Blackboard unveils totally redesigned learning platform

Learning approach aims to bring a learner-centric focus to education

learning-blackboardBlackboard is launching a new platform, called the New Learning Experience, which aims to bring together all of its various products and services under one roof, with the goal of making it seem more focused on students and learners, not administrators.

The company describes the new platform as a simplification of its existing offerings. Services like mobile apps, virtual collaboration tools, course management, analytics, learning portfolios, a marketplace to buy/sell things like textbooks, and ways to work with parents and teachers will be included all in the same system.

The goal is to get beyond the traditional LMS, said Jay Bhatt, President and CEO of Blackboard in a video outlining the launch. It is also designed to move with students, from K-12 to higher ed and possibly even beyond as they look for and land jobs after they graduate.

Next page: What it actually looks like for a student

In the same video, Bhatt explained what a day in the life of a student using the platform might look like. A student might, check their class schedule in the morning, work with their parents to pay tuition, attend a virtual study group, discuss assignments with professors, buy books, and communicate with their parents about their progress. All of it, of course, will be housed in the new platform.


According to Bhatt, these were all things that Blackboard had previously provided, but they were not in the same platform. In linking it all up, the company hopes students will see it as a simpler way to use an LMS-like platform.

Where the New Learning Experience comes together is in Bb Student — a mobile app introduced earlier this year that will integrate both Blackboard Learn and Blackboard Collaborate, a web conferencing tool, as well as the new user experience.

“There is a major disconnect between what today’s learners want, and what the educational system is giving them – and it’s about time that we all take a close look at how to change that,” Bhatt said in a statement. “In order for learners of all types and ages to be truly successful, we need to be brutally honest about what’s working and what’s not. We need to reimagine how learning can happen, and we’ve taken a major step toward realizing that vision today.”

Today marks the company’s first market offering that is fully aligned with the New Learning Experience, in the form of tightly integrated releases of its core products: its flagship learning management system Blackboard Learn, Blackboard Collaborate and the new Bb Student App.

The new Blackboard Learn will deliver the New Learning Experience through multiple deployment options including several Software as a Service (SaaS) based options that give the user a choice of experience: a new, simple and delightful user interface and course view called the Ultra experience, or they can continue to use the original experience. In addition, the company will continue to provide enhancements and innovations on its earlier versions of Blackboard Learn.

To learn more about the New Learning Experience, click here.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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