D2L acquires Connected Shopping to let clients sell online courses

The acquisition signals D2L’s ongoing expansion into e-commerce.

Kitchener-Waterloo startup D2L, which operates the education-management platform Brightspace, has acquired Connected Shopping as part of its latest push into e-commerce.

Connected Shopping is the maker of Course Merchant, a catalogue for online courses that also offers a payments and enrollment system. This acquisition builds on D2L’s existing integration with Course Merchant, which it will be folding into its own product suite. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Today’s acquisition is a natural extension of our already successful relationship, and we anticipate that this will translate into new ways for our clients to reach learners,” said John Baker, who founded D2L in 1999 and serves as CEO.

The global e-learning market is estimated to reach $1 trillion USD by 2028.

D2L’s Brightspace platform acts as a digital space for instructors and students to interact and manage learning modules.

D2L went public on the Toronto Stock Exchange in 2021. Not immune to the economic downturn, its stock price declined by four percent in the last year, though this decrease is small compared to greater losses felt by other companies in the public market.

As of April, D2L claims to serve over 1,240 clients in the K-12, higher education, and corporate sectors, for a total of more than 14 million users, including some of Canada’s major universities and colleges.

D2L said that Connected Shopping will continue to serve its customer base under its current brand. Connected Shopping is also expected to maintain its existing operations in the United Kingdom, adding to D2L’s global organization. D2L will continue to offer Course Merchant as an optional add-on to its Brightspace platform.

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D2L’s acquisition of Course Merchant is an effort to expand its market share in the face of increasing competition. Accelerated by the transition to remote classes in the COVID-19 pandemic, the global e-learning market is estimated to reach $1 trillion USD by 2028.

The e-learning space is saturated with both incumbents and new platforms. The leading learning-management systems in the market include Canvas, Coursera, and Blackboard, all based in the United States, and the Australia-based free open-source alternative, Moodle.

D2L is also joined by other edtech platform providers in Canada. These include Montréal-based Paper, which offers 24/7, one-on-one professional tutoring to K-12 students, as well as LearnExperts, which uses artificial intelligence to automatically transform existing content into educational courses.

Featured image courtesy D2L.

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz is a staff writer for BetaKit.

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