Tag Archives: Learning Impact

The future of education services for schools is in workflow

How will artificial intelligence impact K-12 teachers?

This week McKinsey published a new report addressing the question of how AI will impact K-12 teachers.  The research suggests that 20-40% of current teacher time comprises tasks that could be automated. They estimate that teachers could re-direct approximately 13 hours per week towards activities that raise student outcomes and increase teacher satisfaction.  The tasks of preparing lessons, administration, evaluation and feedback are flagged as high potential for automation.

Be selective

These results echo those of last year’s Learning Impact Survey of Sanoma, in which teachers indicated a desire to go digital in those areas which were most labour intensive, flagging essentially the same areas.  This suggests that not only is the opportunity in these tasks but that the profession is also ready for solutions.

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Teaching profession under pressure

The teacher is by far the most positive intervention in education.  However the teaching profession faces significant challenges.  UNESCO estimates an additional 69m teachers need to enter the profession by 2030 to fulfil global demand.  In some parts of the world, teacher turnover is high, for example in parts of the USA annual teacher turnover reaches 16%.  In the UK 81% of teachers are considering leaving the profession due to dis-satisfaction.

Higher impact & happier teachers needed!

Furthermore, on average teachers spend only half of their time actually teaching.  This represents not only lost productivity from the core task but is also demotivating for many teachers whose passion is to teach rather than the ancillary tasks around it.  Enabling teacher workflow could therefore not only increase productivity but also make the profession more attractive.

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$400bn impact & opportunity

Make no mistake, the opportunity to solve this productivity gap is huge.  Measured in terms of financials, assuming global spending on education to be some $6trn, of which 45% is on K-12 education,  and of which 75% is spent on staff salaries, this implies a global spend on teaching/staff salaries of some $2trn per year.  A 20-40% uplift in productivity through AI could arguably be worth some $400-800bn per year in terms of paid and unpaid output!  Which is not to say that this is a saving governments could make or a revenue that education companies could earn, because a significant slice of that value should rightfully return to teachers through higher salaries and quality of life, and another part would rightfully get re-directed to teacher-student interaction to increase outcomes and professional satisfaction.

20%

 

Help the teacher to focus on teaching!

Nevertheless, it’s my belief that the teacher will continue to be the killer app in education, and that the biggest opportunity to make not only a positive impact on learning and teaching in K-12 but also to build a successful business, is to enable the workflow of the teacher.   Probably by combining it with the other side of the same coin: the learn-flow of the pupil.  What other opportunities at this scale of potential impact are possible in K-12 within the next 5 years?

Teachers value blended learning

In 2018, we carried out our SLIF survey (Sanoma Learning Impact Framework) for the fourth time. In total 7594 teachers answered the online survey, which was carried out in all our markets: Belgium, Finland, The Netherlands, Poland, and Sweden. The main purpose of SLIF is to investigate the impact of published materials on learning. This time we focused on blended learning materials.

We are happy to observe that digital materials are gaining ground in learning. The most important benefit of digital according to teachers is engagement. 68% of the survey respondents felt that digital materials are more engaging for their pupils/students than printed materials. This is easy to believe: for example Bingel with its visually appealing avatar characters which the pupils can adapt with pingping they earn from doing exercises has proved to be very engaging and motivating.

Ultimately we want to offer learning materials that lead to improved learning outcomes. When we asked which factors have the highest influence on learning outcomes, engagement was mentioned as the most important factor, followed by variation in learning activities, individual coaching, and timely feedback to pupils.

It is worth noting that the second most important factor, variation in learning activities, was also considered as something which is better achieved in the blended model. 64% of respondents thought that digital learning materials are better for providing variation than print materials. Again, this is easy to understand. Digital learning materials include video, audio, animations, interactive exercises, instant feedback, and other features obviously missing from printed materials.

Figure 1 summarizes nicely the teachers’ attitude towards digital learning materials. We can see that only 27% of teachers use only printed materials. Whilst it is significantly more than the amount of teachers using only digital materials (3%), we can see that the majority of teachers are somewhere in between, adopting the blended learning approach: 17% apply half digital / half print approach, and 44% primarily print with some digital components.

Figure 1

Figure 1. Teachers would like to use more digital learning materials

It’s interesting to compare the current state of teachers’ materials with their ideal situation. At the moment 17% of the teachers use half digital / half print materials. However, 38% would prefer to have this combination. The difference in print-only teaching is even more pronounced with 27% of teachers currently teaching with print only, but a mere 1% would like to do so also in the future.  This is firm evidence that demand for digital should grow in the coming years.

“Demand for digital in the blended mix to grow”

Whilst teachers want more digital, as our survey clearly shows, it is worth emphasizing that virtually no-one of our respondents would like to teach with digital-only materials. Currently 3% are doing so, but it is not seen as the optimal state by anybody. What to make of this? Our answer: blended learning models work best.

Santtu Toivonen, Lead Insight Manager, Sanoma Pro

John Martin, CEO, Sanoma Learning

Child-friendly learning design at Bureau ICE

I like the way Bureau ICE helps in identifying and developing the talents of our children.  I also especially like the child-friendly and child-centric design thinking that they use, which engages pupils to show their talents.

“Helping to identify and develop the talents of our children”

This week I caught up with Karen Heij, Managing Director of Bureau ICE to hear more.

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Karen Heij

Karen, I’m interested to know more about Bureau ICE and your personal  motivations as MD

We specialise in tests and exams that help learners to really show their capabilities. We believe it’s a human right to be able to develop in a way that gives you the best opportunities and helps you find a direction in life that makes you happy. Since testing often plays such a major part in a person’s (school) career, we believe that these tests should help you show what you’re capable of, and not hold you back. In the 26 years that I’ve worked for Bureau ICE and especially the last 16 years as managing director, this has always been what drives me.

Bureau ICE joined Malmberg at Sanoma Learning in 2012. How have things been going since?

Sanoma Learning and Bureau ICE share the same goals: we both want to improve the impact of learning for pupils, teachers and schools.

“Investing in improving learning impact”

Joining SL has given us great opportunities in entering the primary school market. Until 2014 this market was dominated by one other makers of tests and exams.  But when the government decided in 2013 that the final primary school exam should be mandatory for every school, it prompted the decision that a monopoly wasn’t allowed anymore: schools had to have a choice of tests. We wanted to pursue this opportunity and the investment of creating tests for a completely new market would never have been possible without the support of Sanoma Learning.

Recently, you’ve had a lot of success with the new IEP Eindtoets.  What is it?

IEP Eindtoets

The IEP Eindtoets is one of the three government approved final exams for primary schools in The Netherlands. It measures the language proficiency and calculus capabilities of 12-year old children who are on the brink of leaving primary school and moving onto their secondary education. In The Netherlands we have different levels of secondary education. The primary school teacher decides which type of secondary school his pupils should attend.

“A child is more than his cognitive abilities”

To help the teacher make that decision we not only have the IEP Eindtoets, but also the IEP Advieswijzer. This is a package of tests designed to measure other characteristics than language proficiency and calculus capabilities. After all, we believe a child is more than just his cognitive abilities. Therefore the IEP Advieswijzer consists of various tests measuring creativity, social skills and learning approach. We also have an IEP English proficiency test especially for this group, the 12 year olds. All our language tests are based on the Common European Framework of References for Languages.

Why did we win?

In short: our test is significantly more child friendly than the two competitor’s tests. We’ve created the IEP Eindtoets in a way that it would enable pupils to really show what they’re capable of. So we gave the test a recognizable and playful design. It’s very easy to use, so making the test becomes less stressful. And less stress means better performance.

“Child-friendly design and choice for schools”

Also, in the calculus items we only use the language necessary to measure that specific skill. Superfluous usage of language can throw children with weaker language skills off and we didn’t want to do that.

But there’s a longer story to it as well. Schools have been forced to use the same test provider for decades and now that there’s choice, they want to choose something that fits their school’s vision.

“More than 30.000 children will use the IEP Eindtoets this year”

Last year was our debut and around 7.000 students made our test. This year this number will surpass 30.000! Of course this has to do with the quality of the test, but also with the great experiences of the users last year. They really spread the word to neighbouring schools.

What makes you most proud about Bureau ICE?

In the past 25 years we’ve really been able to bring about a change in the way people in The Netherlands think and feel about testing.  We’ve taught policy makers both in government and schools to think about what they believe students should know and be able to do at the end of an educational period. We have shown them how to create tests that measure their desired outcomes and this has in turn shaped the course contents.

What would you change about testing in The Netherlands?

I’m hoping I can help to change the ranking  approach that is currently used at age 12 in determining the future school path. Currently students are ranked against the rest of their group and the relative ranking determines the specific schooling path.

“Change the ranking approach”

In other words: it’s not an absolute norm or end goals that determine the level of school you will go to, but your capabilities in comparison to the rest of the group.  This ranking is unfair and demotivating I would like to help change policy in this area in the near future.

Positive spirit

It’s not only the child-centric philosophy that I like about Bureau ICE.  You feel the passion for their mission throughout the company and this energy feeds a healthy entrepreneurial spiritGreat job by Karen and the team in creating this!

Working together to develop scalable technology at Sanoma Learning

One of the key trajectories in our strategy is using technology to help pupils and teachers. We believe technology is an enabler of what we call learning impact: engaging pupils, improving learning outcomes and supporting the workflow of the teacher. Developing and deploying the right technology in the right way is therefore critical to our mission.

Key parts of our technology are developed together and scaled across our units. This is not easy but brings benefits in terms of speed, quality, cost, skills and shared learning.

This week I caught up with new recruit Heikki Rusama, in the team of our Chief Business Technology Officer Arnoud Klerkx, who recently moved from Rovio in Finland to Sanoma Learning’s co-development team in The Netherlands, to learn more about this work.

Tell us about your background and why you joined Sanoma Learning

I’ve been interested in learning since my teenage years and studied educational science to originally prepare for a role in academia. I’m keen to work in a role that will allow me to combine my passion for education with technology.

I found such a role when previously working at Rovio Learning, the entertainment company behind the Angry Birds. However I joined Sanoma for two reasons: to me it is important that learning is the company’s core business and secondly I see potential for further international growth in learning. Therefore, Sanoma Learning feels like a perfect fit for me.

What’s your role at Sanoma Learning?

My role as one of the Business Technology Consultants is to help business units to grow in digital learning by providing building blocks for the current and the future applications. This I do by leading some co-development initiatives like Edubase (learning engine), Identity & Access Management, and later this year Learning Analytics.

How does this bring value to our ways of working?

One of the many strengths of this company is the deep understanding of education including the local differences. Through our co-development program we identify and build common, scalable technology.  This helps us to develop higher quality solutions, faster and at lower cost and also to share learnings across our footprint which includes some of the World’s best education systems. If we are able to take co-development to the next level, we are going to create more Bingels in the future.

What are your first impressions of working with us?

I really enjoy my work. Like today, when I had meetings with Business Technology teams from Van In (Belgium) and Sanoma Utbildning (Sweden). Not only are they inspiring people to work with, I really admire the drive and passion they have for learning and technology. With teams like these, the co-development agenda will succeed.

Where do you think we stand on the digital transformation?

The future of our business seems bright yet increasingly complex. I am confident that we are tackling the right questions. We’re clearly a frontrunner on the digital transformation, which is going to be a long journey. Our deep understanding of learning combined with our technology capabilities make us strong. Further building on our co-development abilities will prepare us better for the future, by enabling us to make better products faster.

Thanks for the feedback Heikki. I believe enabling our learning methods with technology to help our customers is the way forward.  The co-development agenda is a great way for us to scale investments, skills and learnings as we progress.

P.S. Leicester City has a five point lead at the top of the Premier League.  Go Foxes!

Learning impact

mission

We believe it’s important to constantly improve the products and services we offer to our customers. More recently we have developed and introduced Sanoma Learning’s Impact Framework (SLIF) as a guide in this journey. This week I caught up with Sendhuran Govindan to learn more about the SLIF. Sendhuran’s a super-smart and nice guy, a clear thinker with a practical pair of hands.

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Tell us about your background and role at Sanoma Learning Sendhuran

First, thanks John for having me on this virtual interview and for the opportunity to talk about SLIF. I am currently the Head of Strategy at Sanoma Learning. I joined Sanoma Learning 2 years ago and am passionate about our mission to develop the talents of every pupil. As Head of Strategy, I work with the leadership team to develop and execute our long-term strategy. I also lead specific strategic projects, one of them being SLIF.

My background is in strategy consulting and technology. I have spent over 10 years advising companies undergoing transformation due to technology, regulations, and other market conditions. Education is undergoing digital transformation, and it’s an exciting time to be here.

Why did we initiate the SLIF?

We have a long tradition at Sanoma Learning of developing excellent learning methods (an integrated set of learning resources for a subject, including textbooks, workbooks, software, supplementary resources, etc.). Some of our companies, like Van In and Malmberg, have been recognized leaders in educational publishing for over 100 years! As we shift towards making more hybrid and digital methods, we want to ensure that these new methods also deliver the high learning impact we are known for. We initiated SLIF to help us do that.

SLIF is our new way of developing methods and of evaluating their learning impact. Before we start developing any method, we set clear learning impact objectives and identify the features needed to achieve them. We then develop the method with the required features. After the method is launched, we evaluate the learning impact to see if the method and the features actually deliver on the objectives. By doing this, we can find out what works and what doesn’t, allowing us to continuously improve our methods further. This is very important as we are on the cutting edge of education technology. We have to ensure our innovation delivers learning impact, we are obsessed with that!

You mentioned Learning Impact. Can you elaborate?

With Learning Impact, we refer to 3 things: engaging pupils, improving learning outcomes, and improving teacher workflow efficiency.

We design and develop our learning methods to engage and motivate pupils to learn. For example, the story-fication in Bingel (our award winning learning platform), motivates students to do more practices exercises. This increased motivation, coupled together with our well-designed methods, help pupils learn better and reach higher learning outcomes.

Additionally, we design our methods to help teachers achieve more in their hectic schedules. For example, in most of our software, exercises are automatically corrected, and the teachers are provided with detailed insights on student performance. In some cases, our software even provides personalized recommendations per pupil. This saves the teacher a lot of time, which can be used to provide individual coaching to pupils.

What were the main results from last year?

Last year was the first year of SLIF. We incorporated SLIF in 3 of our 6 businesses. And we conducted pilots in 3 others. We found that it helped our publishers sharpen their focus on learning impact, and helped them think of how technology can be effectively used.

Additionally, we conducted our Sanoma Learning Impact Survey to evaluate the learning impact of our top 20 methods across Europe. We found that our methods had significant learning impact.

“85% of teachers said our methods helped improve engagement of pupils.”

“95% said that our methods helped them improve learning outcomes of their classes.”

“Teachers said that our methods helped them save 8 hours / week across planning, homework assigning & correction and test creation & correction. This gives teachers more time to individually coach pupils.”

What are we planning moving forward?

We have an exciting multi-year roadmap for SLIF. Currently, we evaluate our methods at a high level. We also have several different ways to evaluate the learning impact (surveys, pilots, big data, etc.). As we advance our learning analytics, we will standardize our impact evaluation and also drill down deeper to evaluate the impact of specific method components. This will make it much easier for us to improve our products in the future!

But our short term priority in 2016, is to complete the roll-out of SLIF to all our businesses and to expand our Sanoma Learning Impact Survey.

Using evidence to support improvement

Thanks Sendhuran for talking us through this. I see the importance of using evidence in assessing what works best for pupils and teachers and believe the SLIF can be a helpful guide.