technology to create a fantastic user experience for teachers and students. Our job, especially in forums like this, is to educate and clarify the difference between using simple technology versus using Learning Management platforms. There is also a misconception that ERP solutions are LMS, but ERP solutions are administrative tools, while LMS focuses on academic delivery, student-faculty interaction, competency-based digital education, and the use of artificial intelligence to monitor learner progress. LMS provides a vast array of reports to monitor education delivery. The gathering helps to address these misconceptions and provide education on the true nature and benefits of Learning Management Systems.

What message do you want to give to the ArdorComm Media Group?

I think you are doing a fantastic job. You should continue to organize such events regionally. National events are good, but they can be crowded. Focusing on a particular region allows you to address the concerns, issues, and contemporary topics among education leaders of that region. Each region has its specific issues and concerns, so organizing small regional events is much better before going national. Overall, keep up the fantastic work.

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