What are Locked Learning Groups?
So you’re interested in learning about Locked Learning Groups? You’re in the right place! But first, let’s talk about regular Learning Groups – Who are they for? What do they do? Why should you care?
First off, note who has access to this tool. The Learning Groups tool is available to Corporate users of Brightspace, or educational institutions that are using Brightspace for their adult professional learning via the Upskilling for Edu offering. It is not currently available for use with regular K12 or Higher Ed student users. Ok, now let’s jump in!
Learning Groups Basics
To understand what this tool does, let’s look at an example. Imagine you’re a L&D administrator who is in charge of your company’s training for new hires, sales, and leadership. You’ve made the courses in Brightspace, and now you need to get those courses to the correct employees and monitor their completion. Instead of manually enrolling each new hire into the correct courses as they come on board, you can set up Learning Groups once to manage enrollment automatically!
With Learning Groups, you can create groups of leaners based on their User Attributes – pieces of information about each learner including their job role, hire date, location, department, manager, etc. For instance, you can create one group to include all learners with a hire date after January 1, 2022. You can assign the group your New Hire Orientation course, and moving forward, anyone who comes into the company with a future hire date will automatically be added to the group and enrolled in this course.
Figure: Diagram of organizing learning groups.
Similarly, you can create a group for users whose Department is Sales and another group for those whose Job Title is an executive role. You can assign each group its respective course(s), and then all users, new or existing, with those user attributes will be automatically enrolled in the correct courses. You can also set course due dates and check on learner progress directly in the Learning Groups tool.
Locked Learning Groups
Now let’s talk about Locked Learning Groups. This is a special setup primarily for companies with an Extended Enterprise model. In this type of organization, the company contains sub-companies, often customers of the parent company, all in one environment in Brightspace. In the example diagram below, parent XYZ Company has an environment which contains sub-companies 123 Company, ABC Company, and DEF456 Company. This feature may also benefit organizations with departments or other sub-units that operate independently of each other.
Figure: Diagram showing how to distribute training across a company.
In this example, each of the sub-companies wants to use Learning Groups, but it’s important that they not see or interact with the other sub-companies’ users or courses. For instance, when the Learning Groups administrator from 123 Company makes a Learning Group for her Sales Training course, she may create a rule to auto-enroll anyone whose Department is Sales, but she does not want this to include salespeople from ABC Company or DEF456 Company. In fact, she might not even know these other companies exist! Locked Learning Groups lets her operate in her own “locked” version of Learning Groups, so only learners and courses from her sub-company are available to assign.
Note, if all learning was being administered by the parent XYZ Company, they could manually create groups for each sub-company without requiring the Locked Learning Groups setup. They would simply have to specify which company each group was for when creating the automatic membership rules. Locked Learning Groups only becomes necessary when the parent company does not want to centrally manage the Learning Groups for all of their sub-companies. In this case, decentralized administration of the groups becomes necessary – i.e., there needs to be an administrator of each sub-company who should not be able to see or interact with the learners or content from the other companies.
How does Locked Learning Groups change the user experience?
When Locked Learning Groups is set up, Learning Group administrators (aka LG admin) are only able to add users to the group if those users match their Company attribute. Alternatively, a different attribute like Department can be used as the “matching” attribute. The LG admin will see a lock icon and reminder of this restriction when adding members to their group.
Figure: Locked LG with lock icon and reminder in Membership Summary.
Additionally, they may be limited to assigning learning only from a specific org unit. This can be set up with the Affiliated Org Unit user attribute. If org units are listed for that user in their Affiliated Org Units attribute value, the list of courses they are available to assign will automatically be filtered to include only courses from within those specified org units.
Figure: LLG Restricted to Assign Learning from Admin’s Affiliated Org Unit.
Lastly, if a user has the permission “Learning Groups > Allows user to manage all learning groups and assign without restrictions”, then the restrictions will not fully apply to them. They can assign courses from any org unit, regardless of their Affiliated Org Unit attribute, and they can create a Learning Group for users from any Company, regardless of which Company they belong to.
Figure: Creating a new LG with Special Permission.
Apart from those changes, the rest of the Learning Groups experience remains the same when using the Locked Learning Groups setup.
Are there other types of Learning Groups restrictions?
As an alternative to the Locked Learning Groups setup described above, there are a couple additional restrictions you can implement:
- You can create a global restriction on the type of users that can be added to Learning Groups so that only a certain type of user can be added to any group. For instance, only users with the Employee Role attribute of Instructor will appear when an LG admin adds members to a group.
- You can create a global restriction on the learning that can be assigned to any learning group. For instance, only courses from the “Professional Learning” org unit will appear when a LG admin goes to assign courses.
How do I get my Learning Groups set up like this?
You have the option of setting up any of the above restrictions on Learning Groups during implementation of the tool. If you have already started using Learning Groups, you will have to re-engage with the D2L Implementation team in order to get this setup configured. You can reach out to your Account Team to request re-engagement.
Do you think this setup is right for you? If so, reach out to your D2L representative to learn more!