Tag Archives: Learning Outcomes

Looking forward to the digital transformation at Sanoma Learning

The second half of January is an exciting and important part of our annual calendar since there are some key shows which gives us a good opportunity to share the latest developments and discuss them with our customers. There are three things I’d like to share with you from last week which I believe are important for our customers and hence also for our own digital transformation.

Sanoma Pro at #Educa2015 in Helsinki

Our Finnish subsidiary and market leader Sanoma Pro was an exhibitor at Educa2015 last week and announced our latest innovations. The Finnish market is going through a critical period prior to the upcoming major curriculum renewal and we are keen to show leadership in the market through a future-oriented and competitive offering that will help teachers to excel as professionals and pupils to learn. Three innovations in particular were well-received.

Bingel being launched in FinlandFirstly, all of our courses will be available digitally in line with the roll out of the new curricula (2015-2017). Secondly, we will be launching the highly successful gamified learning platform Bingel in Finland later this year. (Check out the video). This platform is currently used by 75% of pupils in primary education in Flanders and on average each pupil has done more than 1000 exercises on Bingel since it was launched. Thirdly, we announced the upcoming launch of our new digital ABC book which we hope and expect will be well-appreciated by pupils, teachers and parents alike. Go Pro!

Young Digital Planet and Sanoma Learning at #BETT2015 in London

Our international subsidiary YDP was once again an exhibitor at BETT in London, the world’s leading learning technology show. Every year their stand is buzzing and this year was no exception. We arranged a breakout session where I spoke about Sanoma Learning’s vision on the digital transformation of education and as a case study Jan Trubac (Agemsoft) and Jan Machaj (Edulab) from Slovakia gave an inspiring presentation about how they are successfully working with YDP in bringing digital learning to Slovakian schools.

J Trubac from Agemsoft explaining how they localise YDP solutions in Slovakia About 70 executives joined us from leading local players across the globe (from South East Asia to South America) and we had an inspiring and engaging discussion. There’s a world of opportunity out there! We’re looking forward to engaging with some of these potential new partners further in working out how we can develop some of these opportunities together. Go YDP!

Malmberg at #NOT2015 in Utrecht

Next week Malmberg will be exhibiting at the gigantic NOT in The Netherlands. This week we announced the results into the research into the impact of our new Early Reading course Lijn 3.

Lijn 3, Early Reading in The NetherlandsThe conclusion of the research was that that the reading performance of pupils using this course were significantly better than the national average. Furthermore, 94% of teachers would recommend Lijn 3 to other teachers and they rated it 8.2/10 on average. I believe this research is highly relevant for two reasons. Firstly, we are now starting to evidence the impact that our courses have on learning, which we have hardly done in the past. Secondly, the impact is very positive, which is great news! Go Malmberg!

I love it when our people are out there with customers, working out how we can help them to make a positive impact. This is what matters. Respect!

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Sanoma Learning Lab: Co-create for Impact

sloa-header-1We’re going to run a Learning Lab this Autumn and I would like to invite you to join us. We’re going to develop new concepts with you, to improve and evidence the impact of education on learning.

There are 3 reasons why I would love you (teachers, academics, university students and Sanoma employees) to apply for a place at our learning lab:

1. Fantastic learning experience

You’ll get trained in start-up methods and work with experts on developing your idea. You might even win a place at bootcamp to build a prototype of it with a dedicated team of designers and developers. I’ve previously blogged about how such a program works and what happens at bootcamp. It’s really exciting to be part of it!

2. Great networking

The Lab will be a great way to build relationships with other professionals passionate about the future of learning, both locally and internationally. People from diverse backgrounds, from instructional design to user experience to learning analytics. People who want to make a difference in education.

3. Make an impact on the future of learning

We’ll co-develop new concepts with you, to improve and evidence the impact of education and to contribute to the future of learning. Concepts that will improve learning results, support the ways of working and help to better engage pupils. It’s about the future of learning.

Join us!

We’ll be accepting applications until 24th August. Please go to www.sanomalearninglab.com and apply. I really hope you’ll join us! Looking forward >>.

Revitalizing Primary and Secondary Education in Russia

Last weekend I was a speaker/panelist at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum on the subject of Revitalizing Primary and Secondary Education in Russia. Learning outcomes in Russia are rather uncompetitive when seen from an international perspective. I was also surprised to hear that schools in many urban areas run two shifts a day due to a lack of capacity.

Although Sanoma Learning is not currently directly active on the Russian market, we were interested to contribute to the discussion. Firstly, because we believe that education is one of the most powerful instruments known for developing individual talent, reducing poverty and inequality and for laying the basis for sustained economic growth, sound governance and effective institutions across the globe. And secondly since we might be able to contribute to improving Russian learning outcomes in the future.

What can Russia learn from our experience?

I was asked what Russia could learn from our experience. I cannot claim to be an expert on Russian education. However, we are an integral player in a number of education systems that consistently perform very well – including Finland, The Netherlands and Belgium. In addition we are the market leader in Poland which has been one of the rising stars on outcomes in recent years. And we have recently acquired a position in Sweden and are keen to support teachers in raising learning outcomes there too.

On the basis of our experience in these successful systems, we believe there are three cornerstones of excellence in primary and secondary education.

1. Skilled and motivated teachers

The first cornerstone is to make sure the level of skills and motivation of teachers is high. A skilled teacher is like a great leader – the impact is huge. They are the heroes and heroines of education. For example, this means:
a. Getting the best people to apply to teacher training
b. Paying them adequately
c. Making sure they are treated with respect, both in school and in society
d. Not over-managing them – they are professionals. Give them space to run their classes without too many rules
e. Making sure they have access to good learning and teaching materials and are free to choose them based on their professional insights. State-prescribed and created materials tend to lead to lower standards and reduced motivation for teachers
f. Keeping their skills up-to-date.

2. Motivated pupils

The second cornerstone is to ensure that pupils are motivated. The correlation between motivation and outcomes is high. This includes:
a. As described above, recruiting and retaining good teachers who can motivate pupils and classes
b. Promoting equity. It’s important to support poorly-performing students and students in economically less advantaged areas. Furthermore, to include marginalized pupils such as those with special needs or from diverse backgrounds and minorities in the mainstream. Their education should be well resourced. It will significantly improve their life chances and lead to better overall outcomes
c. Ensuring that education is valued in society. Amongst others, this will encourage parents to support learning, and this will raise expectations which typically raises outcomes too
d. Finding ways to personalise the process of learning, for example by using technology, or ensuring the teacher has time for individual intervention, or by providing access to tutors. Personalisation improves engagement and better engagement tends to lead to improved outcomes
e. Using high quality learning materials, that both pupils and teachers appreciate.

3. High quality learning solutions

We believe that the third cornerstone to excellence in education is to provide teachers and pupils with high quality learning solutions. They can make a significant contribution to achieving excellent learning outcomes, in a time- and cost-effective manner, whilst keeping pupils and teachers engaged on the journey of learning. Such solutions could include the following elements (for some parts depending on the ICT status of the school):

a. Close “fit” with the local curriculum, language, culture and ways
b. Excellent instructional design
c. Good user experience
d. Play multichannel
e. Capture data and can give insights, and on that basis can be personalisable and adaptive
f. Deploy a coherent learning path and design – easy to use for both pupil and teacher
g. The teacher should have a high level of freedom to choose from a competitive offering – to find the solution that fits them and their class best.

Our beliefs

So those are our beliefs about the cornerstones of creating excellent education systems. There is probably not a single approach that can be copied and pasted across the globe. But the chances are good that most education systems (including Russia) would benefit by focusing on skilled teachers, motivating pupils and providing high quality learning solutions.

Seven trends shaping the future of learning

Last week we concluded the start-up challenge on the future of learning with five inspiring pitches at TNW Europe. Many congratulations to Labster on winning and thanks to all five finalists would did themselves proud in their pitches! Check out my post on it here.

I was also one of the keynote speakers on the EduTrack at TNW. I received quite a few requests for a copy of the presentation – here it is TNW-keynote.blog and here is a drawing taken during the session.

These days I try to use images more than words in storytelling (except in my blog 🙂 ), so the slides benefit from further explanation. In this post, I would like to share my views on a number of trends that are shaping the future of learning, as seen from the perspective of a provider of learning solutions. Obviously this is in the style of a 15 minute presentation at a tech conference and not a white paper :-).

I would like to introduce myself

I was born in the Heart of England in the early 1970’s. Already at primary school I developed a passion for learning. I wanted to become a doctor and find a cure for cancer. So I studied hard, I really loved to learn, and went on to complete a PhD in molecular biology. Now of course my dream was unrealistic, I didn’t find a cure. But the dream did bring me something else. It brought me an education. And this gave me a passport to the world. So I moved to The Netherlands as a research scientist and university teacher. I then became a science publisher and now lead Sanoma Learning one of Europe’s leading education companies, with headquarters in Helsinki.

About Sanoma Learning

What I like the most about Sanoma Learning is working together with 1500 professionals who share my passion for learning.

We serve about 10 M pupils and 1 M teachers every day in Northern Europe. And we’re an integral player to the educational systems of 5 countries including Finland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Poland and Sweden – a sort of all-star cast for PISA. We acquired our position in Sweden a couple of years ago and are going to help them to improve their learning outcomes and rise in the PISA rankings, as we have been doing in Poland. We have a reputation for quality and export solutions to more than 40 other countries.

We make annual sales of about € 300 M, including € 40 M of pure-play digital and € 100 M of multichannel, arguably making us Europe’s biggest EdTech company today.

Three cornerstones to excellent education

three-cornerstonesWe believe that an effective interplay between teachers, pupils and learning resources is the primary factor in achieving great learning outcomes. From the perspective of being a leading provider of learning solutions, we see seven trends that are shaping the next generation of learning.

Trend #1 From input to outcomes

input-to-outcomesinputThere has traditionally been a lot of emphasis on the inputs into education. How much do we spend? How many pupils per classroom? How many hours of class time? How many devices in the school? And so on. These things are all inputs. The good thing about inputs is that they’re fairly easy to measure. But the value is in the outcome not the input.

Ultimately on the system level, the main outcome we are trying to achieve is to help people to make progress in their lives: to help them in their learning career, to help prepare them for work and to help to develop them to become good citizens.

These are really big goals for education systems, and by the time we know how we are doing, it’s too late to make positive interventions for a better outcome. So in my view we need to guide outcomes in learning on a more local level, maybe on the level of each lesson or each course:

– does this activity contribute to a good learning result for all of the pupils involved?
– in a way that is time and cost effective?
– and in a way that is engaging and motivating for pupils and teachers?

I believe we should re-shape education by bringing these outcomes into focus.

Trend #2 From mass to personal

massmass-personalAs we move from the industrial age to the knowledge age, our ways of working in education will change too.

Technology will support us in tailoring pedagogy, curriculum and learning support to the needs and aspirations of the individual learner.

If we can get that right, we will be much more successful in helping individuals to reach their potential. This is a huge opportunity for us to unleash the potential of our children.

Trend #3 From workload to workflow

workload-workflowworkloadWe did some ethnographic research with teachers in Finland, a world-class education system. We were surprised to see that about 15 hours per week were being lost on bottlenecks in the workflow. For example, keeping track of administration, manual checking, inefficient communication streams and disruption in the classroom. Imagine the effect that these bottlenecks have on learning outcomes and motivation, and think about the impact that could be achieved if those hours were spent on teaching instead. Also, for a primary school with say 350 pupils and 35 teachers, the financial cost of these bottlenecks is about € 500 k per year.

We expect that technology will address some of the problem. For our part, we are digitalising our courses. Other elements of the workflow will get automated and personalised too. Teachers should spend their time and energy on teaching. This is their skill and passion and this is where they bring excellence to education.

Trend #4 From analogue to digital

analog-digitalanalogueSchools are slowly but surely becoming more digital. However, today in northern Europe, there is a big gap in access to technology between the school and the home. And we are arguably the most digital part of the world! There might typically be 5 devices per household. At the same time, there are typically about 5 pupils for every workstation in schools. So we have to design solutions that can play to that dynamic. Currently most of our methods play multichannel. We expect to continue to play multichannel for 5 or 10 more years and that by 2020 digital will be leading in the usage of most courses.

Trend #5 From data to insight

datadata-insightIn the coming years a wealth of data will come on stream about the learning of our children. Clearly, we have to treat privacy with the utmost respect. And also to look to the opportunity. We’re going to get rich data-sets and insights into how individual pupils, teachers, classes, pieces of content, courses and entire systems perform. We can use these insights to guide intervention: to raise learning outcomes, to focus resources, to enhance engagement. We should embrace these insights to improve learning, and to stop doing the things do not bring value.

Trend #6 From classroom to borderless

classroom-borderlessclassroomDigital is fundamentally changing the way we live. In the analogue world, the classroom was the centre of learning, whereas the individual stands central in the digital world. Digital has opened up the border between school and home and we see growing demand for services related to curriculum, tutoring and communication that bring a holistic approach to learning for the pupil.

Trend # 7 From scarcity to abundance

scarcity-abundancescarcityLooking at it from the global perspective, good quality education has been the preserve of the happy few. It’s been a scarce resource. However, that’s about to change for the better. Extreme poverty has halved over the last 20 years and some reckon that extreme poverty will be eliminated within 20 years. Going hand-in-hand with rising prosperity has been increased access to mobile technology for the world’s poorest people.

Education is one of the most powerful instruments known for reducing poverty and inequality and for laying the basis for sustained economic growth, sound governance, and effective institutions.

“Imagine the profound impact on our people and planet if we can bring mobile learning to the four billion people rising out of poverty. Imagine that.”

Time to embrace change and invest in renewing education

So these are seven trends that we believe are shaping the next generation of learning. I am sure there are more, and they are obviously impacted by the perspective you have.

“We believe it’s time for governments, companies, schools and individuals to embrace these changes and invest in renewing education for the next generation.”

What can Sanoma do?

So we ask ourselves what we can do to contribute to the renewal of education. The answer is in our mission already – in supporting pupils and teachers on three fronts:

– Achieving excellent learning outcomes
– Enhancing workflow efficiency
– And supporting engaging learning

By creating courses that play multichannel that address those three goals, we can contribute to building the future of learning.

Learning outcomes accelerator

We see that the most challenging of these tasks for everyone in the educational ecosystem is how we can take a step forward on learning outcomes.

We like a challenge at Sanoma Learning. So we want to run an innovation accelerator focusing on learning outcomes.

“How can we improve and evidence the impact of education in the new era?”.

Together with schools, teachers, pupils and academics, plus about 75 learning and start-up professionals from Sanoma, we want to run a 10 week program to develop ideas and build prototypes of solutions that can improve and evidence the impact of education.

We’re going to start recruiting the teams and participants now, ready for a kick-off in September. If you’re interested to join us or to learn more, please visit sanomalearningoutcomes.com

We’ve run 5 accelerators at Sanoma in the last couple of years and I can promise you they are inspiring and energising and you learn new ways of co-developing your ideas with your customers.

Any questions?

Thanks for listening. Feel free to contact me @johnrichmartin. And please let me know if you want to join us in renewing education for the next generation.

Learning outcomes accelerator: co-creating new solutions with schools

The future of learning is personal

personalAs we move from the industrial age to the knowledge age, our ways of working in education will change too. Amongst others, technology will enable us to tailor pedagogy, curriculum and learning support to the needs and aspirations of each individual learner. Developing the talents and potential of individuals and helping them to make progress in their lives will be key.

Our thinking needs to shift. From inputs …

Governments have traditionally put a lot of emphasis on the inputs into education. How much do we spend? How many pupils per classroom? How many hours of class time? How much do we spend on learning materials? How many devices in the school? These things are all important.

… to outcomes

input-to-outcomesHowever, the value is in the outcome not the input. Are we helping individuals to make progress in their learning career? Are we preparing them for effectively for work? Are we enabling them to become good and fulfilled citizens? These are the big outcomes questions.

Maybe these questions are so big that we only know the answers when it’s too late. Therefore, on a more practical level, we should break it down into something more manageable. For example, for each activity (“course” or “lesson”):

– does this contribute to a good learning result for all of the individual pupils?
– in a way that is engaging and motivating for pupils and teachers?
– and in a way that is effective in terms of time, cost and energy?

By bringing these outcomes into focus, we can reshape education for the next generation.

Enter the Learning Outcomes Accelerator

At the OPPI Learning Festival in Helsinki last week (great initiative!), we announced the launch of an open Learning Outcomes Accelerator:

“how can we improve and evidence the impact of education in the new era?”

In each of the countries in which Sanoma Learning operates (Finland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Poland and Sweden) – pretty much an all-star cast for PISA 🙂 – we would like to work with one school where at least one teacher/class would participate.

Also, we would like to ask academics (with expertise in outcomes, learning analytics, pedagogy and so on) to join us to bring an extra richness to our thinking and approach. And 75 professionals from Sanoma, with expertise about course and curriculum development, design and user experience, and lean startup methodologies will join us in creating new prototypes.

How does the accelerator work?

Participants at bootcamp

Participants at bootcamp

We will launch (in September, dates to be finalized) with five “live” kick-offs, one in each of the main schools participating. This will be followed by a seven week program of ideation and training, during which hundreds of ideas will be created, tested and improved. Towards the end of the process the best five ideas will be selected by public voting and the winners will be invited (expenses paid) for a four-day bootcamp in Amsterdam to build their prototype. I’ve previously blogged about how an accelerator works and what happens at bootcamp. It’s really exciting and inspiring to be part of it!

What is it, what isn’t it?

The accelerator will be above all about learning by doing! It will be fast-paced, highly practical and we will go from idea to functional prototype in less than 10 weeks. It will be structured in terms of the goals, process and support. And open in terms of ideas. It will be a journey of discovery and experimentation and this is what makes an open accelerator so exciting.

It’s not a big academic exercise. We won’t write a book about it. (Even if books are good too.)

Register and help us co-create new solutions for outcomes

If you would like to join the accelerator and you’re either a teacher at a school in one of the five countries mentioned earlier, or an academic from there or elsewhere, please let us know at sanomalearningoutcomes.com. We will strive to have decided which five schools to work with on this particular accelerator by the end of June. Participation is free of charge. We will be accepting applications until 1 September.

I was positively surprised by the interest from other groups at OPPI too. For example, some Foundations, Universities, other companies, schools in other countries and educational journalists also wanted to get involved. If you are from one of these groups and have something exciting to bring to the accelerator, then please take contact with me and let’s see if there are possibilities for us to adapt the program so you can join us.

Looking forward >>

I believe that by bringing outcomes into focus, we can reshape education for the next generation. I hope you will join us on this exciting journey!

Back to the Future of Learning

future of learningThis week I have returned to Sanoma Learning as CEO, succeeding Jacques Eijkens who established and has led the development of the company during the last eight years. Great job Jacques! It’s an honour to be given this opportunity. I have a big respect for the teams and what they have achieved so far and believe I can bring digital and innovation experience that can help us on the journey to the next era.

Education is at the dawn of a new age

Stakeholders rightly want to renew education: they have new and higher demands on outcomes, personalisation and ways of working in particular.  We’re at the dawn of a new age for education – and technology will be a key enabler of the transformation. Today, Sanoma Learning is a successful provider of educational resources and has excellent customer focus, skilled people, strong brands and good financial health. Yet today’s strength does not guarantee tomorrow’s success. I believe that by supporting pupils and teachers with digital personalised-learning solutions, Sanoma Learning can have a major positive impact on the transformation of education. We are well-positioned as we continue on the journey to the digital future, but our success will be determined by how markets for learning solutions evolve and how effectively we manage the digital transformation.

Further renewing our offering will be key

Our main priority in the coming years will be to further renew our offering. In our core markets, we will focus on the digital transformation: digitalising courses, adding workflow functionalities and using data to support workflow, guide personalisation and improve learning outcomes. We also have the ambition to build a position in online tutoring, thereby further personalising the learning experience and creating new possibilities for growth. And we intend to build a position in emerging markets, leveraging and increasing the impact of our learning solutions and opening up new revenue streams. At this moment in time, we are making good progress in our core markets and are at the early stage of developing new home-grown ventures in online tutoring and emerging markets.

Learning about Learning

Today is my first day in the new role and I will start by visiting the units to engage with the teams – I’m enthusiastic about getting to know the people and to understand the opportunities and plans for the future. I will be keen to support and accelerate the development agenda and for Sanoma Learning to play a pivotal role in the transformation of education. I’m really looking forward to working with the teams on this great opportunity!