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Homelessness Learning Hub Powered by LearnDash LMS and WordPress


The Homelessness Learning Hub (HLH) is a project started by the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and is funded by the Government of Canada. It serves as an important resource for professional growth and strengthening community efforts in Canada’s sector that helps the homeless. The HLH provides training and materials that are based on the best methods and research with solid evidence. To improve its online learning, the HLH needed significant changes and were looking for a solid LMS system to meet their needs. Working with VerticalWave Solutions, we have been partners for many years and on many projects. Our goal was to create an engaging online platform that follows the newest standards in UI/UX design.


The current HLH platform was created using Drupal 7, which is now old and doesn’t have the latest UI/UX design or the flexibility we wanted for a good learning experience. Our task was to update the Learning Management System (LMS). We didn’t just plan to start over, but to make it better and bigger. Our goals included adding new features, giving access to new tools, and organizing the content (like trainings, resources, and categories) to make it easier to find. We also wanted to keep the existing user database safe.


Our collaborative analysis with HLH identified the essential attributes for a state-of-the-art Learning Management System:

  • A lightweight infrastructure capable of supporting a vast user base without compromising performance.
  • An intuitive LMS that facilitates easy access to content and tools, ensuring a logical progression through training materials.
  • Effective content and user management capabilities.
  • The flexibility to incorporate future enhancements without the need for extensive coding.
  • Bilingual support, alongside custom content types, taxonomies, and functionalities.
  • Advanced search and filtering options.
  • Economically viable development and maintenance costs.


As experts in WordPress development, we saw its potential to better serve the HLH’s needs, offering improvements over Drupal in security, flexibility, and cost savings. We looked at various LMS options that work with WordPress and chose LearnDash for its wide range of course management tools. We also used the BuddyBoss theme and platform for its features in user sign-ups, profile handling, and tracking progress.

Our team carefully set up the WordPress system, BuddyBoss theme, and LearnDash LMS, adding special content types like collections, courses, and resources. We moved all the data from Drupal to the new WordPress LMS. This included courses, lessons, resources, collections, over 1500 users, and related media. After moving the data, we added custom UX/UI improvements and other specific features the client wanted.


Launched in 2021, the Homelessness Learning Hub, powered by WordPress and enhanced with the BuddyBoss Pro theme/platform and LearnDash LMS, has evolved into a premier online training platform. It now boasts a rich array of content and advanced features, catering to the diverse needs of its users. Following several updates focused on improving visuals, UI/UX, and core functionalities, the platform has seen its user base grow from 1500 to over 8000.

VerticalWave Solutions remains committed to providing continuous support and updates, ensuring the HLH LMS remains at the forefront of online education in the homeless-serving sector.This case study exemplifies the transformative power of WordPress and LearnDash in creating an engaging, efficient, and accessible online learning environment.


E-Mentoring Halton Online Collaboration Platform Launched

The VerticalWave Solutions team is proud to announce the launch of E-Mentoring Halton, a new generation type of collaboration platform, dedicated to provide online mentoring partnerships for residents of Halton Region. It is a complex program, designed to bridge the gap between established professionals and professionals immigrating to the Region of Halton in occupational-specific mentoring relationships. Moreover, the platform is engineered to facilitate communication between program participants, across the world at any time zone.

This is a scalable system, tailored to put the most efficient collaboration, communication and sharing tools at the fingertips of e-Mentors and e-Mentees. The challenge was to merge all functionality features with an intuitive and easy to use design for the end-user and for system administrators.

Using the powerful Drupal CMS, our team successfully implemented a wide variety of functional features and a modern responsive design, combining state of the art mobile and desktop UI and UX into an interactive and secure specialty platform.

E-Mentoring Halton boasts an innovative resource sharing system, which provides users with access to documents, videos, links and notes. Users have the possibility to communicate via comments or the integrated instant messaging system. At the same time they can schedule meetings and calls to enhance their collaboration and reach the end goal easier, while a built-in notification system alerts users and administrators of various activities via email.

System administrators can easily designate groups and associate users with them and create specific modules, tasks and evaluations for each group and user. Moreover, the content and user management system is designed to provide easy admin access to all resources and user accounts. Administrators control the back-end and entire collaboration system in a very straight-forward way to ensure the lowest interaction latency time possible.

As said, the E-Mentoring Halton platform is based on custom functionalities and employs many features, but using the latest Drupal 7 installment, combined with custom built modules, a clean and well-structured programming code and a solid database system, our team has delivered a modern, customizable and reliable solution for the client.


Implementing AODA Compliance for Web & Mobile Applications

Part of the Ontarian set of laws intended to improve accessibility for people with disabilities, the AODA – Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act adopted back in 2005 is intended to implement and enforce accessibility standards for Ontarians with disabilities with respect to everyday life aspects like goods, services, employment, accommodation, healthcare, facilities, transport and more kh0csxv.

The act eliminates what is called a barrier in terms of technology, information, communication and more for people with mental or physical disabilities. The Act is a major step forward in the history of fighting against discrimination of persons with disabilities in Ontario, therefore supported by individuals, as well as by government entities and companies alike.

The AODA sets of rules and standards concern the internet perhaps more than anything else. Ontario based websites need to comply with these regulations or are susceptible to penalties that can even escalate to lawsuits. The Act clearly specifies that government entities, public sector organizations, enterprises and related businesses must align their websites and web applications with the World Wide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, intended to make website browsing and content access easily available to people with different levels of disabilities, from cognitive limitations to physical impairment.

AODA complaint websites will become the standard in the upcoming years, as the Act’s rules and regulations must be fully adopted and implemented by 2025, as stipulated by the law. However, implementing the necessary accessibility features requires both analysis and development to ensure correct design and functionality and a win-win outcome for visitors and users as well as for website and web apps operators and owners.


The most common implementation of the AODA compliance for web projects is based on the technical standard WCAG 2.0 levels:

  • Level A (lowest), which implies a logical app/site structure, audio control, keyboard access, text alternative for non-text content, responsible use of colors, video and audio captions and more
  • Level AA (intermediate), which implies live captions, audio alternative to text, text resizing options, sensitive data secured management, pre-set contrast ratio, use of clear and accessible icons, links and buttons, and more
  • Level AAA (advanced), which implies translations, media alternatives, intuitive visual layout, keyboard accessibility, location and geo-location services, optimal readability level, help and instruction regarding site browsing and functionality and more


At VerticalWave Solutions we support the AODA and work close with our clients to implement intuitive and correct accessibility features across all the websites, apps and platforms we develop. This is a complex process, starting with website/app/project audit and continuing with responsible research and development to reach the end goal. Our Drupal projects integrate modern UI and UX with intuitive accessibility features. A close focus on design and functionality on both mobile and desktop platforms ensures a successful project delivery and seamless integration with the AODA rules and regulations.

Text resizing, text to speech, full featured content, accurate search, responsive and adaptive design, mobile friendly interface, quick access buttons, media integration, intuitive menus are just a few of the required accessibility features we successfully implemented for important clients like The C.D. Howe Institute, GREO – Gambling Research Exchange Ontario, YouthREX, <a href="https://verticalhq find more”>The Homeless Hub and more.  All of our clients’ websites and apps are fully comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act as required for an optimal web experience.


C.D. Howe Institute website has been launched

The Vertical Wave Solutions team is proud to announce the launch of C.D. Howe Institute’s new website. With the mission to raise living standards by fostering economically sound public policies, the C.D. Howe Institute is a prestigious, independent not-for-profit research organization, considered by many to be Canada’s most influential think tank.

According to the Institute’s requirements, our VerticalWave Solutions team migrated the original website content from an old platform to Drupal CMS, created a fresh and modern look for the new website, as well as improved the administration and content management procedures for the client. The challenge was to create a new, visually appealing website, rich in features and easy to manage, while staying true to CD Howe Institute’s brand and substance. Our team successfully delivered a website that met all these principles.

The new website features a modern, responsive design, which renders perfectly on desktops, laptops and mobile devices, boasting a user friendly front end interface which makes browsing simple and intuitive, and provides fast access to content. The C.D Howe Institute website now integrates complex features like subscription system, advanced search, structured library, event management platform, third party service integration, dynamic featured content and more.

Backed up by a user-oriented and easy to use back-end administration system, as well as by an organized structure, the site can be easily managed without advanced technical skills. We are proud to have put technology in the right form, right at our client’s finger tips.

VerticalWave Solutions also provides ongoing support and maintenance for C.D. Howe.


VerticalWave welcomes Drupal7

The whole team welcomes and is excited about the newly released Drupal 7.
Drupal 7 comes with a variety of framework improvements and opens new possiblities in terms of development and what can be achieved with the Drupal platform.

Drupal 7 is a truly revolutionary release that saw both the size and diversity of our contributor community grow exponentially. Through the formation of and strong coordination among the Usability, Accessibility, and Design teams, Drupal 7 addresses a number of our project’s longest-standing limitations and opens up access for more people to enjoy the strong web publishing framework we have all come to love.

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