Promoting Equity in Online Learning through Understanding and Supporting Cognitive Needs

Learning Management Systems (LMSs) enable schools to offer education online. This is helpful during the current COVID times. It is important that every learner is able to participate in the online learning experience. For this, the needs of learners with disabilities must be supported. Many of these are cognitive needs; they involve thinking, feeling, focusing, and understanding. Such needs are not understood as much as the needs around seeing, hearing, and operating a computer.
To address this gap, the University of Toronto and D2L Corporation (makers of Brightspace LMS) are jointly undertaking this research project. The goal of the project is to make online learning more inclusive through gaining a better understanding of the cognitive needs of online learners and the possible mechanisms for supporting those needs.

Faculty Supervisor:

Colin Furness


Melissa Kumaresan


D2L Corporation




Professional, scientific and technical services


University of Toronto



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