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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.

Read more

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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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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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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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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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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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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!