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Assess efficiently: The first steps for an efficient evaluation strategy

Whether we are talking about training or higher education, evaluation is the key. This allows us to determine the acquisition of skills by a learner, to determine the proper course of a pedagogy. It is the determining factor of an accomplished and effective training.

If in professional training there is a real emphasis on the evaluation and its analysis, in higher education, for a number of factors, assessing and grading lead to a disconnection with learning. The learner seeks only one thing, the best possible score without thinking of improving his skills on a subject he's interested in. This leads to assessing for the sake of the employer's recruitment strategy and not the learner's growth.

But again, with very low engagement rates in professional training both internally and in training centers, there seems to be a problem from pedagogy to evaluation. It is therefore necessary to review the basics of a good evaluation strategy, which is the accelerator and the learning tag. However, designing a good evaluation strategy is a big puzzle. We must ask the right questions, accept certain biases, discern the usefulness of the "trendy" in the types of evaluations and know what we do.



Docimology: laying the foundations for an evaluation

To evaluate properly, it is important to know about docimology, the science of testing, developed in the 1920s. The goal of docimology is to understand the importance of a number of factors having an impact on the assessment's efficiency. There are environmental factors such as the fatigue state of a learner or the pressure exerted on it. There are also psychological factors such as the contrast effect: a learner not succeeding a series of questions as a previous student did can cause the grader to rate more strictly the first student's copy.

It is important to consider these factors before asking the following questions:

  • What skill to evaluate?
  • Why?
  • For who?
  • How (what rating format)?



The question of skills to be evaluated

In higher education, many skills to be validated are formulated by international accreditations and national standards. Yes, their expertise on this subject is clear, however, it remains important for trainers/teachers to appropriate the question of skills, as they are the learners' coaches.

Studying the skills to be assessed is essential in order to establish an evaluation strategy, to know if the training is effective, to mark the progress of the learner and to adapt the follow-up of the learning in relation to that.

Then comes the question: "How to evaluate a specific skill using a specific format of test?"

In this respect, two methods must be distinguished: free inquiry and subscripted questioning. The first is to ask an open question that will allow the learner to operate his memory and structure his response as freely as possible, according to his own reasoning. The second is to propose clues, possible paths for the learner to participate in the initiation of memory and reasoning.

Obviously, it seems more interesting, and also longer, to opt for the first method if we want more precisely:

  • know what the learner knows
  • to know what he believes to know
  • In any case, making sure questions are clarified as much as possible is essential if the learner is to deliver his or her knowledge. A pressure, a competition, a trap, and the results will be distorted or unnecessarily undermined. Oddly enough, it is rather that it happens in formation and in Higher Education.



Which evaluation format should I choose?

And that's when it becomes a hell of a mess. MCQ, dissertation, QCU, presentation, simulation ... in short we do not know what to choose for what skills and in what training. So let's put some order in all this. First, we need to discern five different types of evaluations.

  • The summative or certificative assessment allows to observe the acquisition of skills. We go straight to the point we ask questions that we expect specific answers
  • The formative is a diagnostic of the knowledge of a learner. It is an evaluation for educational purposes that allows a learner to better understand his progress and a trainer to better help him
  • In the same sense as the formative, there is the continuous evaluation, throughout the year, which has the same objective as the previous one
  • Authentic assessment allows you to observe the acquisition of a learner's skills in the most real-life setting possible.
  • Competency assessment or positioning test. these are also diagnostics tests to establish a report on the progress made between a point A and a point B. It is also a way for the trainer to receive feedback from the quality of his training.


Now that we have all this, what to choose? Today, alternative evaluations (simulation, role play, MCQs, presentations, etc.) are on the rise and with good reasons. Their effectiveness has been proven. This does not mean that more traditional formats should be left behind. It is necessary to be able to adapt an evaluation format to skills that we want to observe whether the learner acquires or not.

Moreover, if one wants to remain a pedagogical maximum and at the service of the learner, it is necessary to exercise it, indeed, the long-term memory is stimulated and facilitated by the exercise, but especially in a plurality of formats. Varying formats is to allow a learner to address a problem or knowledge in all its facets.

You are ready to establish your evaluation strategy!

To give you more leads, check out Didask's blog!

Read more

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You Should Use Growth Hacking for Learning. Here's Why.
Summary
  • Data & innovation are very much targeted by Education today
  • Growth Hacking could and should actually be used by educators to improve their programs and courses
  • Growth Hacking applied in Education becomes Hacking Learning: the application of learning processes aiming at accelerating knowledge integration for students. And aiming at optimizing courses towards more soft skills application in projects/initiatives. All of this backed by data analysis and constant feedback


It's been years since Growth Hacking became one of the most searched terms in the field of Marketing, start-ups and entrepreneurial activities. Big companies like start-ups are now screaming out loud to find a "Growth Hacker" without really knowing what it is, which is particularly fun to watch.

Wait, back to basics:
  • Let's define "Growth Hacking" as the use of data and simple processes in order to make your company grow as hell thanks to short, fast actions and with little money invested. Growth by all means is... well the goal of Growth Hacking.
  • Then you have Growth hacking process, which is kind of based on design thinking. Its goal is to optimize and organize your team so that there's constant ideation, constant testing, rapid product development, and data collection in order to ensure a product-market fit and.... well, obviously, the success of your company.

More and more academies and agencies come out on the stage teaching, particularly interesting Growth tips, the most interesting being, I think, the Dutch academy
Growth Tribe. And now things begin to be interesting. Universities like The University of Amsterdam teach students Growth Hacking, and it's not the only one. That's a good thing.

But what if Education, from primary schools to universities, was powered by Growth Hacking?

In a way, it's more and more the case and several elements, currently being used and developed, prove that Growth Hacking can actually work well with learning processes.



A Focus on Data to Improve Learning

The focus on data for Education came in 2011 approximately, under the name Learning Analytics. You probably know this term, it is ?the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and optimizing learning and the environments in which it occurs?. The original goal? Giving the tools to professors that'll let them ensure that their students learn, that their course content is adapted to students and to make sure the professors can improve it thanks to data. It works as hell for online courses. For in-class environments, it takes maybe a little bit of creativity to collect and analyze data...

Continuous Improvement of Learning as a Factor of Success

If you take a look at some accreditations for business schools, universities, corporate universities etc. like AACSB, EQUIS, EOCCS, you'll understand one thing: the only schools/universities that get to be certified are the ones that demonstrate a focus on the continuous improvement of learning. They need to show that they constantly ask themselves how students are learning and not how professors are teaching. An angle that triggers data-backed decisions to improve course content, syllabus, exams etc.
These two elements show well that...

...Yes, Growth Hacking could be applied to Education. The question now is: Should it be?

I mean, a university, a school isn't a company. Its goal isn't to grow as much as possible.
Oh really? Well, it depends on which kind of growth you're talking about

Let's not think about revenue and let's change growth KPIs to learning growth and innovation growth. More than money (because, yes, we all know that, money rules schools too), the goal of a school is to form future professionals that'll disrupt or succeed on the market, right? The more you help shape great professionals, the best it is for your school right? It ain't that different from the goal of growth hackers, a school should aim at hacking learning. Hacking Learning?
Let's call it a set of learning processes aiming at accelerating knowledge integration for students. And aiming at optimizing courses towards more soft skills application in projects/initiatives. All of this backed by data analysis and constant feedback.

After all, if students can learn and retain more in a shorter amount of time, they could get more out of their time at school as well as have time to experience extracurricular activities where they will learn essential skills which aren't taught in the classroom.



Ok so why should educators use "Hacking Learning"?


Hacking knowledge, Learning Soft Skills

Knowledge is everywhere and most of the time (especially when you're a student) for free. Rather than sticking with programs that are easily doable in less than a month instead of a semester, why not get things exciting a little and telling your students they're going to learn as hell thanks to easy tips?
Growth hacking is also the art of doing more with less. The best example of using it in learning is by looking at Tim Ferriss.

Famous growth hacker, entrepreneur, author and investor, this man learned in no time how to become a chef, a martial art champion, bestselling author etc. For this, he has methods based on efficient, realistic processes that could totally be adapted to Education whether it is about learning how to learn in a particular domain, learning to process projects or else. Learning efficiently is hacking knowledge. Why efficiently? To save time for more important things, learn and apply soft skills in concrete projects, initiatives, innovations, contests. All these skills that will shape students as innovators and successful professionals and human beings.


It's all about creativity

The core of every Growth Hacking structure/ process is always the same: Creativity and Ideation. Based on your observations and previous data analysis, you must come up with ideas to improve what do you. Classrooms or online classrooms are the perfect places to test and observe things while following a syllabus.
Professors can change their course content or class formats as much as they want: from doing a simulation, role-playing games, to classic conferences, the same course can be adapted to many different contexts and formats.



It gives autonomy to professors and lets them focus on pedagogy

UUsing these processes and techniques give professors a complete autonomy on how they'll teach and their syllabi.
Obviously n°1, as their experiments with students are always backed by data, as long as students learn well and show progress and engagement, a professor cannot be criticized or strained to change its program.
Obviously n°2, by putting an emphasis on creativity and in-class/online experimentations, professors focus on pedagogy and innovative ideas. We have tools today to automate whatever isn't pedagogy, from exam creation/grading (TestWe) to campus management etc.

Let's not waste time and focus on what's more important: your students learning and experimenting!



Make the faculty work as a team

Just like it works for companies, Growth Hacking works for faculty and professors. Collaboration is key to improve not just a course but the entire school's learning processes. A whole process that can be adapted to any kind organization. Pretty much based on Design thinking, this process ensures continuous ideation, testing, progress and it is teambuilding!
Moreover, Growth Hacking/ Hacking Learning, according to this process ensures a culture of innovation and experimentation that keeps an institution always at the top of Education's innovation.
Finally, as ideas get ranked according to their feasibility or money needed, you get the better out of nothing --> doing more with less just like less is more.

Offering a competitive advantage to students

Teaching in a Hacking Learning way means also integrating students in the process of improving the course, finding ideas and new ways to learn and practice by asking them feedback and by understanding how they work... By doing this, students inevitably learn the creative processes they'll have to use during their professional activities. Simply put, it gives them a competitive advantage.
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New Partnership Brings Long-Awaited e-Assessment Solution to Integrate for Canvas Users

As of October 2019, TestWe is officially partnering with Instructure, the leading software-as-a-service (SaaS) technology company that make softwares that make people smarter. Why? To integrate with their LMS Canvas.

The e-Exam solution will now integrate directly with the LMS for a swiffer assessment process and a complete deployment in higher education institutions.

"By integrating our LMS platform with TestWe, higher education institutions will now get access to a secure e-assessment process and in-depth reporting for the learners and professors" Kurt W Showalter - Director, International Partnerships @Instructure

With the interconnection created, professors will now be able to create, manage and grade exams through TestWe. For students, it is easy and faster access to their results and a good way to observe their evolution (analysis on grades, competencies and soft skills).

“Our clients had asked for the Canvas API for a long time. They will now connect to both solutions with unique credentials. All reporting regarding students results will be directly reported onto the LMS” Clément Régnier - CEO and co-founder @TestWe

About TestWe

For organizations developing excellence in learning and assessments, TestWe delivers peace of mind because it’s reassuringly secure!

We propose a software for students that is secure, offline and comfortable for students so that they can focus on their argumentation without the pressure of time. Most importantly, students can take their exams on their own device.

TestWe is a complete e-Exam solution: a platform for the administration and offline software for learners. With in-depth reporting and analytics on the students competencies (LO, LG, soft skills…), TestWe plays its cards right!

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5 (big) problems Students live everyday

More and more solutions appear every day in the world of Education, in Higher Education. Nevertheless, the main actors in this universe, the students, are still victims of a number of problems. Some are social, others have to do with pedagogy, others are budgetary.

Here are 5 recurring issues in student life.

Stress

This is not new, the stress among students of Higher Education is felt by all and significantly. For example, 58% of French students who claim to experience regular stress peaks and sleep disorders, 80% in the United Kingdom.

The problem is that these numbers do not change, or go from bad to worse. The source of this disorder is structural, inherent in the system of Higher Education. In fact, according to a study, 94% of students in a stressful situation say that exams are the cause followed by studies and then their professional orientation.

So there is a problem here. Huge social pressure put on the shoulders of students in relation to career, employment, success in a great competition against others. The note is in the centre, learning well seen, but optional? This is changing and what is certain is that universities and schools will have to make profound changes.

According to a study conducted in March 2018 and relayed by Le Monde by the National Institute of Sleep and Vigilance, it is almost 88% of 15-24-year-olds who report lack of sleep. 38% sleep less than seven hours a night while they need at least eight. This is problematic and it has a lot of repercussions on health.

A problem that is also a repercussion of stress due to exams and grades and to social and academic pressure, but not that. The use of digital technology before sleep causes many students to experiment with nights that are too short, promote a regular sleep disorder and an absence in class.

Add to that the abuse of alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and we are in a vicious circle. What to do to remedy this? Sport, less digital replaced by meditation, before sleep or in the day. Also, it would be very interesting for schools and universities to promote the practice of meditation during study days and especially during exam periods.

The benefits of meditation are multiple: well-being, balance, better health, increased concentration of concentration, control of emotions, self-understanding ... Meditation is an art open to all!

Budget

Classic. We all knew "student shitty moments". Often short of money, a lot of pressure, what to do?

The question of the budget, also called financial stress, is "a feeling of not having control over one's financial situation, accompanied by discouragement, helplessness and distress," as defined by the Université de Moncton. The problem is that this simple feeling is one of the causes of intense stress, bad sleep, loss of appetite and indirectly abandonment.

The feeling is known yet the situation is more and more alarming. According to the SMEREP (Mutualist Society of Students of the Paris Region), students live less well than five years ago and hygiene takes a hit especially because of ... stress.

Real support for independent student support organizations must be provided to promote prevention and support for students in need; social and economic support.

Social link

We leave the structural problems for a problem, less, but equally impacting. Making friends is simple for some, rather complicated for others. Loneliness does have an impact on depression and academic success.

On the other hand, some social connections can be toxic. We are thinking here of the impact of fraternities and of certain abuses, notably hazing, of which some of their members and new members are victims.

This does not mean that student events are harmful, on the contrary, they are the lungs of student life. It is simply necessary to create an atmosphere of discovery and well-being among students.

The future

Which orientation? What professional future? Where to go? Can we change direction during his studies? Just as many questions that strongly tease our students. Well Named.

The immense pressure on the professional choice is insane, so much so that it ends up affecting the genres, the sex of the students. We lose outright any connection to learning.

Here’s the proof: in marketing, you will see more women, in engineering and finance, more men. Another point, the notes. Grades have become such a problem that learners prefer to head to a course where grades will be easier to get rather than a course that really interests them.

All this to promote maximum first job just after their studies. It is therefore extremely important to review these models and offer better orientations at university and from high school! Similarly, it is now urgent to stop the links between studies and genres.

And you? What do you think? Are there any other problems? What are the solutions to solve them? We start the debate!

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What's the responsibility of Education facing the climate crisis?

First look

The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) reports are clear: the collapse of our industrial societies is here and it's too late for sustainable development (Dennis Meadows has been saying this for decades, anyway), but we can still reduce the intensity of the shock.

Macroeconomic data no longer hide the existence of a critical situation for the world economy (oil spikes, recession, a surge of the price of gold, massive layoffs, less and less arable lands, etc.).

Biocapacity and biodiversity are at a loss and it is more than conceivable to consider our time as a 6th massive extinction of species, only this time we have accelerated it.

To top it off, one of the most destructive hurricanes in the history of the United States, Mister Dorian, strolls around the Caribbean.

In addition to this, the Brazilian clown Bolsonaro plays the role of Nero in the Amazon.

Then, the American Caligula, I named Donald "the smartest guy in the room" (lol) Trump, laughs and denies the crisis.

AH! There’s more! "King" Jinping aka Neo-Mao, decided a few years ago to go sport mode and realize during his lifetime the great project of the "New Silk Roads", an ultimate uppercut for the simple existence of our civilizations.

We could continue the list infinitely, but we will stop there and move on.

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The reactions to these global aberrations, fortunately, came quickly in many countries.

In France, it’s been now four years since Collapsology and the studies of the collapse of civilizations have gradually risen up the stage, that their reports hit politicians’ desks.

On August 29, 2019, Jean-Marc Jancovici gave a worrisome and intensely interesting conference at Sciences Po Paris.

Regularly, author and engineer Philippe Bihouix reminds the importance of our companies to promote what they call the low tech studies.

We can believe what we want, we can believe an infinite growth in a finite environment exists, the story has changed for young people and future generations. Now we know and at different scales, we act.

So how do you limit the fall?

Some are betting on Silicon Valley and our good old GAFA buddies who propose us to mine the asteroids, reach eternal life and send us to Mars.

Others prefer to calm down, to do it more "hipster" and to bet on Elon Musk's Mars project. Too ambitious? Well, then, his Tesla, his solar panels ...?

Question: how are the numerous rare metals mined to build a solar panel? In fine, with ... oil or gas.

There are many methods that can let us live better during the likely drastic changes ahead. Structural and substantive transformations at every level and Education plays a leading role.



Observation on the world of Education in this pivotal period

Clearly, today, too few programs allow learners to understand the magnitude of the situation.

In higher education, you have to get into the niches of engineering, social science and environmental studies programs to understand the problem and try to answer it.

The answers are not lacking, we see more and more young people, researchers, entrepreneurs effectively address the problem, but these are individual businesses, almost isolated.

Exit the rest, indeed, we must create employment ...

The climate issues are on the program of History Geography of the college, it is true, but it does not generally allow young people (relative to the educational ambition of a teacher) to understand why we arrived there.

In the business world, we talk about promises, commitments, beautiful puns and CSR teams in large groups, which, it must be said, either lie to themselves or produce superhuman efforts for changes often. minimal, either lie open to the face of the world.

Yet there is some positive stuff happening!

In July 2019, the CGE, CPU, CDEFI and their members decided to join forces and called for political support to focus on the climate emergency with their students in every program in order to realize the 17 Sustainable Development Goals proposed by the UN to "save the world".

In the same vein, the think tank The Shift Project, chaired by Jean-Marc Jancovici, calls massively to train all students and professors of higher education in climatic and ecological issues.

It seems that the questioning and planning of the action is already launched in the world of French Education. This is a good thing.



What are some concrete actions?

Rethinking the campus

One of the first actions would be, in the case of some energy-consuming establishments, to review the entire organization of the campus and give more initiatives to students to build a campus circular, social, "green" and impacting areas nearby.

Example: leave the students to organize permacultures, hive areas, renewable energy installations but also new room models.

A leader? The installation project of the EMLV illustrates this movement!

Identify the ecological axes of transformation and integrate them into the programs.

Obviously, without changing the curricula, we replicate generations of labour market entrants immersed in a culture of environmental damage reproduction. To change these programs is to launch innovators and people trained in a relatively long period of crisis.

Examples: Introduce low tech civil engineering, urban planning, teach and promote agronomy without oil, architecture programs favouring local renewable resources, for "circular" constructions, business schools less focused on a culture of finance, or international logistics. a political science more focused on an idea of ​​democratic functioning in a decreasing society.

A leader? Wageningen University (The Netherlands) or the University of Nottingham (UK).

Make massive calls to student projects.

Once the programs have been modified (or even before), it is necessary to make all the learners cogitate on specific themes. Bringing brains together in a multidisciplinary set means applying the principles of collective intelligence and therefore of innovation by the greatest number. It is also a way of decentralizing the initiative and creating a fast culture of experimentation as well as an ecological and circular culture!

Example: Let's go back to campus transformation. We can think of political actions. If not, rethink the use of renewable energies or CO2 capture, urban planning projects, short-circuit social operation, etc.

Lobby the politicians.

Local or national political support can restore knowledge to a real impact on our societies. Without political action, without a massive hack of our political "pluralism", efforts will be in vain, and budgets will remain centralized around initiatives that are not necessarily effective. We think of Germany and its nuclear shutdown to invest in solar panels that led to the reopening of coal plants.

Be a driving force in the local transformation of the surrounding areas of universities and schools.

A campus is primarily an area directly linked to an urban environment. A well-thought-out campus is, therefore, a striking example for the surrounding communities, especially since these are also populated by students from universities and schools within them. This amounts to facilitating local political and social action.

Diversify pedagogies, favour horizontal pedagogies.

As we have written, diversifying pedagogies means maximizing the learners' learning process and thus accelerating it. However, accelerating the understanding of a subject, a thematic, problematic, speeding up learning is the number one goal that will allow us to change the way we do things and put in motion a maximum of initiatives.

Example: Horizontal pedagogies such as peer learning are real drivers of learning, motors of collective intelligence. That’s an extremely effective pedagogy in cases of making and carrying out projects.

The leader? We Are Peers is the startup that reintroduces peer learning in higher education and business. it can be considered that this startup is perfectly suited to Education in a crisis or profound transformation.

Change the way we evaluate learners.

As with pedagogy, tests must be adaptable. We need to change the way we think about evaluation. Putting weight on the verification of knowledge, a possibility of important feedback for the learner, and not a factor of elitism, a factor of future success in the labour market, etc.

Example: We talked about it, changing the context of presenting a test, presenting it in a benevolent way, so changing the methodology, can help to link learning and evaluation.

A leader? At TestWe, we are deeply committed to gradually changing the way we look at evaluation processes. We are adapting our solution to focus assessments on skills reports rather than ratings. Didask is another startup giving a lot of methods to

_______

This is just a small list of concrete actions that Higher Education can put in place in a fairly short time horizon. For the rest, let’s start the discussion, what are your ideas?

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TestWe partners with Peergrade!


What's Peergrade?

Peergrade is a free online platform to facilitate peer feedback sessions with students. Concretely, it allows professors to create and manage assignments that will be reviewed and commented by students between them.

During that feedback session, professors can track all feedback shared between students as well as the progression of their students on a specific subject.

Thanks to an intuitive design and efficient way to improve students' learning experience, Peergrade has been able to attract numerous universities like UCL, Copenhagen University, Copenhagen Business School, Texas A&M University and others.

Although Peergrade is mostly used in and designed for higher education, it is also used in K12.


Peergrading is an alternative type of assessment

In our previous white paper, we already talked about peer grading and showed how efficient it could be for the learning experience. As we try to change the way exams, tests, assignments or assessments are given and taken, we obviously are very interested in alternative assessments such as peer grading.

That is why we first contacted the Peergrade team to understand their product better. We quickly became fans of their work and understood that our two products, TestWe and Peergrade, had a match.

After several introductions and discussions, we decided to team up.


What's the partnership about?

What we figured out was that we could propose our solutions as a package. You may need an e-Assessment solution like TestWe to optimize and digitize your assessment process on a global level, but you'll maybe need more tools to diversify as much as possible your formats of exams. Here, you can get Peergrade with TestWe.

On the other side, you may need Peergrade to test and change toward more alternative assessments, but you may also need a solution to help you manage on a global level the digitization of your assessment process and still use more traditional types of assessment. Here you can get Peergrade and TestWe as a package.

So here you go! If you have more question, simply contact us!

Check everything about Peergrade here

And on their social networks:
Facebook: here
Twitter: here
LinkedIn: here
Medium: here

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How to (Better) Assess Learners

As we demonstrated in this white paper, assessing learners can lead to many issues: stress, regression of learning, it is necessary to understand why grades and assessments are problematic.

Should we stop grading? Should we assess differently?



The problems

Assessing has become problematic. Between 30% and 40% of American students experience anxiety due to exams. In French higher education, it goes up to 51%.

There is also now a schism between learning and grading. From high school to the end of university, a learner is more likely to focus solely on his mark, considered the final reward, rather than the comments made to him.

As exams approach, students are swept in rather than following a continuous process of integrating knowledge and skills. In France, however, teachers and administrations are asked to place the skills above the grades. Since the reforms of high schools, we even see the controls continue to take a prominent place in obtaining the baccalaureate.

Nevertheless, "the French teachers coming to integrate the system are not trained or do not seek enough to train themselves to these new typically Scandinavian methods," explains Aurore Tondelier, a college professor.

We are facing a brutal change of era in Education, where past and future coexist and bring their share of contradiction.



Should we stop Grading?

Grades are more and more questioned. Some movements such as Teachers Throwing Out Grades propose to simply stop grading or reform the process.

It is true, grades do indeed exist throughout the learning cycles, in elementary school, high school, university, professional life, so it would be difficult to stop everything, nevertheless, reviewing their importance or even the number of graded assessments may seem interesting!

In Finland, learners receive 0 grades before the age of 18, so...

Assessing is a pedagogical exercise that requires the same effort as building a course. Also, while it has been clearly proven that varying course formats is constructive for engagement and active learning, varying assessment formats may be too.

Peer assessment, evaluation and traditional grading, self-grading, project assessment, positioning test, learning report etc. These are all formats to use through the same learning cycle. The problem, of course, is that it requires more commitment from the teaching team, professors or trainers. This is why continuing education for them turns out to be essential.



(Better) Contextualize the assessment and the grade

One of the most important factors is the context of the introduction of a grade or an exam. In fact, according to Svetlana Meyer, scientific manager at Didask and a researcher in cognitive science, the behaviour of the trainers and the context in which the evaluation is given determine the learner's performance at first, but above all his relationship with the idea of assessing in a more global way.

It is therefore up to the trainer to relax the atmosphere or to clarify it so that there is no perceived trap or threat for the learner. "If we are in a benevolent context, with trainers who value progress, who are not judging, and if we offer to learners a test presented as a diagnostic whose data are only at the disposal of the learner, the assessment will not give birth to a perception of threat, "says Svetlana Meyer; we can say that the learner will be more comfortable, more honest with his knowledge, his experience and will transcribe it better on a given test.

When we take into account the importance of context and perception, we realize very quickly that today, we are still far from an ideal climate for learners. A notable pressure is placed on the latter, who must at all costs reach an ever-higher score to rise in a social hierarchy afterwards.

It's a system thing. Reintroducing the wolves in Yellowstone eventually gave a dramatic positive boost to the biodiversity of the park and eventually even changed the course of the rivers. In the case of assessments, a small habit, a context, a sentence, a posture can change the whole system and the view of the learner has about her/his learning!

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Neuromyths and Memory: How do we learn?

For this new WeTestEd video, we decided to venture into the cognitive sciences and especially the neurosciences.

"I learn better by listening than by reading."

"Oh yeah ?"

"Yeah, I have a hearing memory."

We all said it one day. We would learn better through one meaning in particular. Thanks to Didask, I realized that ... Well it was a lie. A neuromyth.

So how does it work?

It's quite long to explain, so the goal here is to vulgarize as much as we can. So let's go. First, it is important to understand that, on the contrary, the treatment of information is carried out by all senses and through different actions.

Also, the more we go through different formats of information and different kind of activities we do around a subject, the more we learn from it.

This is called Active Learning. that is to say, to put it simply, the engagement of a person on a subject mobilizing his cognitive capacities in several forms (reading, hearing, action, speaking, discussion etc.).

So, you should think about changing activities during class!

Obviously, hiring someone into an activity and about a topic is difficult. There are various recipes to promote it, we will talk about it very soon.

Mike and Sofia learn to play the guitar...

Take the example of these two characters.

Mike wants to learn how to play the guitar. He has one hour a day to practice. He plays on his guitar every day and repeats the chords he seems to need to master the basics of this instrument.

At the same time, Sofia also wants to learn how to play the guitar, but she only has 15 minutes a day during which she can actually play her instrument.

Nevertheless, she will spend a greater part of her time, on the way to the university, for example, to listen to music, to read between two courses of tutorials and the structures of the notes ... Reading, action, hearing, thinking ...

A month later, Mike will have learned to master a number of chords and will certainly have learned a song.

BUT, Sofia, she will be able to play a song certainly, but also to listen to the music to learn a lesson, she will be able to improvise using the chords she learned.

Conclusion

Learning and memory are areas teeming with neuromyths like the one mentioned at the beginning of the article.

It is important, in order to ensure quality learning, not to fall into the different panels and to know not only a little brain function related to memory.

What must be remembered is that learning is done by being active and by analyzing different faces of the same subject.

In the same way, we approach different facets via different formats. The goal is then to make these formats as engaging as possible in order to maintain a general active learning state.

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Are students today really digital natives?

We’re used to reading articles talking about how education is transforming, especially through the use of technology. Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Gamification, Big Data, etc.

Far be it from me to contradict this idea. Indeed, this transformation is factual and observable! Disruptors in the Edtech industry now run the streets.

It must nevertheless be nuanced. Especially when some say that technology must adapt to a millennial / generation Z, also called digital natives.

Yes, digital natives. A generation that was bathed in technology, a generation that throughout adolescence, or even childhood, was manipulating technology.

At TestWe, we often rallied to this idea. Fatal error and we have some proof to affirm it.

You know (or maybe not yet) that our solution tends to 100% digitize the assessment of institutions from the creation of an exam until the delivery of the grade/badge/degree/certification. No more paper then.

The goal is also to let students take their exams on their own computer and in a professional-like environment.


Ok, so here are our findings:

  • 50% of them do not know how to manage their emails

  • 35% do not know how to navigate on their computer

  • 30% do not know how to install software

  • it's rare, but some of them cannot differentiate Operating systems


Some would say that this simply explains that millennials and the Z generation are no longer used to use their computers, that they prefer their smartphones. I mean, look! 95% of them order food, book an Airbnb room or a taxi via their smartphone!

Why not, but are we now all working on our smartphones most of the time? No, the computer remains the number 1 tool of any "important" task. Moreover, they’re becoming more flexible and portable in any place than ever.

Warning! It is true, the stake is not vital but underlines the importance of the following idea:

Students are digital natives in that they were predominantly born in a digital environment saturated with lots of different media. Yes

But if we look at the digital natives' term as a population who grew up with an ability to easily understand and master tech tools, then it is a big no as explains Kate Moran in her study published on the Nielsen Norman Group.

Instead, these young generations are more like digital consumers, consumers of what tech companies provide them with: contents, goods, information, social links etc.


That means two things for Higher education today.

First, it is not necessary to go full speed toward using new tech for learning, just for the sake of consuming innovation.

Especially when we need only specific changes to solve one of today’s big crisis: the skills gap that affects new graduates.

Indeed, students, once graduated, land on a market that needs tech talents, but above all people who can learn quickly and implement quickly what they’re learning (=soft skills).

Whereas more than 70% of deans think graduated students are qualified for their first job, less than 40% of employers share that opinion.

Ce qu’il faut, c’est donc déterminer quels besoins du marché du travail et de l’innovation peuvent être répondu pendant le parcours universitaire. Allons sur la VR en école de commerce, par exemple, si dans 10 ans, il est perçu que plus de 50% des étudiants aujourd’hui l’utiliseront régulièrement.

What we need then is to determine much more quickly which needs of the market can be answered, that goes through accelerating the updating of curricula. Let’s try VR in business school for sure, but only if more than 50% of today students are likely to use it regularly. Otherwise, make it an option.

Then, in the meantime, it is necessary to be able to trigger a change of habits. Through pedagogy, for example, promote a non-multitasking style of studying/working to students. Indeed, multitasking is a symbol of the millennial generation and yet such a bad way to learn and "be productive".

So, in conclusion, there will be no learning revolution as long as we continue our focus on new technologies, as beneficial as they are. Coupled with these are clear measures, changes in habits that must be made to ensure the right changes students need for their future.

...
5 Pedagogies For 2019

Technology will never replace the teacher but rather help him to elevate himself and empower his methods and pedagogy.

Thus, in this article, we will not just take a look at some Edtech tools, but rather on the pedagogies that can be enriched by these tools.



1. Peer Learning

Peer learning is a pedagogy that lets learners manage their own learning together in groups, working on different thematics. No teachers here, only facilitators, coaching the learners and igniting engagement and discussion in groups.

Peer Learning is a relatively anarchist pedagogy that has, for a long time, proved its effectiveness over more classical models.

For more information on this, we invite you to take a look at our interview with Diane Lenne, founder of We Are Peers, the startup that reintroduces Peer Learning in companies and schools.



2. Speed Learning

Do we really need that many years of study to master the skills we will need to upskill and ensure a better career? In fact ... not really. That's what Growth tribe, the leading growth hacking academy in Europe, claims.

When you enter the through the gates of the Growth tribe academy, you’re bound to become a follower of the accelerated learning method. You start to apply what you just learnt directly into a work situation (especially by working with partner companies of the academy like Google). "This is called the training-action method," says Thomas Lesenechal, director of Growth tribe France.

At the heart of this method is speed learning. The principle is simple: "to concentrate on learning and mastering 20% ​​of the concepts that will be used for 80% of the time of the collaborators, it is the Pareto law of the 80-20," explains Thomas, for the rest, we complement our base of 20% knowledge and mastery with personal learning, experience and curiosity.

The goal here is to master a subject to be able to take action and continue learning as quickly as possible. And it works. To learn more, we invite you to listen to our interview with Thomas just here and subscribe to their Youtube channel.



3. Immersive Learning

Have you ever played a role play game or did a simulation and loved it? Tech is not a barrier to learning for you? In this case, Immersive Learning will make you dream.

A little Virtual Reality, it's not just to play. The goal is to transport your learners, like yourself in a simulated environment where you can put knowledge into practice while removing valuable learning data.

Of course, we can’t rely on any solution to apply this pedagogy. Uptale is THE solution that has actually proven that tech can actuallypositively transform learning through Virtual Reality with minimal friction for learners.



4. Simulation and role play games

Have you ever played a role play or simulation and loved it? Well, keep it up, but in class. Not simulations of situations are not new in pedagogies, they are simply still too little used in various fields.

We gave you a precise report on the impact of simulations on learning here !



5. Design Thinking

Developed by Rolf Faste in the 1980s, design thinking is a method of solving problems through brainstorming and ideation.

Nothing better to develop the creativity, analytical skills, organization and teamwork of learners. But that's not all, design thinking has repercussions on the entire learning environment, from content to room configuration; administrative processes for exams.

Take a look at this white paper ! You will find ideas and information to best apply design thinking in your institutions.

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Why You Should Do Positioning Tests
  • Svetlana Meyer is a cognitive science researcher associated with the Psychology and NeuroCognition Laboratory. She is also the scientific manager at Didask.
  • Didask is a French startup, of Edtech (obviously), which offers an online learning method that has the particularity of offering a pedagogy anchored in the cognitive sciences."
  • We particularly like what they do for the world of Education.


On March 13, 2019, Svetlana Meyer, Scientific Director of Didask, published Teaching Efficiency # 2: Beware of Misperceptions. First, we recommend reading it and even reading their blog DisDonc Didask.

But a term particularly caught our attention. The positioning test. As soon as we read the article, we called them and hosted them as part of our WeTestEd session podcast, especially to learn more about it.

So, what is a positioning test? Simply put, it is a diagnostic test that is provided to the learner before and after a learning cycle. The goal is to know what is the starting point of each learner before entering the learning phase and its point of arrival post phase.

Until then all is well, this kind of test seems to be extremely useful and adapted to a pedagogy that could be described as "agile", or comparable to the Innovation Classroom Don Wettrick.

However, it seems that this test is generally, and strangely, neglected by the community of trainers. Why?

"In this kind of entity, the trainers have two main objectives: on the one hand there is pedagogical effectiveness and on the other hand commitment/ engagement. Their fear is that the positioning test is perceived by the learners as a context of performance evaluation," Svetlana Meyer explains.

"In our opinion, it is not the positioning test that will trigger this feeling of being evaluated, it is rather the context in which it is given; the trainers facing the learner and the language used which can be the trigger. If this test is considered as a simple diagnosis, the learner will never feel threatened, " adds Svetlana Meyer.

Too bad! Especially that this type of test has many benefits. First, it allows you to precisely mark the learning process of each learner and this for two reasons:

  • first of all this test requires a cognitive effort to the learner who will have to mobilize knowledge which is potentially already existing and which will thus reinforce the trace in memory associated with this knowledge there
  • then there is what is called the illusion of control. As long as one has not tested his knowledge, one can have the feeling of being "super strong" on a subject whereas it is only when he will be confronted with a situation where he will have to mobilize knowledge that we will understand that this is not so much the case. Here the positioning test can clarify the learning for the trainers but also, and especially for the learner

The positioning test is, therefore, an evaluation model with which trainers and teachers should reconcile themselves with because its contributions to learning seem to be more than beneficial!

The lesson for this test, as for any other type of assessment of a learner (whether professional or student), is that it is important to work on the context more than the evaluation format.

A detail can make a difference. "When we look at the grade for example. We see a lot of debates on the grades, on the forms they should have: do we have to put a number, a colour, an appreciation, etc.? Whereas what matters is its context. If the context in which a grade arrives is competitive, then the student will feel it and adapt to it, " says Svetlana.

"The student will adopt a competitive posture toward others. He will feel his worth judged and will feel the need to protect himself from bad judgments. So all his attention will be captured by this need for protection against judgments rather than on his learning, "adds Svetlana Meyer.

There is much food for thought when we know that the stress of grades and exams is very high among students, especially in higher education, and that it is one of the sources of skills deficit.

...
Rémy Challe, Edtech, Higher Ed: What changes?

This week we are talking to
Rémy Challe, the CEO of Edtech France, the new association gathering more and more startups of the French Edtech.

On the menu, the state of Edtech in France and elsewhere, its problems and opportunities for the future. Has Edtech really succeeded in changing Higher Education for the better? What are the inherent problems of education that hinder educational innovation?

Many questions to which Rémy answered through his analysis.

TestWe: So what is the state of Edtech in France?

Rémy Challe: We are at the beginning of something there. 6 months ago I did not really know what it was for various reasons. But there is clearly a growth curve that is emerging. Now, although this growth curve is double-digit in France, when we look at the massive investments in India, China and the United States, you realize we French still have a long way to go.

France is a country of education! We must be able to support our entrepreneurs much more and not just send them to CES in Las Vegas, if not in a few years, the tools we will use will be Chinese, Indian, American etc. That does not mean that they are bad, they are just, I think, less adapted to the system of values ​​of the French education. French Edtech becomes almost a question of sovereignty!

T: What is the French value system? What are we claiming?

R.C: There is a form of universalism, France is also the country of Human Rights. In a very pragmatic way: the protection of data, well, it is not known in the same way in France, China, India etc.

And that, we must claim it, we must protect these values ​​and promote them in France and abroad. I sometimes meet entrepreneurs from the French Edtech who make 100% of their profits abroad. So that's good, it means that they export easily and that the "French touch" is successful, but it's sad at the same time because it means they have difficulties offering their solution in their own country, and that's not normal.


T: What is the feeling of the actors of Education regarding Edtech tools?

R.C: (laughs) Well, there are various feelings. First, here, I would not talk about continuing education/ professional training, because Edtech is widely accepted and there are fewer dogmas. We are dealing with actors who are companies that are going through periods of significant digital transformation, and Edtech is already considered as a solution that one must be armed with to train all members of a company.

When we talk about school in France (ie K-12) it's complex, because there is a market that is a public market. In France, it is not the professors who buy for example, which is not the case in China. And even if they want to buy an innovative and relevant solution to meet their educational needs and those of their students, it is not they who will pay.

You want to sell to a primary school, you have to go to the commune, you want to sell to a college you have to go to the department and for a high school, you have to go to the regional administration. And then the one who decides is not the one who pays, the one who pays may not be the one who will use the solution, and he may pay for someone else to finally use the solution, so you see it's a little nightmarish.

And then there is more dogma. First, there is the argument that education is free while there is always someone who pays in the end, and then there is always a kind of a distrust of the private sector. There is often this vision of entrepreneurs as sharks of finance when in reality it is far from being the case. In Edtech, we find almost exclusively entrepreneurs passionate about Education or people coming from the world of Education who seek to solve real problems. Whatever happens, we do not go on this sector for greedy purposes.

Finally, there is this third silo which is that of Higher Education. Here we find private actors, public actors. Generally, in Higher Ed, there is a general awareness that Edtech could greatly help. This position is explained by several factors. First, there is an appetite for innovation, there is a climate of competition that pushes institutions to innovate. And then there are these 20-year-old students, who use their smartphone during their classes. So the question is not how to ban these tools but rather "the learner that faces me is not the same as one was twenty years ago, so I must adapt. " So there is a change of posture expected but also a change that is inevitable.

Basically, we are moving from a time when the teacher was the only holder of knowledge to a time when knowledge is everywhere and we just need to know how to access relevant information, a time where we must learn how to learn and the teacher plays a determining role there above. The teacher must become ... well, a coach.


TW: What do you think about teacher autonomy?

R.C: There are programs that the teacher has to follow, it's clear, but after all, teachers have a certain pedagogical freedom and you have to have that freedom, through which you can choose your own methods, your own textbooks, and so on.

TW: In the Finnish way? In Finland for example, teachers have total autonomy ...

R.C: So we're not there but besides I do not even think that we should replicate this model in France. Finland is Finland, and then it's a smaller country, the scales are different, the traditions are different. On the other hand, in France, there is still pedagogical freedom. The problem is that it is not at all extended to innovative solutions. So perhaps we should give more freedom to teachers as to their pedagogy, their methods ...

In Higher Education, on the contrary, there is more freedom! In the development of programs, the choice of methods ... that's why it's a space that interests me and that can perhaps by capillarity, disseminate this educational freedom to K-12.

So yes, there is a resistance to change, but as I said earlier, awareness is already there.

T.W: Let's get out of the classroom and talk about Education as a whole and more structurally. There is a crisis of Higher Ed that looms on the horizon, especially in the US and the UK. A financial crisis but also a crisis of knowledge via the skills gap phenomenon. What do you think?

R.C: So first, the situation in France is not quite comparable to the Anglo-Saxon situation. Firstly, because Education is "free" when we talk about universities for example, or costs a few hundred euros.

TW: On the other hand there are also more and more students going into the private sector, like business schools

R.C: That's right, there are these schools of commerce, communication, engineers where the costs are relatively high. To be clear, the cost of a student at university (about 13,000 euros) is about the same as that of a student in a management school.

So for the university, it is the community that pays and it's great, and in the big management schools it is the learners who pay and it's not stupid either.

So yes there is a student debt that exists but it remains very far from American or British cases, so the crisis that can be seen in these regions does not exist in France ...



TW: But can it exist?

R.C: It's a fact, tuition fees have increased significantly in management schools over the last decade, they have almost doubled. And yes to start in life it can be a ball to the foot.

Now there are lots of support programs and alternative programs like apprenticeships where it is the companies that pay for students who are also paid between 1,000 and up to 2,000 net euros per month!

Also, we must also not fall into the cliché of prestigious management schools as the places where we find exclusively rich spoiled brats! There are sometimes more diversities in the grandes écoles than in some lecture halls at the university. Even in the grandes écoles, one can have access to scholarships, one can work alongside his studies, one can borrow from the banks if need be.

While it is true that the costs increase, I do not think they can still go up, contrary to what others think, it would not seem reasonable to propose schools at a 20,000 euros yearly tuition fee.


T.W: And the return on investment remains positive?

R.C: Yes it is still positive, now ... It is not exactly the same either compared to 20 years ago. The more graduates we have, the less value our degree has in away. So hiring wages are probably less efficient than 20 years ago.

But I do not believe that the crisis that you seem to announce with reason will arrive in France. On the other hand, there are points of vigilance, we must be careful, education is not a commodity, at least not like any other, we must not fall into a trap as it can be observed in the United States. or elsewhere.

...
Should we choose a university according to its ranking?

Today, if you're not a part of the Higher education industry (not talking about the students here), how do you know if a particular university or business school is interesting, or simply good for you?

That's right, you look at rankings. Ok, you can also ask around you who went where and how the experience was but come on, you always refer to the rankings? Imagine for students, how much weight rankings add to their decision-making.

Now there are a number of problems with these rankings.

Teaching and pedagogy are not represented enough in the calculations

Depending on the rankings and knowing only three rankings are considered internationally relevant (THE, QS and Shanghai), the quality of teaching and pedagogic innovation accounts for more or less 30% of a university's overall grade.

This is problematic because:

  • today, pedagogic innovation in Higher education has become the most important factor in the success of students, not research. Indeed, proving you have a good quality of teaching means that in the end, students who'll become researchers will have better backgrounds for their projects.
  • it pushes the universities to invest massively in hiring professors pursuing trendy researches and not necessarily good pedagogic methods. Worse, it pushes tenured and non-tenured professors to produce a highly growing number of papers, researches, articles etc. Putting that much pressure on professors to ensure their status in the university prevents them from spending time with students or on pedagogy. In the end, it means less skilled students and a growing skills gap.



Too many students, too few universities

According to UNESCO, in 2030, more than 400 million students will enter universities compared to less than 99 million in 2000, so that's a more than 400% rise. The problem is that it means we need more and more universities to open or new ways to manage that many students.

See the problem? No? Well.

University rankings are a symbol of elitism. Generally, no one ever looks past the first 150 universities ranked on the list and most of the times, these are all from developed countries (mainly the US, China and the UK).

Knowing that most of the young generation is coming from Africa, the Middle East or South America or Asia, these rankings don't help existing institutions in these continents even if lots of them are incredibly innovative or give effective learning programs.

  • It pushes these universities to adopt elitist measures to try to resemble universities from the ?upper class club?
  • It doesn't provide a real opportunity for students to envision a future they'd like to reach if, for example, they don't have the means to get to American expensive institutions or if they just don't want to travel thousands of kilometres to study abroad

Rankings as they are, propose a grim future. With the growing population going to universities, does it mean some will have to study through online learning only and via poorly engaging MOOCs while the richest more lucky ones will have the chance to access physically to the ?best? campuses?

It shouldn't be like that.

These rankings aren't appealing to students

?I'd be curious to hear if one student ever found his university good, or even decided to apply for a university, according to its ranking,? says Victor Wacrenier, CEO and co-founder at Appscho, a French startup that provides a campus management app.

It is true that students consider these rankings as essential in the decision-making process, according to a QS survey, 70% said so. But the main reason is that rankings seem to be indicators of employability. It stays elitist.

According to this survey, students are either over-relying on universities rankings, either need more metrics to understand what university can be the best for what they're searching for.

There is currently a rethinking of universities' values as institutions providing skills and a culture of learning rather than access to jobs. ?It is a shift toward Lifelong learning? as says Patrice Houdayer, Vice-Dean at Skema business school. Rankings should thus adapt to these new values and propose appropriate guidings for a new generation of learners that have completely different expectations of their experience in universities and after.

In Conclusion, rather than spending massive amounts of money to go up or stay up in the rankings, universities should adopt another strategy and invest in pedagogy and the campus experience to make sure students are trained enough for having a life long learning discipline, skills for their future career. Naturally, these students will take care of the reputation of the school.

Rankings are needed though, but they must take into account much more variables like eco-friendly standards, pedagogic standards, innovation standards or campus experience standards. Accreditations are already on the move, so should rankings.

...
Why Peer Learning Is So Effective

On the occasion of our first podcast WeTestEd, we had the opportunity to chat with Diane Lenne, CEO of the startup We Are Peers.

We Are Peers is one of the Edtech startups currently in vogue in France. It must be said that they propose an innovative, effective and damn promising solution.

What are they doing ? They develop Peer Learning within companies, in business schools and universities. They do this by hosting live sessions of Peer Learning and by offering a platform to manage peer learning projects, like a sort of LMS.

TestWe: In your opinion, which are the most innovative between companies and institutions of Higher Education?


Diane: It depends! What I can say is that with the companies it goes much faster, it is generally them who contact us to integrate the Peer Learning as quickly as possible. While with schools, it is we who must put ourselves in a position of proactive research and we must do a real job of education to reassure them in the benefits of our methods. But that's also why we started on these two very different profiles.

T: Do you have the same observation regarding the results of your projects with clients? That is, do you get positive results earlier in the businesses or in the educational institutions?

D: Well the results are observable after a single session. So in this case it's the same for companies as for schools.

T: 3 advantages and 3 disadvantages of Peer Learning?

D: So concerning the benefits I would say that:

  • it's a pedagogy that is very empowering

  • it greatly favors the engagement of learners
  • there is a knowledge acquisition that seems to be much more effective than with other pedagogic methods
The inconvenients :
  • it's very technical and it requires a whole lot of organization
  • it takes a lot of energy in the animation of the sessions, you always have to keep up the pace
  • you have to be able to let go and know how to underpin valuable information from learners

T: Should peer learning, in your opinion, replace a more traditional form of pedagogy like lecturing?

D: No I do not think so, I'd rather say it should be complementary. We can say what we want, the lecturing remains a method that can be very, very effective!

T: Let's talk about MOOCs. I do not know if you could see a bit of the disco on this subject right now, but overall we wonder if the MOOCs are a failed promise, a success ... What do you think?

D: MOOCs are an innovation among others. For me it brings accessibility, but it does not change the course pedagogy. Moreover, the average completion rate is not great, around 13%. Finally, generally, MOOCs are very effective but only for a minority of people who are usually the most "educated". So yes, it is an excellent innovation but must remain complementary to a more global educational strategy.

T: Are you aware of other uses of Peer Learning, observations about its effectiveness, elsewhere?

D: Yes! It must be known that this pedagogy is not new. The first, it seems to me, is the mutual class. This type of class allows children to learn to read and write in less than 3 years versus 5 years for traditional classes. But for ideological reasons this method was abandoned, especially because it called into question the place and authority of the teacher. Today some educators put the mutual class up to date like Vincent Faillet.

T: Could you tell us about a success story that marked you with We Are Peers?

D: Yes! You have to know that every success is the result of a collective work. Now for me a success story would be that of the course we created at EM Lyon Business School, which is still in progress. It is self-managed by the students and passed on to each other, ie the students of one session become the facilitators, the facilitators of the next. Some students have even become Peer Learning session facilitators in business. It was their internship or even their first job! I am thinking in particular of one of them who became part-time facilitator in a company of which he was a minority shareholder although still a student. He has facilitated sessions with more than 50 people, which has clearly offered him the opportunity to learn and proactively illustrate his skills, it is an example of empowerment! Beyond that, he also accompanied other courses at EM Lyon ?

T: What do you do when a student is simply not engaged nor excited by the peer learning session? Does it happen often?

D: Yes it happens sometimes, inevitably. But it's absolutely not a problem. First, we try to figure out if this student might kill the vibe of the group. So basically we just go and see them talk and tell them? Are you feeling ok with this? If not what's the problem? And you know this course isn't mandatory so if you don't want to come back, please do. In most cases, we try to motivate them in other ways and by explaining them more clearly what the exercises are about. But you know sometimes students feel simply too disrupted and you just have to let them go.

To be sure everyone wants to be part of this course, we ask students to prepare a cover letter to show their interest in that type of learning experiment... And it's quite effective!

T: What do you think about the skills gap impacting Higher Education? Do you think it's real? If so, then what's the reason of this skills gap according to you?

D: Obviously it exists and I think it's because of the slowness of the educational system. It takes too much time to renew pedagogical programs and curricula. Take for example entrepreneurship. Ok, today you have many programs and courses of entrepreneurship but it's not enough. We need more focus on data and growth techniques, we need to teach students pragmatic activities in a way that facilitates self-renewal. However, it's changing and schools are aware of this. The thing is, students could learn much faster rather than spending two years on fundamentals.

T: What's your advice for Higher Education?

D: Alright I'll answer to that question in four points:

  • Stop ignoring pedagogic innovations and models that work like Vincent Faillet's. Schools should spot these pedagogic innovations and test them through pilots programs. It's the case in Finland for example.
  • Change the classes environment and rooms' designs to make it more adapted for engaging sessions.
  • Then, I think it's worth wondering why Higher education exists and what are its values and goals today.
  • Finally, it would be interesting to work and teach around grand themes. It's what we call phenomenal education, it's very much used in Finland now, and the goal is to teach several subjects (geography, math, history, economics, neuroscience etc.) through one theme, one set in an interdisciplinary way.

More and more business schools are trying the We Are Peers experience, such as Rennes Business School or more recently Grenoble School of Management on a geopolitical theme. We Are Peers is a figurehead of Edtech and Transformation and we recommend you to take a look at what they do.

You can follow WAP on Twitter
Or follow Diane

...
6 Ways You Should Assess Learners in 2019

Assessment is one the most important matter to take care of today. With the rise and demand for new skills, there's a need for new ways to evaluate learners! What is sure is that standardized assessments are being left aside, little by little. Alternative assessments, on the contrary, are on the rise. Tech tools offer other opportunities to build new ways to assess learners.

So what are the promising types of assessments for 2019?

Self-Assessment/ Peer Grading

Why? Because empowering learners by giving them the opportunity to self assess their work or assess their peers' work is greatly helpful at triggering engagement! You simply make the assessment become a whole part of the learning process.

You should definitely take a look at We Are Peers, the French provider of collaborative assessment system and peer learning management system. Or for more inspiration, have a look at what Don Wettrick has done with his students through his Innovation Classroom!

Assess by Teaching

Why? Because studies show that students put in the place of their professor, that is, making themselves the provider of knowledge, help them to better learn.

What you can assess here is the precision, efficiency and concision of a student's presentation to his peers as well as how well others have understood one subject. This formative assessment encourages communication between students and to that, we can only say ?YES?.

Quizzes

Why? Because Quizzes are a perfect formative assessment that can be multiplied throughout the year, which gives the opportunity to have access to data on students' learning.

Moreover, quizzes are very engaging for learners and bring interactivity and entertainment to the class. A very good example of a working solution is Wooclap. This Belgian startup makes smartphones great learning tools! A professor creates quizzes that will be sent to students' smartphones during the class. The result is that it has been proved that it helped students facilitate long term memory.

Roleplay

Why? These are the most engaging assessments through which learners impersonate a situation to show what they have learned? in action! Concretely, it's learning by doing. Thus, it gives an on-the-spot look at how much learners developed their skills. Here's a study on the benefits of roleplay assessments!

Pecha Kucha

Why? Pecha Kucha is a Japanese method of presentation in which you must present 20 slides while spending not more than 20 seconds per slide. Efficiency, being straight-to-the-point, Pecha Kucha are assessments that can put under the spotlight skills that are very much required on the job market today. Here's our study of it!

eAssessments

Why? Because it's the most hybrid solution for assessments. Because it works with alternative assessments, it works with standardized assessments and it provides data on the learning process, indicating professors what to do to improve their pedagogy and better adapt their assessment/learning experience. Plus, eAssessments provide flexibility to professors who can manage their exams as well as learners who can take their exam on their own device, anywhere or anytime. TestWe? well? is a good example ;)

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Why Pecha Kucha is great for learning

Starting this new series on new ways to evaluate students skills, I had the opportunity to talk with Dr Keith Pond, director at EOCCS, the online program accreditation from EFMD.

?Students are evaluated on skills that don't match what most of the employers need,? says Keith Pond, ?and there are ways to change that, notably by changing the way we assess students.?

?I'm trying the Pecha Kucha method of presentation, did you hear about that??

Pecha Kucha is a Japanese method of presentation in which you must present 20 slides while spending not more than 20 seconds per slide. This method, in fact, is full of learning opportunities for students. Here's how.

1. It engages students in their presentation

"Obviously, students have to be concise in their arguments and learn by themselves how to convey people in a limited amount of time," says Keith Pond. Precision and efficiency are of great value. PechaKucha, more than any other traditional methods of presentation, engages the student in his project.

Through his work, students will have to understand the concepts and information they'll have to communicate, repeat many times to ensure a clear flow of information and eloquence. This work and repetition are engaging, and engagement is great to ensure long-term memory, that is, learning.

2. Easy to grade, easy to communicate

Giving a grade on presentations like these is not difficult. Variables are here. Better, inviting students to peer grading can be a great opportunity for learning. Indeed, it has been shown that peer grading could trigger active learning more easily.

Moreover, it is also very easy for students and professors to communicate with each other on presentations and what they understood from it. It is thus a great opportunity to engage everyone to communicate, get feedback on practical points.

2. It develops pragmatic skills that will help them professionally

Finally, Pecha Kucha is a great assessment model to test skills that are most needed in the job market. Knowing how to communicate clearly and efficiently is one of the most demanded soft skills today. Indeed, according to Dr Poonam Madar, a lecturer at the University of West London, Pecha Kucha is an assessment, a learning tool and a great way to prepare students for their future jobs. A three in one method that just can't be neglected!

According to Keith Pond, ?you can address different elements skills with different sorts of assessments, rather than expecting undergraduates to know just how to write an essay. You've got to train them through these elements,? and that is how they acquire skills that will greatly help them in the job market.

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5 Ways to Prepare Your Students for Hybrid Jobs

We posted an article last week, talking about the rise of hybrid jobs on the market and its impacts on higher education. Have a look at this chart from Burning glass technologies and you'll understand.

Here you go.

Obviously, the impacts that hybrid jobs will have on higher education are many and changes are needed in terms of learning/ pedagogy, of internal organizations. Basically, as Joseph E. Aoun writes, "If the new jobs that are emerging are increasingly hybrid, then the programs of study may need to become hybridized as well."

Let's dive a bit deeper into how a university or a school could prepare its students for these new kinds of jobs.



1. Propose projects and learning paths that aren't siloed

Although it is already changing today, learning paths are still very much siloed. If you're a student in History, marketing, finance, biology, you won't be able to learn or use knowledge from other fields to discover and propose solutions to problematics.

In fact, as Joseph E. Aoun explains in his article, it is much more enriching to base learning on problematics rather than on a defined field because it is the way students are going to be confronted to different kinds of situations in the real world.

Having access to one particular kind of knowledge isn't a problem anymore, knowledge is available almost for free at any time, anywhere. Thus, it is about using different kinds of knowledge to solve problems. This is one of several skills that are at the core of hybrid jobs.

A good example of a structural and pedagogical transformation, from siloed to hybrid education, is Finland. From their youngest age, students don't learn subjects, they don't take courses, rather, they take part in projects around themes and problematics.



2. Insufflate a culture of a growth mindset

As Jennifer Gonzalez writes, ?most teachers know that one of the best things we can do for our students is to help them develop a growth mindset, the belief that they can get smarter through effort. But many teachers are at a loss for what exactly they should do to promote this mindset.?

The growth mindset is the idea that the brain has the ability to change throughout your life, writes Katie Brohawn. Already very popular in the entrepreneurial community through expressions like every mistake is an opportunity to learn, it is still hardly applied to higher education where performance is perceived by students as the end-goal over learning.

Teaching a growth mindset to students can have positive impacts on them in terms of methodology, engagement and retention. Gauthier Lebbe, Inbound Marketing Manager at Wooclap, a Belgium startup that makes smartphone engaging learning tools, proposes 5 ways to help students develop a growth mindset.



3. Propose Innovation Class

We previously talked about Don Wettrick's Innovation Class and the opportunities it offered for higher education.

  • Innovation classes help students to engage a lot more with the learning process.
  • They help them develop a high curiosity for problematics they want to solve.
  • They also help them develop a high expertise in a short time that is quite remarkable. They help them use tech tools and new practices to attain their goals.
  • Finally, they help students to work together on projects and manage goals they set themselves.

Innovation classes match 100% with what is needed today on the labour market and in new functions such as hybrid jobs.



4. The Growth Tribe model

Growth tribe is the first European academy of growth hacking based in Amsterdam. More than growth hacking, the academy trains people from all ages to master a mindset that will them adapt fast to many kinds of hybrid jobs.

Seeing the rapid growth of this academy in such little time (2 years), it is interesting to analyze its case and extract ideas and structures that could be applied to higher education institutions.

What works as hell with Growth tribe is their project based learning pedagogy. The academy is contacted by companies (generally large companies) who need to optimize their processes, solve problems or attain certain goals. Thus, learners form teams and apply immediately what they learn through conferences and discussions.

What's more interesting in the Growth Tribe's model is the culture of data, feedback and optimization learners need to integrate in order to be able to benchmark their learning or adapt to those many situations where they'll have to solve companies' problems.

An academy like Growth tribe not only provides its learners with a large panel of skills, it ensures the companies with which it works that its ?students? have a high mastery of these skills and are adaptable to many complex situations. Many find full-time jobs in these companies afterwards (or get promoted in case of a professional formation).



5. Hybridize the administration of the institution

Finally, going back to the argument of Joseph E. Adoun about the need for institutions to hybridize their learning programs, we can go even further. Institutions can change their own internal process and organization to entertain a continuous improvement of their learning programs and a perfect match between what their students learn and the current and future needs of the market.

It means building teams of administrators, like a growth team, that could benchmark the market and latest innovations in order to adapt the curriculums accordingly. It means also training its faculty and administrators to get the skills needed to help students evolve and learn quickly. This a basic of hybrid functions.

We'll go deeper into that question in our next post. Keep in touch!

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3 tools that'll help you save time and focus on pedagogy

Teaching takes time right. A lot of time. We need to optimize that. To start we have to recognize that teaching, like any other function, has high added value activities and low, very low, added-value activities. Proportionally, these low added value activities are very exhausting and necessitate large amounts of time, for a very low outcome like administrative stuff, like basic emailing, like reports, like marking copies, like creating exams?

You probably have this time problem right? Well, take a piece of paper, draw a line in the middle, one column for high added values activities, one for lows and write. Once you've done that, find some tools that might help you optimize and automate all these low added value tasks. AHH! We did that for you. Guys, here are 3 tools that will do the job no question asked.

1. Slack: Ease communication, ease your day, save time

Communication between professors and administrators can be hard. Communication between professors and students can be also quite messy. Generally, all of them happen on one messy platform, the university's email platform. Clearing this up is thus a priority. Slack is the best friend here. Originally, the tool was labelled the startupers way of communicating. Now, it's an awesome giant com' tool that could be used by any kind of group. You can automate message, separate groups via channels, ensure private conversations, set up notifications in a cool and user-friendly environment.



2. Sense: Optimize marking and feedback

Sense is a very interesting company with quite amazing technology. Basically, the solution analyzes all the assessments you have received and detects patterns out of them. With these patterns, Sense gives you several profiles of answer that will represent faithfully a whole lot of copies. Say you have 7 profiles, you'll give feedback on 7 types of personas rather than thousands. Now, you say thank you and we say no worries.



3. Domoscio: Automate your data visualisation reports

BigData and adaptive learning seem to be at their debut in Higher education. Nevertheless, more and more institutions understand their importance. Generally, when we interview schools and ask about it, they say? Yes, but it's a hassle.? Understandable, collecting data manually, giving it a sense and interpret it in order to improve learning is a formidable, hard task. That's why there's Domoscio. Basically, they automate data collection and update data visualization reports. They offer more than that, check them out!



TestWe in fourth?

TestWe can also help you at automating grading, optimizing exam creation and getting data out of them to improve learning. But that's for another time?

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Accreditation Management 2.0: A Conversation with Dr Keith Pond, Director at EOCCS

Getting accredited is becoming an ever more important task to fulfil for schools who want to prove their quality on the international scene. That's especially the case for business schools.

It is a tough thing to do for deans although the reward is more than interesting. It's all about having efficient processes.

Although it's a hard time for faculty to adapt and play the game collectively, it is an even harder time for accreditation managers.

Indeed, we asked more than sixty accreditation managers what were their most annoying pain points. 83,3% of them told us their most difficult phase of accreditation was the implementation of processes and data collection phase.

Two problems stood out: 37% said getting everyone on the process to be involved was their biggest challenge. 51% said data collection techniques were the one challenge that made their day? well, not a good day.

In the meantime, it is important to remind that this function is still significantly new in universities' structures. With tech coming into the game and the growing importance of reputation internationally, accreditation managers will see their job greatly evolve through the coming years.

How? How can they get through these pain points and ensure AoL? We asked these questions to Keith Pond and Stephanie Lambert, director and administrator at EOCCS, a promising and innovative accreditation and a part of the EFMD group.



The institution's brand strategist

Accreditation managers have access to data. A lot of data. They collect, centralize, simplify the visualization of these data for directors.

They have a viewpoint on everything. ?Having a lot of data is great, but what do you do with it?? says Keith Pond, ?they must wonder how do they maintain data, how to use it in management decisions.?

And that's where the role of accreditation managers is getting very much exciting. They could be seen as the spearhead, the strategic brain of an institution.

?Higher education is becoming more and more like a market. Thus, the accreditation manager has got to be very strategic with accreditation. He's the one who knows how to show that university in its best light.?

Opting for one accreditation or another, thus, has a concrete significance. Whether you want to be part of the elite with the triple crown, or whether you want to show you are innovative and provide online courses with EOCCS, or whether you want to show your deep attachment with ethics with PRME and learning with ABCSP.

According to Keith Pond, in the end, it's the whole university's identity and image depend on what the accreditation manager thinks could be smart to do. More than just the accreditation, "data collected by managers are now used for the school's marketing."

More implication on the learning experience

The need for measurement, for qualitative and quantitative data on the learning experience (reflected by students surveys, team excellence frameworks or teaching processes) are at the heart of Assurance of Learning (AoL).

AoL is a process and a methodology for continuous improvement in learning, it is also an indicator of how well you do with your students. There, an accreditation manager will be more and more important and implicated in the "what you do with data. That's what an EQUIS panel will ask you when they come to your school," Pond adds.

"For EQUIS, accreditation managers are responsible for proposing ways to use data in order to show improvements in the learning experience."

"So definitely, the accreditation manager is going to become a far more important role in those institutions that want the reputation and that want to recruit students from outside of their local area," Keith pond affirms.

Simply put, a lot of schools are going to need to put this position at the heart of their decision making, their pedagogical and their marketing strategy.

Nevertheless, this position still faces a problem of recognition in schools. "Accreditation managers are far far more important than they ever used to be, but I'm not sure if universities are very good at seeing academics and administrators on the same level. You have academics and then there are administrators," Pond says.

In the survey, we conducted with sixty accreditation managers, one of the issues that made difficult data collection and interpretation was that it was hard for them to get everyone on the same page and get help the right data from everyone.


The game-changer

In conclusion, the ever-evolving position of accreditation manager is going to get more importance in schools' structures. It is in the interests of these schools to help them facilitate the decision-making, the analysis and the use of learning data for AoL.

Innovation and tech can play a role in it. That is one of the visions of EOCCS. More innovative initiatives from schools help at two things: improve learning and ease decision-making.

Hence the deep attachment of this one-of-a-kind accreditation that provides schools with strategies and guidance to achieve this goal.

This is where tech tools can help, not by trying to replace pedagogy and trigger the "dark version of a tech-based Education," as Keith Pond says, but by helping academics and administrators like accreditation managers to improve the learning experience.

In the case of the latter, it would mean save him time to ease the data collection, letting him more time to focus on the big challenge: "what to do with data."

If you're an accreditation manager and feel sometimes in difficult times with your task, fear not, your voyage is full of promises and excitement.


Keith Pond is Director at EOCCS and Senior Lecturer at Loughborough University. More than wise, Keith is a fount of knowledge who deeply believes in a change toward a more innovative Education.

His stories and adventures with EOCCS are greatly inspiring for all academics and accreditation managers in search of improving their students' learning.

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Tomorrow's Teaching: A Conversation With Dr Kristin Palmer

Dr. Palmer is Director of Online Learning at the University of Virginia. She sees an evolving role of faculty and then shifting organizational structures and processes to support those specific role requirements.

She views some technology advances as tools to run towards and others to avoid. She sees a near future of faculty working collaborative across expertise areas to provide a high-quality student experience and the integration of edtech tools such as learning analytics and VR immersive environments in the classroom.

Dr. Palmer believes colleges and universities will need to differentiate what experiences they are providing to students: creating new knowledge/research, preparing individuals for jobs, and/or building well-rounded global citizens.

Education is changing fast and the consequences of this change can already be felt today.

Boom!

It's quite cliché I know but still, it's true and it's also a punchy intro. Apart from AI making its way into professors lives, apart from Edtech tools making their way into professors, apart" OK! Apart from all that, the whole job of teaching whether we talk about primary, secondary or higher education will completely change. Due to technology development but also due to the change of generation of students to whom professors must adapt, as Karen Gross writes in Thrive Global.

According to these transformations, what will change for teachers in Higher education" How will it change" What needs to be done" We asked Dr Kristin Palmer, Director of Online Programs at the University of Virginia (UVA).



The breaks in the system
"There are several breaks in the system that will be the big triggering of a change in teaching in Higher education," says Kristin Palmer. Institutions will shut down, students not finding jobs after having completed their master degree, a growing brain drains from Asian universities (notably South Korea, China and Japan). Indeed, it is estimated that more than
500 000 international students will be studying in China in 2020 (the country is already second in terms of international students getting a degree there behind the US). This general context has 3 consequences that schools have to take into account. "There is this argument that Higher education has three disparate goals" affirms Dr Palmer, "creating new knowledge, creating well-rounded individuals and creating people that can do jobs".

The thing is those goals aren't always interlocking well with one another. "It would be great for institutions to differentiate more upfront what goal they're after". By not declaring what speciality a school is focusing on, everything becomes general and because today, the majority of schools declare ensuring a holistic experience, mixing the three goals, which is much more difficult to ensure although possible, 1) students can't find themselves a path on the professional market and 2) many schools will have to shut down.

The Western Governor University well understood that, according to Kristin Palmer, and openly state that they help their students find a job. "If you're an adult learner and you're looking for a job, I don't see why you would go anywhere else than Western Governor" she affirms.


What is going to change

As it is more difficult today for a student to really stand out of the crowd to build himself a road to success, Palmer explains, they'll have to be even more responsible throughout their academic path toward the market.

This will have deep technological implications for teachers and schools who'll have to rethink the way they grade, the way they teach and the way they engage students using technological tools.

Finally, this technological and pedagogical change will then have even deeper impacts on schools organizational structures and the interactions between faculty. Moreover, the job of the teacher will become even more difficult as more and more elements will have to be considered in the scope of action of a teacher.

As Kristin Palmer notes, "the main challenges are the evolving responsibilities of faculty (research, teaching, mentoring, advising, grant writing, presenting, writing, collaborating with peers, understanding Edtech, tech help, understanding pedagogy, staying on top of news/social media, etc) and the rising adjunct faculty workforce (and the lack of stability, benefits and a living wage for those adjuncts)."

How it will change

Talking with Kristin about students and their learning experience is quite moving. She loves them and shows it.

"The University of Virginia is this place where" we have the coolest students on the planet. They're just super awesome kids that are going to change things in so many different fantastic ways" says Palmer.

But learning doesn't stop there according to Palmer. "It's not like you're never going to go to the university again, that's not the way the world works anymore, you have to constantly upskill and learning new things" she affirms.

"It's more going to be about a portfolio approach" she adds. Learners portfolios have to help them benchmark their learning situation in order to manage their professional path more easily and know what they'll need to update in order to still be on top of the market.

ePortfolios are a growing trend in Education, with several attempts commercialized already. We still need more intuitive solutions that would really simplify a life-long learning management platform.



Teaching

The same approach applies to educators. "There is a lot more demand on the future faculty members," says Dr Palmer. They'll have to provide effective ways to teach, assign and grade their students while continuing to mentor, research, write, attend conferences, be on top of social networks, know what is going on around.

"Being a jack of all trades is not going to work," she affirms. Schools and universities will have to make sure to hire people that have skills matching with their needs. And a portfolio approach is perfect in this case.

Pedagogical methods have to change also. According to Kristin Palmer, students don't learn the same way. We then must have to adapt to their personalities, which is nevertheless quite hard to process.

An inspiring example from Palmer was on a History professor at Virginia Tech, the archrival of UVA. "He has a thing where you can earn points from a hundred different assignments. He uses very different approaches thus to grading."

"He'll have his students pretend they are Angela Merkel or a world leader. They'll have to tweet for a week as this leader, know what they're doing right now, their challenges, the strategies etc."

Simulation, like role-playing, are very effective methods that should be used more as they fully engage the student in the learning process and into a problem-solving process that will greatly help them use and develop different skills to handle a project.


Technology

"What do you think about AI and teachers?" is a very simple but very effective question I like to ask in order to provoke debate or understand the viewpoint of an expert educator on the developing use of technology in Education. So I asked.

"We need to develop services to support teachers," affirms Kristin Palmer who said previously that teachers are wearing too many hats.

"AI definitely has a role in that, think about bots available 24h/7 that can help students find answers to their questions and understand the content. That's here now, just it's not adapted largely because most people don't know how the technology works."

Simulating situations via VR is also an effective way to engage students and create an immersive experience to learn concepts. Using the example of Ready Player One, Palmer defines the use of VR in classes this way: "I think wow! Maybe" But not now!" adding that "sometimes we should run from things, sometimes we should run to things."

Indeed, although it is used more and more to create great content, the affirmation of VR in schools still is a thing of tomorrow, not today. Moreover, its use is still too decentralized. Faculty and directions don't always share the same projects or the same opinion on one tech tool.

Nevertheless, some programs and courses are very much adapted to the use of these kinds of tools. There, we should run to it and use VR to for example "visit Pompeii's ruins and say let's do an assignment about that."

Finally, data " data! Talking about Learning analytics and the need to centralize data to better benchmark the needs from students, Kristin is all in, affirming that we should provide "faculty with best practices and access to electronic data security and confidentiality for research data. That way the faculty don't need to reinvent the wheel or start from zero but can leverage robust best practices. The trick then, of course, is making it easy for faculty to then FIND those resources when they need them!"


Organizational structure

To ensure this transformation of the learning environment, changing the organizational structure of schools is a must, says Palmer.

According to her faculty members have to wear more and more hats, as I previously explained.

"I would map out the different roles of the faculty and then work collaboratively to identify methods to support them in these different roles, focusing on where the faculty feel the most pain and where there is the most impact for students," says Dr Palmer.

UVA knows about this need for restructuration. "we are working to develop some centralized resources and processes for research so that there is more support for faculty in that area," she explains.

The future of teaching, she says, is the collaboration between tenured faculty members and non-tenured members. It's about helping each other across several fields of research so that the learning experience of students is continuous.

"For example, one faculty might focus on research and working with students in their lab and another faculty might focus on teaching and mentoring students," she explains.


Talking with Dr Palmer is enriching. Her views are critical, well thought as well as optimistic. Her knowledge and vision of tomorrow's Education and tomorrow's teaching, although coming from an American person, can be greatly inspiring for educators in other countries. Really.

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Why e-Assessment Helps to Focus on Learning.


Imagine students as a group of athletes who run and prepare for the Olympics.

Beautiful, vigorous athletes. But there's this thing, we don't really understand why but their trainers give them these weird shoes to train. Ski shoes. They tell them to run faster than Usain Bolt with these. Quite hard to do right?

Well, this is the problem with Education today. Many things have changed and innovation changes the style of Education but students still have these ski shoes, represented by paper-based exams. And consequences are many.

Apart from being a hassle for professors in terms of logistics and academic data management (in this I mean getting all the data compiled and visualized in one place), assessments and grades have more concerning impacts on students and learning.

According to some studies, due to social pressure and the need to get good grades to get higher-paying jobs, students tend to develop highly pressuring anxiousness and tend to focus only on their grades which, according to a study, tends to prioritize memorization over learning.

Worse, they tend to choose the easy path, that is, a diploma where they could get better grades and chances to find a job in the end. No more interest for real learning, for building expertise on what they love. And we push them to act like it.

Nice.

Thus we have a deeper problem here. There is no connection between learning and grades (and assessments). To answer this problem, new methods of assessments have been developed. Among these methods is the use of other forms of grading and assessment methods like engaging assessments, mastery-based learning or self-assessment teaching.

These innovative methods are invading the world of Education and are proven to be effective.

However, grades and assessments as we know them won't get out of the Higher education's horizon soon and it's not a bad thing.

Why they won't get out?

Simply because grading, in all its forms, helps to understand the competencies and masteries of a student on the labor market. That, we know.

Still, because there's a gap between learning and grades, the goal should be not to erase them, but rather to unite them.

We're getting there.

While new ways to grade and assess are rising and growing in importance, we still need an environment to make sense out of it, to manage these grades and integrate them into the learning process in order to help educators analyze them and improve the learning experience.

Hence, e-Assessments. These solutions are not new, on the contrary, they're quite ancient. They help you digitize your assessment processes, they optimize grading time, they propose secure environments.

Addressing these issues is interesting but e-Assessments are not really solving the problem and grew to be considered a slow and quite a crowded market?

It needs a little evolution.

Because e-Assessment in its core has everything to be that platform to manage to learn with grading, to manage the learning experience and keep an eye on competencies acquisition by students.

It lets professors manage competencies per test, lets them optimize their grading, manage their tests schedules.

Add to it scalable data visualization (student, group of students, class, program etc.) and that is how you make e-Assessment a tool to focus on learning using grades.

Add some spices, bring up tools to automatically give advice to students on their learning based on the grades they had.

Finally, make it adaptable to any kind of assessments, even self-assessments, and you have a platform adapted to today's students.

In France, there are debates about whether a digital education is relevant, whether tech in school is only a matter of "trendy thing". It is true that Education shouldn't be about tech.

Nevertheless, giving the chance to better educate and better managing learning through tech, now that's unavoidable!

That's a fact, according to our study on a hundred school deans and directors, 50% said digitizing their processes was unavoidable, 50% said it was urgent. 75% said using new assessment techniques was on their agenda, adding data management as a criterion they need to improve for learning.

e-Assessment is evolving and shows the opportunity to solve the grade/learning issue and give the right shoes to students in order to let them break records. We just need to give it a look and give it a try.

What do you think? What's your solution to solve the grading/learning issue?

Hey! Take a look at our new white paper on the problems with assessments and grading, we went deeper and analyzed the new ways to grade and assess students!

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AI vs Professors? What's gonna happen?

Anthony Seldon is a British education expert that made the buzz in late 2017 by declaring that in 2027 teachers will be replaced by AI, offering a rich analysis explaining that it will, but it also should happen this way. The analysis was published in many, many, many influential media, like the World Economic Forum. This declaration is aggressive and if you don’t read the article until the end, you’ll that understand teachers are kind of doomed. Which is complete nonsense?



Teachers will play a most important role for many years to come…

AI threatens a great number of jobs, it’s true. Up to 800 million according to McKinsey’s study, although those “in-the-process-to-be lost jobs” means also a whole lot of new ones will be created. Yes, some jobs are really threatened and will have to deeply change as this analysis shows(like for example financial analysts, doctors, drivers etc.). Pedagogy is out of this spectrum as it consists of a human relationships activity based on social skills. As it is depicted in Sapiens, written by History professor Yuval Noah Harari, what makes us humans is our capacity to tell stories, construct realities, to develop intersubjectivity. The latter is the basis of education but just can’t be mastered by AI.

AI are thousands of times behind what we can achieve, they are tools, not emotionally sensitive and empathetic persons. And I’m not even talking about the current stage of development of AI which is… well, we’re only at the beginning of it. Teachers not only will play a crucial role in tomorrow’s society, but their profession will be highly exciting. NEVERTHELESS! It doesn’t mean technology will not play a role in the development of this profession, on the contrary...



AI will only help teachers focus on what matters

If you go further into Seldon’s study, you will find some more interesting points. Notably, the development of AI as professors’ assistants. There lies what will 1. improve learning and 2. will make the profession of teaching more exciting than ever.

Why?

Teachers spend too much time on tasks that haven’t got a significant added value. Creating exams, marking them, managing the flow of documents and organizing logistics during exam sessions currently isn’t really impactful in the learning process. These are unintegrated or unable-to-be-integrated tasks in the learning process, having thus little use for the core of the subject: pedagogy innovation.

That’s where an AI assistant solves this problem. How?

  • By clarifying situations through data collection and visualisation (also called Learning analytics solutions or Multimodal Learning analytics), thus helping teachers understand better how to guide their students through their work.

  • By automating marking, thus letting teachers the pleasure to comment and to communicate with students on how to improve.

  • By facilitating exam creation

  • Finally, by helping them automate all the administrative tasks that take time.

That’s notably what Rose Luckin, a professor at the University College London Knowledge Lab, affirmed in a 2017 study. Helping professors in their tasks and giving them more time to analyze and improve their learning content should be the main mission of AI in Education.

Inevitably, it would also greatly help solving the shortage of professors worldwide and promote the profession as an exciting, entrepreneurial adventure with learning.



AI will NEVER replace teachers

In any case, digital can’t compete with human brains and human relationships, period. Interviewed by the media Futurism, Rose Luckin declared: “I do not believe that any robot can fulfil the wide range of tasks that a human teacher completes on a daily basis, nor do I believe that any robot will develop the vast repertoire of skills and abilities that a human teacher possesses”.

Take these simple facts:

  • Paul Reber, professor of psychology at Northwestern University declared that “Human brain storage capacity is virtually unlimited and doesn’t get used up”

  • George Dvorsky, a senior reporter at Gizmodo, a media specialized in new technologies, affirmed that brain’s memory capacity is a quadrillion, or 10, bytes. Astoundingly, this is about the same amount needed to store the entire internet!

  • Terrence Sejnowski, Salk Institute professor declared “We discovered the key to unlocking the design principle for how hippocampal neurons function with low energy but high computation power. Our new measurements of the brain’s memory capacity increase conservative estimates by a factor of 10 to at least a petabyte, in the same ballpark as the World Wide Web.” This recent discovery revolutionized the way we thought about human brains and it’s just the beginning.

Apart from this, just like the McKinsey report stated, jobs implicating human skills are going to be the most demanding and the most needed. Yes, the job of professor will change deeply. No, AI will NEVER replace teachers, on the contrary, it will empower them!

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Our Top Learning Content and Blogs to Follow For This Late Summer A RELIRE

Summer is about relaxing, of course. It's also a great moment to get inspired for Back-to-school and fill yourself with ideas you'll use to innovate in your pedagogy. You know, be prepared to impress them like never before.

For this purpose, we found for you some great learning content and blogs you should follow to get that most wanted inspiration. Some are directly related to Education some are not.

We selected them because of their format, because of the content they offer and the ideas they share.

Here we go!

Nerdwriter

This is Evan Puschak, the Nerdwriter. He does magnificent video essays on several subjects going from political and economic analysis to film and art analysis.

His videos became so popular that his editing style influenced many, many, many Youtube essayists..

Apart from delivering interesting learning content on so many subjects, Puschak is inspiring for a teacher who wants to innovate and propose other formats of assignments or projects to his students.

We wrote here a study on video essays and how it is a powerful tool for Education.



Don Wettrick's StartEdUp Innovation

Now, this is Don Wettrick. His pedagogical approach is totally innovating, disrupting, incredible.

Wettrick is proposing very promising methods of assessments, grading and students' self-development. So much that it turns Education upside down.

You must follow his blog here and vlog here and here.

We wrote another study about his methods, notably the ROTH Ira process he uses with his students that kind of resembles Growth hacking.

Believe us when we say this man helps students exploit their full potential, master skills and become experts, activists or entrepreneurs in various domains.

It's just impressive and inspiring. There's nothing better for teachers than watching examples like this.



Cult of Pedagogy

This blog is like a cave full of treasures. Founder and Editor in Chief of the blog Jennifer Gonzalez (that' her below) gives with her co-authors passionate and resourceful insights and interviews on Education's most interesting innovation as its most alarming issues.

Jennifer Gonzalez is a gem for every teacher, education innovator or student who wants to go further, to know more about what's going on in the alternative side of Education.

Her interviews gather true entrepreneurs of learning who experiment learning techniques with their students and met success. Gonzalez's (and the other writers of this blog of course) interviews and reports will inspire you to act as soon as possible. Simple, just subscribe to Cult of Pedagogy.

Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss is kind of a growth hacker, master of processing things in order to accelerate learning.

To summarize his accomplishments, apart from launching successful businesses and investing, he wrote several bestseller books and became a Chinese kickboxing champion, among other things, using accelerated learning techniques.

We really recommend you to follow his blog, you will find interesting methods you could try to implement with your students.

Accelerated learning is an incredible domain that everyone should study.



Vox and Vox - Borders

Vox videos and blog offer a superb analysis of current affairs and many diverse subjects (like the (Mostly) true story of hobo graffiti you will definitely learn something great here). Vox is a media that investigate a lot and that try to go deeper than the rest.

The Vox - Borders subchannel is (for us) even more interesting as the Emmy-nominated journalist Johnny Harris (below, swimming between Haïti and the Dominican Republic) goes at borders between two countries and analyses the geopolitical situation (cultural, social, economic, etc.) and its impact on the culture and the day-to-day life of people.

This learning content is a resource and a blog you should use to try to innovate or to propose new sources of knowledge and discussion in class with students, as well as new formats of assignments and group projects.

There are many other content and resources you should take a look at, but these ones just slapped us in the face. We leave you pleasure to take a look at them and enjoy this late Summer period.

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Here's our Top 5 Learning analytics tools

Learning analytics is a vast, vast area in which we find very different tools accomplishing very different tasks. Still, they can be considered as Learning analytics solutions.

Let's remind ourselves that Learning analytics is the application of data collection, analytics, measurement and reporting to Education with the goal of improving and optimizing learning and learning environment for students.

I'd like to stress the word "optimizing" because this is the final goal of this sort of solutions: making teachers' lives easier to help focus on what matters the most, students and learning improvement.

So here's the list of 5 Edtech-Learning analytics-tools that will greatly optimize your workload and in the end, help students progress.



1. Yet analytics

Yet Analytics is in some sort one of the most complete Learning Record Store/ Data visualization tools on the market. Using xAPI to develop its platform, Yet provide a whole lot of different visual analytics to help you improve your learning content and help your students learn as well as possible.

  • Yet provides insightful analytics on talent development, role readiness and career pathing

  • It provides rich engagement analytics through different learning ecosystems

  • It provides precise predictive analytics solutions


2. Wooclap

I previously introduced Wooclap in this post. The audience response system app is one of the best tool to improve in-class students' engagement. The Belgian startup proved they could greatly improve students' learning via their playful system of in-class quizzes app. All thanks to students' smartphones. The fact of the matter is that this app is also a Learning analytics tool. Why?

  • They provide analytics to professors. Indeed, they can easily check who responded to what and how much time they took to answer.

  • They provide a feedback wall so that students can communicate (during the course and after) to their professors and tell them what part of the course was difficult to understand, or which part was great etc. Thus, it's a great qualitative data provider.


3. Bright Bytes

BrightBytes provides a SaaS-based data analytics platform focusing on four basic frameworks that measure the effects of technology in a school.
  • Their analytics tool lets you evaluate how teachers and students use technology for learning.

  • It studies the availability of devices and Internet access throughout the school and at home.

  • It measures the skill levels of teachers and students with multimedia.

  • It evaluates the school culture, professional development, and technology needs across the organization.

    Part of 2018's learning analytics tools watchlist, BrightBytes is a great solution to match your needs with the tools you use.


4. Clever

Clever is one the US most growing startup in Edtech right now. Providing a single sign-on tool to students and teachers in order to navigate between all software and learning resources (among other products), Clever recently launched Goals.

First, Goals tool lets teachers set objectives for each of their students like activities to do, resources to use and so on. Then, it lets professors track the progress of their students with accuracy (students can follow their progress too).

Although data analytics with Clever don't go as far as Yet analytics, for example, it is still a very interesting solution to assist students in their learning process and to check their personal engagement with learning resources.



5. Knewton

Knewton is an impressive US startup providing a platform that aims at facilitating adaptive learning through data analysis.

By analyzing real-time performance data of students, Knewton Alta, its higher ed solution, helps professors adapt their courses to each of their students and track their progress. Knewton provides also its own verified online courses that will automatically adapt to students' progress.

Finally, Knewton provides a complete Learning analytics solution for enterprises, focusing on the best data and insights to help educators adapt and improve their content according to learners' needs. Knewton is already quite famous, but their continuous improvement is just fantastic.

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The French National School of Administration (ENA) now uses TestWe!
From June 22nd to 25th, the French national school of administration (ENA) let their learners take their Law and Public Finance exams in order to prepare them for the classification tests.

ENA is a prestigious French institution that prepares since 1945 their students to become top national administrators, in France and in other countries.

The school thus decided to use TestWe in the context of a growing digitalisation of the French Education. Using the solution in this context is also taking the opportunity to modernise its evaluation methods and processes!
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Is it the beginning of the end for Standardized tests?

More and more universities (ex: Yale, Columbia) in the US are dropping standardized tests as a requirement in students' applications, making them optional. The reason is those top US universities until today had very low acceptance rates while students complained about the costs of required standardized tests like ACT or SAT. The results were that although few students (fewer than 10% of applicants) were admitted into the universities of their choice, many others just spent money on being refused in the end. Without entering higher education, learners are thus already spitting money.

Nevertheless, there's a deeper problem to that. One test, or even a few tests, should absolutely not rule them all. As James G. Nondorf, UChicago's dean of admissions and financial aid told the Washington Post, "Testing is not the be-all and end-all". Indeed, when we think of these types of tests, one word comes out: scary. One test should not be able to determine the whole future of a learner.



The Problems of Standardized tests

Exam phobia is a real thing everywhere in the world. The thing is that scaring students is not the best way to help them prove they deserve to be admitted in the university of their choice, universities may miss the best students because of a simple test and that is unfortunate.

Making standardized tests optional and prioritizing more diversified tests, continuous assessments and skill tracking show that, according to universities, assessments are a key element in adaptive learning, something we just did not think of up until today (well at TestWe we did of course). More than performance, they focus on integrating assessments in the learning process.



e-Exams are an opportunity to better assess students

While standardized tests are made optional, asking ourselves how we could make exams less scary and more able to spot "golden brains" from every background is the right thing to do.

But pushing this idea further is also crucial. It's time to make exams more than just performance indicators. It's time to give exams the tools we need to better follow students, the way they learn and how we can better help them reach their goals. Better assessments benefit everyone and encourage active learning. And for this, e-Exams are the answer. By giving professors the way to facilitate their insights, by optimizing their time to improve their learning content (exam creation/ exam grading), e-Exams help them get what matters in assessments: how a student is doing and what could professors improve. Concerning standardized admission tests, e-Exams are also very useful and for certain reasons:

  • Because they drastically reduce logistics, creation & grading time, e-Exams reduce the costs of assessment, reducing in the end students' spendings

  • Grading automation or easy grading tools accelerate admission processes

  • The secure environment provided by e-Exam solutions offer more flexibility to applicants that can stay at home while taking the assessments
Learn more about e-Exams here.



So: the end of standardized tests?

Making standardized tests optional for more flexible, accurate and adapted tests that show more a student's skills is making more top education opened to students from many backgrounds and giving them equal chance to develop their thirst for knowledge and skills.

But wait! It doesn't mean we should stop standardized tests, it's more about rethinking them. Because, anyway, tests like ACT or SAT are "too big to fail". Nevertheless, there is definitely a need to lower their importance, lowering thus extreme stress rates from applicants.

Assessments are like a construction site. We understood the problems it represented and, right now, many interesting opportunities, like e-Exams, are popping up. We are slowly integrating tests into the learning process, making them less and less standardized, more and more adapted.

So is it the end of standardized tests? It's not the end, it's not even the beginning of the end. But perhaps the end of the beginning.

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Close the loop effectively. Get accredited without hassle.

Accreditations like AACSB or EQUIS are the keys to access the club of the world's most prestigious schools in Higher Education. No need to say these accreditations are expensive, exhaustive and require drastic transformations of a school's processes and organization. Getting them, renewing them and entertain continuous improvement can be a real hassle.

First thing first, it is important to understand what accreditations like AACSB clearly ask for:
  • They want data-backed (quantitative & qualitative) decisions
  • Rapid execution and testing
  • Constant feedback
  • A focus on how students learn
  • A culture of innovation

You probably know that the goal of getting accredited is to open a loop of continuous improvement that you'll be able to close and continue to improve if the committees of the accreditation decide that you nailed it. What they want to you to do is to ensure them that students are learning well. That's Assurance of Learning (AoL).

As the process of accreditation is tough!


AACSB is first about reading and understanding it

Understanding the organization, its values and processes are not that hard. There's a whole library of documents that just wait to be read. Nevertheless, it's complicated to understand but it's the best thing to do before applying to the accreditation.

It is about integrating EVERYONE in the process

Often, the complexity of the accreditation process pushes accreditation and school managers to isolate themselves in a high tower trying to sort out a way of getting things done. First and definitive mistake. AACSB, like other labels, is a matter of teamwork. Everyone must be on the same page, from the top management of the school to the students themselves. How?

  • By forming the school management and the faculty to learning optimization
  • By forming teachers and faculty to innovative solutions to give them autonomy
  • By calling students to rally around the flag and motivating them to take initiatives, from entrepreneurship to student life projects

Basically, it means telling everyone what's going to happen and why it's good.

It is about managing a team!

Calling everyone for participation is great. Organizing each group and process actions is even greater. The goal is thus to plan and attribute roles and problem-solving methods between all the actors. But hey! You’re not alone. Never forget it. Mentors and committees are here to help you carry this out thanks to their pragmatic experience.

Organization and processes to adopt vary a lot according to schools and their cultures. Nevertheless, adopting an organization and processes based on constant communication and rapid execution between groups is crucial.

For example, you can do:

  • A first analysis of the state of the school according to the criteria, goals, given by AACSB (or another accreditation) and a benchmarking of all issues or things to improve. That's opening the loop.
  • Prioritize your goals and communicate them to the faculty and professors, assign them roles and goals per program.
  • Communicate with your Data analytics department (if you have one or do it yourself) a data collection and analysis process (we’re talking about Learning Analytics). Decide which data you’ll record to follow the evolution towards the achievement of your goals. That's the innovative management part of the loop.
  • Professors must be formed with the platforms if they’re not already, you’ll use to follow data and feedback. They must organize their courses according to the goals you prioritized and communicate them to students in their syllabi, learning goals, learning objectives and learning outcomes and in any other ways possible. Let them be creative.

    - Their results will show up through data and feedback they get from students.
    - Then, do a regular follow-up to add qualitative feedback and ideas on how to improve your learning processes. That's the pedagogic innovation part of the loop.

  • Call for initiatives and projects from students to let them be active in continuous learning improvement. Remember, letting them engage and produce knowledge and innovation is ensuring they learn and are prepared for their present or future projects. Most importantly, by letting them do, you give impact to your school, you get access to more qualitative and quantitative data, you're being innovative, you ensure your AoL.

    - Then, do regular follow-up to add qualitative feedbacks and ideas on how to improve your learning processes. That's, again, the pedagogic innovation part of the loop.

Process this organization and cleanly close the loop, you're ready to be an accredited, top innovative institution!

Get a learning optimization process

Take a look at this process. Part Design thinking, part Growth hacking, we adapted it to learning processes. The goal is to quickly operate tests and changes following feedbacks from professors or students, thus you can easily accelerate your accreditation process and improvement cycles.

Learn more about learning optimization here.

Finally, hear what your mentor has to say. This one seems super easy but still is crucial. Mentors are here to help you get that accreditation. Plus, the school he or she comes from already is, so they know how to do it.

TestWe helps you optimize your learning processes!

Closing the loop means entering constant optimization and improvement of your learning processes. Whether you're applying for an accreditation like AACSB or if you're already accredited, TestWe helps you optimize learning.

First, because we offer a solution that let's collect, store, analyse and report one of the most precious data you need to benchmark your AoL and continuous improvement: academic data. Simply put, to get or renew easily your accreditation. That solution is e-Exam.

By digitizing your exam processes, we do not only save you time for your exam creation or exam grading. We do not only let your students take their exams on their own laptop or tablet in a secure way. We let you have access to their academic data reports through a data visualisation tool, facilitating thus analysis.

By inputting learning outcomes, learning goals and objectives as well as professors qualitative feedback on each of the students' assessments, we help you track their skills acquisition, thus facilitating learning processes improvement.

Want to know more? Sure, take a look at this white paper, you'll find other tips and testimonies from accredited schools.

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6 steps to digitize your tests and all its process

Intro

e-Exams are among the top 7 trends of Edtech this 2018. More than simply digitizing the exams you give to your students, more than making them pass the exams on their laptops, it is about improving learning and simplifying exam creation, grading and taking for everyone.

How does it improve learning? By offering the tools to the professors of your institution that will help them make better exams, more often and implement a better skill follow-up of their students.

Then, add learning analytics tools to an e-Exam solution, you’ll understand why some students have difficulties, why they succeed, if there’s a problem coming from course content, you’ll even predict which type of exam would be more adapted to the students.

e-Exams are key to the implementation of continuous improvement in universities, corporate universities, business schools, any type of educational institution!

Choosing e-Exam is right. But implementing an e-Exam solution can be difficult as previously said (lien vers précédent article). To be sure you’ll get it right, they’re 6 steps you must follow.




1. Everyone must know what an e-Exam is, even though they’re not testing it yet

Communicate

Changing your assessment processes is as crucial as being accredited. You need everyone to know what it is and what are the consequences. Don’t worry it’s not as complicated as an accreditation process. Nevertheless, it changes the way your institution works whether we talk about instructors, students or the administration.

Plan

Once everyone is aware of the coming changes, plan the adoption of the solution. How are you going to test the solution, who are going to test it?

Process

Map your processes. Assign roles to exam creation, grading, who’s going to proctor during exams, who’s going to analyze results? How will get feedback and from whom?



2. Don’t be scared by conservatism, it takes a little time to change habits

Be sure of it, you’ll receive bad reviews from a certain number of people due to the change of habits or due to misunderstandings or simply because they don’t like it.

It’s normal, it takes a little time before everyone an e-Exam solution. We calculated that after 3-5 tests/ exams, the large majority of an institution adopt the solution.

In the case of schools (higher education), we found that the most conservative population would be a minority of professors having difficulties using digital tools. The reject expressed was, in fact, a consequence of a lack of formation.


3. If you can test it on a language course first…

Language learning is the best kind, of course, you can run tests on, using e-Exam solutions. The obvious reasons are that:

  • classes are generally smaller, which facilitates the adoption from students and the collection of their feedbacks
  • students in language classes must take a lot of tests, from simple MCQs to writing and oral expression assessments
  • you’ll thus have results fast and be sure you can go to next phase

4. Then on a Program, before implementing it to your whole school

Implementing an e-Exam solution to a whole program is the next phase. Nevertheless, do not target a program because it’s “short”. Here you must test it on a program on which you can measure improvement from your students and professors.


5. Ask for support

You can’t be alone, ask regularly support to the people who brought you the solution. They know the solution better than you do. And generally, it is notably for us, support, meetings and formations are included in the services. Use that help to better use and personalize the solution according to your needs.


6. Make sure you have constant feedback to benchmark the evolution

Students and professors feedbacks are extremely precious in order to entertain a continuous improvement of your learning quality. How can you improve e-Exams, how can you better understand your students and professors needs without feedbacks? Must you change of digital provider? Must you focus on Learning Analytics? Try to get as much feedback as possible.



If you follow these steps, first you’ll ensure a scalable improvement of the quality of your learning processes. Second, you’ll ensure that your students learn better. But hey! We’re here to help you too!

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Roleplaying games are great for learning. Here's why.

At the WTO event in 2018, Alibaba CEO Jack Ma said something that must be understood, “to compete with machines we cannot teach knowledge” as we find it everywhere now. By telling “we have to teach something human, unique, so that machines cannot catch up with us”, Jack Ma points at “soft skills” and “values” like creativity, empathy, art, critical thinking etc.

As we were jumping on the tables when we watched this video, we found out that role-playing games were one of the tools that could be used to learn, at any age, these soft skills.

Role-playing games?

People understand role-playing games (RPGs) as being the good old Dungeons and Dragons to which friends played at, helped by heavy guides on how the environment works and which weapon can help you defeat this or that monster.

It’s true, this super-successful game changed the entire generations. But RPGs can be more than fantasy stories based on guidelines. They can be more opened to … personalized stories.

Forget about board games. What about role-playing games as stories you write from your own imagination?

How does it work?

First, you need to have a bit of imagination, writing skills and structures to think and write your story.

Then you have to set up the rules of your game, of its world, some music, some illustrations of your story’s characters etc.

Finally, you need people to take part in the story as characters. If you don’t have any that are motivated, go online. A move that can find its success.

For example, the recent very promising TV Show The Expanse has been written as an online role-playing game, on an online forum ...

Several benefits are worth noting with writing role-playing stories. In terms of personal, collective, professional, and education improvement. Role-playing games are in fact really good methods to use in order to improve and learn better! We found three benefits.

1. Writing stories ignites your creativity

Apart from playing the game, writing it is awesomely good for inspiration as you project yourself in a world. You train yourself to imagine it as clearly as possible. By that we mean its environment, the complexity of its characters and its socio-economic structure or the freedom of action players will be able to have once they enter your world.

By structuring the mechanics, cultures and systems of the world, you go a step further and enter a continuous problem-solving phase. How can people travel across this world? What can players learn in this city or through this sub-adventure? How to build a twist? These are the kind of questions that will keep you, story creators, awake at night.

It doesn’t stop there. Creating your own stories has influences on your day-to-day life. You become more open to new ideas and better organized at work or in your personal projects.


2. Setting up your world makes you better at storytelling

The goal of role-playing games isn’t just writing a story. Nor is it to be read by people. It’s rather meant to be played by people.

So you better train at developing strong storytelling skills. Players must adapt to their characters and be inspired by them. They must listen to your words to see themselves where you say they are. And it’s not just about words. The music you chose to frame a particular moment or the setting of the room the participants are in is so important to make your story become a collective journey of the mind into another world. Kind of like the movie Inception: a trip into a dream.

Storytelling is so important in every way, every aspect of our society whether it is in career. We could give quotes ranging from David Ogilvy to ancient amerindian tribes that tells the importance of storytelling in our society.

3. Collective playing improves empathy and cooperation

It certainly seems naive but it’s not. At TestWe, we personally tried several role-playing games.

Although teams were a bit messy and uncoordinated at first, throughout the episodes we listened to each other and understood each other better and finally succeeded at solving the game’s problems. We had a great time together and it resulted in better cooperation between the team members of the family!

Listening to each other is the first step toward empathy and ensuring a great cooperation between people. A quality that definitely needs to be mastered today to evolve professionally and personally.


Overall, role-playing games are a great way to learn that should be used more for students

Whether it is you writing the story or others playing it, role-playing games help you learn values, soft skills as Jack Ma called for a new form of education. It should be applied to course activities. How so?

First, because it’s fun. Fun creates engagement and improves learning.

Second, because you learn by living the adventure. By creating sociocultural environments in your story, by talking about economics, history, politics, physics, many topics that can be based on real facts, it can ignite curiosity and learning easier for your students.

Third, because it’s a social game and as we wrote before about social activities was that they helped learn respect and understanding of others. But also critical thinking as we learn to articulate our thinking and our propositions to the group in order to make a step further into the adventure, we learn not to rush into a trap just because we’re tilted. A key element to develop for future leaders and innovators.

And you what do you think? Have you ever tested roleplaying games?

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Why do we learn so much from video essays?

In a previous article, we told you about our 10 apps and platforms we used to learn and among these was Youtube.

Youtube not only made a platform that lets people share videos from everywhere around the world on a particular topic, it also made knowledge totally, mind-blowingly exciting.

And there's a specific area that has been transformed and adapted to our new ways of behaving with learning. Essays. According to Collins Dictionary, an essay is a short piece of writing on one particular subject written by a student, writer or journalist.

As Meghan Daum said: "The point of essays is the point of writing anything. It's not to tell people what they already think or to give them more of what they already believe; it's to challenge people, and it's to suggest alternate ways of thinking about things."

Adapting essays to today's sauce and to Youtube, you find video essays. And these are not unsuccessful on the contrary.

As Christy Wampole tells in the New York Times: "It seems that, even in the proliferation of new forms of writing and communication before us, the essay has become a talisman of our times."

This is just true. Watching videos essays give you thrills, excitement and let you meditate on questions you want to elucidate. Watching them, in a way, shapes a path through which we never stop learning.

But why? Why do we learn so much from video essays? Well, video essays are essays. And both have the same benefits.

They aren't giving any concrete and absolute answers to a question so it changes a lot from the Manichean environment we usually live in and from dogmas imposed at schools.

They shape our critical mind by pushing ourselves on the quest for truth or for answers. We dig in many different sources that train us to filtrate the info we receive to fashion our way of thinking.

Finally, essays are great because they're "essais", authors try to meditate or solve questions and do not impose their way. It is a discussion that is launched between the author and the reader and we love, even more, millennials and younger ones, being integrated into projects and quests.

But how do video essays differ from classical ones? First, because they are video. And videos, you know that as we do, is a media format that is particularly adapted to our tool in our quest for knowledge, Internet. Stats are here: it is projected that in 2019, 80% of all web traffic will be claimed by video. What do you want? Videos excite us like a kid looking at Christmas presents?

En quoi les vidéos ajoutent un plus à l'essai écrit ? Bon déjà ce sont des vidéos. Un format très adapté à l'apprentissage et à notre utilisation d'Internet. Les stats sont là, il est prédit qu'en 2019 plus de 80% des contenus et traffics sur le web seront captés par la vidéo. Que voulez-vous ? Pour nous, regarder une vidéo c'est comme être un enfant découvrant ses cadeaux de Noël... Then, video essays are maybe more effective than written ones. As Digital marketing expert James McQuivey estimates that a single minute of video content is the equivalent of 1.8 million words. Indeed, mastering visuals and sound create a whole environment around your arguments that help people understand more and focus more on the content of a video. And it is delightful!

Nerdwriter1, through his investigations of certain themes through movies, books, music or even political and mediatic events, delivers an argumentation punctuated with gorgeous visuals and music that rhythm his dialogue with us.

The essay here becomes a true art that makes us want to walk the same path. The eloquence and beauty of how arguments are put in place are very important to provoke curiosity from the reader/ viewer. Steven Fry said that "a true thing poorly expressed is a lie" and there it is quite matching.

The attention to details underlined in video essays make it a very much interesting way to diversify learning and deepen curiosity and engagement from students and teachers in specific subjects.


As Christy Wampole said, there is an "essayification" of everything. Mastering it seems more and more to be a factor of influence and traction, particularly through the Internet web. Notably, more and more online tools are making video and written essays easier to produce and communicate, like Medium, the famous platform that let people write and share stories.

Aren't you curious about how it will develop and how video essays (like the one we talked about but also the making of it) will be integrated into e-Learning or blended learning? We definitely are...

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eSport unrolls its red carpet into Education

1.1 billion dollars, that's what the eSport industry will represent next year. Understandable when you realize it attracts millions of fans around its exciting and engaging games and champions. From the epic adventures of World of Warcraft (Blizzard) to dynamic and strategic face-to-face team fights of League of Legends (Riot Games), it hasn't been that difficult for these entertaining games to become worldwide watched fights into arenas where "wows" and cheers resonate in stadiums and where athletes display show incredible intellectual and team management skills.

Without talking about gamers, eSport gathers today an audience of approximately 300 million people, nearly the size of the US population. Not bad for only a decade of existence. The game becomes now something else, an industry that includes marketing, management, innovation, media, betting. And now eSports unrolls its red carpet into the education world.

Indeed, in the US for example, more and more universities create their own teams and academic programs concerning gaming but also marketing of eSport, management, communication, project management, game development etc. For example, the University of California at Irvine is the first public university that took the decision to welcome eSport in its education programs and decided to build a beautiful gaming hall for its students, thanks notably to donations from Riot Games and others. The results are obvious: universities that propose eSport programs like UCI rapidly see growth in terms of applications. The same case can be seen in China with schools like Hunan Sports Vocational College or in the UK with universities like Staffordshire.

Introduction of eSport in education comes at a day when we can observe a trend of gamification and innovation into pedagogy. Effects are numerous.

  • Strategic games like League of Legends or DOTA have real positive impacts on analytics, team management and organization skills.
  • adoption of technology and gamification of education facilitates learning.

In a way, eSport adds up to the Edtech family and offers a beautiful perspective to game lovers but also to students, professors, school administrations and entrepreneurs. It is interesting to see what impact games will have on education and higher education in the mid term and long term. How will it change our approach to education and learning? How grading methods will change according to the change in learning supports? Wait and see...