Written by: Melissa McBride (Sophia’s CEO/Cofounder)
Assessments. It is a word that can cause shivers down the spine of parents around the world and cause undue stress and mental anguish to both children and parents alike.
What do they mean, why do they matter and how do we interpret the results in order to support our children? A common measure of learning outcomes with regards to attainment and progress in schools, parents are often left in the dark by the educational institutions who deliver them. Yet parents are a crucial part of the learning process, in particular with a triangulation of power approach to supporting student learning and ensuring high quality learning outcomes.
With the rise of homeschooling, online education and blended learning programmes sparked by COVID-19, parents are now firmly placed within this triangle of power as a crucial factor in ensuring that children have the support they need to make progress in line with their potential. As educators, we can no longer keep parents in the dark and must focus on open and transparent assessment and reporting conversations with parents.
Technology continues to instigate an arguably much-needed paradigm shift in education, as online learning replaces traditional classroom pedagogy and is becoming not only the norm but the future of education. Educators are always finding ways to improve learning outcomes in students. Intelligent AI and learning analytics presents a future for education that puts the nature of learning and assessment at the forefront of the EdTech landscape.
No longer will the success of Educational Technology ventures be simply based upon user numbers, user revenue or previous fundraising capacity. A new era is upon us whereby the ability to qualify and quantify the impact of the Edtech experience offered by a platform in driving quality learning outcomes for students will be a driving force in separating a powerful cohort of educational leaders in the sector from a sector of simply business focused enterprises.
Traditional approaches to assessment and learning measurement of student outcomes are becoming increasingly obsolete as online learning in education makes way for more formative performance-based assessment through personalised learning approaches, opportunities for immediate feedback and student-focused guidance that is individualised to the learning needs of each student.
EdTech is paving the way for educators to be able to monitor student learning in real time and take focused and corrective actions to improve understanding, inform planning and support student learning outcomes, faster than ever before possible in traditional classroom settings.
Online quizzes to gauge understanding during live lessons through the use of apps like Kahoot, games-based learning and integration of AI to enhance learning and provide personalised learning maps, focused content to individual students and integrated assessments are all examples of learning analytics which provide immediate student data that educators can use for feedback, effective decision-making and planning. Mapped to curriculum objectives, these tools help educators to continually review next steps in order to offer meaningful feedback to students and increase the understanding of student attainment and progress.
Educators are able to analyse learner data from online learning content and personalised modules in order to optimise the learning experience, which not only improves insights on learning but improves the overall content and quality of the learning. Individualised interventions are possible in the form of extra support and guidance which ensures trusted, learner centred relationships are formed and students are encouraged to take control of their learning, even from a young age.
As the future of EdTech shines bright in the COVID and post COVID era, what is sure to define the lead players of tomorrow and rise of new ‘unicorns’ in the sector is a shift from purely content focused curriculum platforms to those who imagine a new way to view education, driven by data, evidence and high quality learning outcomes for students. This new era of a competency-based experience in online education will give rise to new start-ups who leverage machine based learning and predictive modelling which transform as part of their wider educational platforms thus transforming the EdTech landscape. This is Education Reimagined.