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Data is Changing the Way we Teach and Learn

Over the past two years we have seen digital tools and technology accelerate the push of innovation into (and out of) the classroom, from K-12 and higher ed to corporate training and lifelong learning. With the proliferation of tablets and cloud-based content and delivery, online learning is quickly becoming pervasive.

Yet, the real transformation in online learning isn’t coming from “Massive Open and Online Courses – MOOCS” and blended learning models alone, instead it is being driven by combining numerous innovations with advances in the use of data to inform, personalize, and optimize the online learning and teaching process.shutterstock_105784187

Recognizing that learners have varying educational needs and learning styles, most would agree that the ideal learning path is one that is personalized to an individual’s preferred method of learning and educational requirements. So simply putting a course online and opening it up to the masses, while certainly more democratic, is not transformative alone when most students still struggle to consume and assimilate the same one size fits all education, leading to extremely low completion rates of only 4% as complied by Harvard and MIT.

Instead, imagine if we used data to instantly assess the individual learning needs, interests, learning styles, and preferences of each learner to create a truly personalized and contextually relevant learning experience. In this type of data-driven model, we could leverage a myriad of data to create a more personalized learning pathway that knew precisely how to drive each learner to reflect and take action at the proper moment and could automatically reinforce the most appropriate lessons to improve completion rates and retention over time. And of course, the learning platform itself would become smarter and more effective as it collected and analyzed more and more data.

Sounds like science fiction, right?  Well companies such as Knewton and Pearson have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to make data-driven education a reality and have successfully launched highly adaptive learning programs that use big-data-fueled predictive analytics to inform which questions and modules thousands of students should progress through.

The early success of Knewton and Pearson has opened the door to an emerging wave of digital learning solutions that leverage data in new found ways to optimize and refine the process of teaching and learning. For example, at ArcheMedX we are improving the competency and performance of healthcare professionals through our own data-centric learning model.

In a recent example of our data-driven version of a flipped classroom, we collaborated with the American Nurses Credentialing Center (part of the American Nurses Association) to power a 10-part e-learning program in nursing education that resulted in a 95% completion rate and outstanding learning outcomes. You can read more about the impact of this data-driven model in the November edition of JCEN, the American Nurses Association’s Journal on Continuing Education.

Joel Selzer

Co-Founder & CEO

ArcheMedX, Inc.


Written by

Joel is a digital innovation leader who has spent the past 15 years improving access to information and data across the life science and healthcare industries as an entrepreneur, board member, and advisor. He co-founded and currently leads ArcheMedX, which applies behavioral science to transform learning and generate actionable insights for Healthcare and Life Science organizations.

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