One technique I'm seeing (esp in Koohang) is that a small investment helps involve students. I was looking at the D2L front page, where it's mostly blank except for a tiny tab at the top-- My classes. It really does look like bad design-- what that huge expanse of blank? Why not just open to a list of the classes as Tycho does?
Then I thought maybe this is part of that technique of leading us to activity. So that could be why we can't see our class unless we first click on the tab-- that's the little bit of effort that causes us to make a small investment so that we feel more active. It can't be an enormous task, but something that does involve "doing"-- it's not passive. And anything passive (like watching a video) should end with some requirement of activity (like respond to a prompt, or list what you just saw) so that there's an active component. I'm seeing that this is incredibly important-- it makes all the difference, really, small as the investment action might be. The design should require action, and only then will the students "stick" with the learning. That's made a big difference for me in my ideas of how to design. Of course we expect this big activity (taking tests, writing a paper), but we can't have the classroom be all reading and watching video and then suddenly huge assignments. At every step the students should be invited to do something. More fun that way too!
But the D2L opening page could still have something instead of all that blank. Maybe put the tab in the MIDDLE of the page for more visual interest.