Desire2Learn CEO: Edtech is going through a “huge transformation”

The Disruptors

Desire2Learn has been working to disrupt the education sector by bringing technology to classrooms since 1999. Through tech, the company hopes to increase graduation rates, identify laggards, and re-tool classrooms to adapt to each student’s individual needs.

Having founded and run Desire2Learn for over a decade, CEO John Baker describes the changes he has seen in the education sector as a “huge transformation.” Amber Kanwar sat down with him to talk about it on BNN’s The Disruptorsthis week.

Baker explained that the disruption going on in the education sector is equivalent to the creation of the printing press. “Today, you have to go to university and show up on campus,” Baker said. “In the future, you’ll be able to get as good of a quality of experience from wherever you are in the world. The ability for us to break down these barriers to access this high-quality educational experience, that’s really the most impactful with this disruption.”

Desire2Learn improves the traditional learning experience by going digital with textbooks, making quizzes available electronically by phone, and having group debates and discussions online. “If we can take the traditional experience in the classroom, which would normally be a lecture or presentation, and put that online, then we get together face-to-face and spend more time doing problem solving and design efforts,” Baker said.

Baker also addressed the million dollar question: when will Desire2Learn IPO? “We’re focused right now on building a great company,” Baker said. “If an IPO is down the road, that’s great, but right now we’re just worrying about hiring the right talent, building the right technology, investing in the right areas and making sure we’re growing our company to support learners all over the world.”

IPO or not, the potential for companies like Desire2Learn to improve the lives of students can’t be understated. “As you go digital, all of a sudden you have all this wonderful data,” Baker said. “We can learn from that data to figure out, is this the right content for this student, and if it’s not, what’s a better resource or learning activity that will get them back on track?”