The future of learning
Steve Jobs once said: “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.” And today, most of the corporate world is taking this mantra very seriously. Many of the organizations we work with, at Innovation Lab, are bending over backwards to understand the next reality of their industry - and to stay on the forefront of innovation.
But can you think of an industry that uses almost the identical methods of production they did 100 years ago?
One that hasn't undergone radical industrialization, innovation, or significant transformation?
How about education:
Our methods of teaching - in contrast to our ways of living and thinking - haven’t radically changed over the past century. In fact, they’re dated, they’re oftentimes ineffective and they’re in need of radical renewal. We know this, because by now, we have massive amounts of data from more than a decade of neuroscientific research about information processing and human learning at our hands.
And this data makes it very clear: education has lost sight and understanding of its consumers a long, long time ago.
Why is this an issue?
Because education is (in large part) the foundation on which our culture is built; and it should be the breeding ground for brilliance and new thinking.
But luckily, not only Steve Jobs had groundbreaking perspectives.
Innovation is coming to education from a host of companies, ranging from billion-dollar tech unicorns to small startups all over the world. United by the shared vision, that education can benefit from technological innovation, these organizations have merged into the sector, known as EdTech (education technology); which today has become one of the hottest spaces in Silicon Valley, and beyond.
According to The Washington Post, our global education market is worth 4.4 Trillion US Dollars - and growing. The amount of money (investment) going into EdTech has gone up to 6.5 Billion US Dollars last year, from 2.4 Billion US Dollars the year before.*
Two of the organizations we, at Innovation Lab, follow closely on their mission to rebuild the education industry from scratch (and collect heaps of funding on their way) are:
- Cerego (a personalized & digital learning app)
- Lix (offering digital textbooks & an online studying environment)
While many educational institutions still focus on all the wrong questions (Will digital replace teachers? Will education disappear?), these companies focus on the right ones. In Simon Sinek’s words, they start with “why”:
- Why does experiencing a great lecture require a physical presence in class?
- Why do we still teach analog, when our students grow up digital?
- Why is education so expensive?
- Why are we teaching the same way since forever?
- Why isn’t the internet used, to deliver all the printed content out there?
- And why don’t we really counteract forgetting?
The last question seems especially interesting because German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus already developed what we call “the forgetting curve” (or for optimists: the learning curve) back in 1886.
Meaning, since then we have known, that information doesn’t mysteriously stay in - or fly out of our brains; it moves along a known curve that we can use for better learning methods.
(Hermann Ebbinghaus, 1850-1909; Ebbinghaus forgetting curve)*
And that is exactly what Cerego does. Whatever your content, Cerego can help you learn it faster, enjoy it more, and remember it longer.
How does Cerego work?
Cerego’s technology is based on an algorithm that assesses individual memory strength, to develop an optimal schedule that guides your learning process.
The app tracks the strength of each memory and indicates what items to review right now - based on the knowledge, that the best time to review is when a memory is beginning to fade. By continually assessing what learners know and predicting how long they’ll recall, Cerego can time their next learning session perfectly, removing the burden of self-paced instruction for learners.
On top of that, Cerego provides real-time, actionable insights so learners can track their progress and instructors can see where learners are — and help them get to where they need to be. The system also provides insight into content - how content is performing and what areas need additional attention or remediation.
But, does it really work?
Well, the numbers speak for themselves. Studies from the US have shown, that students learning with Cerego have learned 19-50% faster and remember information 22-88% longer than those, learning without Cerego. Also, students rated learning with Cerego as more fun and enjoyable than traditional teaching.
Sounds too good to be true? We think it sounds just awesome.
Therefore, Innovation Lab has just recently entered a collaboration with Cerego for a Scandinavian pilot project on personalized, digital learning. Throughout this pilot we will implement and test Cerego’s technology in four Danish educational institutions, for a period of one year (August 2016 - August 2017). Afterward, we will crunch all the collected data, to measure the student’s improvement with regards to learning process and level of engagement. If the results are as expected, all institutions will have the possibility to permanently implement Cerego into their teaching methodology. For updates on this project, keep an eye on Innovation Lab’s blog!
Don’t forget to try out Cerego yourself - the app is free of charge (for individuals) and fun to use.
And speaking of convenient and affordable learning technology…
Meet another one of our favorites: Lix
This company is going to be a game changer for learning with textbooks - collecting your whole curriculum and your study tools in one place, digitally.
Lix is not only offering digital versions of your study books - and in the future even single chapters - but also an environment that makes it easy, fun and intuitive to work with any kind of subject.
Functions, such as:
- highlighting text
- making comments
- extensive search throughout all your books and comments
- and automatically created lists of references
suddenly make studying worthwhile. On top of that, you can easily share all your work with other students (users of the platform), if you wish.
No more carrying around heavy and overpriced books. No more trying to dig out information, buried in kilos of layers of paper. No more losing important handwritten notes. Hallelujah.
The future of learning is personalized and digital
Just like Cerego, Lix is going to make learning & education available at any time, in any place and in the most convenient way for you as a consumer; providing knowledge in the best possible manner - based on great human centered design.
As Steve Jobs once said: “Some people think, design is how it looks, but (...) it’s really how it works.”
EdTech will make education work again.
- Ambient Insight’s 2015 Global Analysis of Learning Technology Investment Patterns