To develop products to achieve particular learner outcomes, we start from a foundation of established research about teaching and learning.
We both bring together existing research and engage in new research in areas including applied learning science, knowledge, and skill definition, and formative assessment and feedback. These research insights inform our iterative product design process, and often include co-designing solutions with educators and learners.
Our efforts are systematic, ongoing, and designed to provide a solid foundation on which to build products that improve learner outcomes.
Applied learning science
Learning science is systematic and rigorous research that examines how students learn, and how the environment where learning takes place (for example, social interactions and technology) can impact those processes.
Research has made many discoveries about memory, attention, motivation, and other concepts that contribute to our understanding of how students learn. We leverage these discoveries to maximize positive student outcomes.
By applying learning science to product design and development, we aim to make our products more likely to deliver positive outcomes for learners.
Knowledge and skill definition
There is a great deal of research about the types of knowledge learners should acquire about a given subject or skill at a given stage in their learning development. This research includes math and science concepts, skills like collaboration and communication, and more.
We use that research to define and map the knowledge and skills that learners need to gain at given points in their interactions with our products. This mapping informs the way we design and develop our products.
This helps our products to deliver the right set of content or skills at the right time in a learner’s development. It also helps us develop mechanisms for assessing whether a learner has mastered the knowledge or skills they need to progress to the next stage in their learning.
Formative assessment and feedback
Once knowledge and skills are defined, we need to:
- help students and instructors understand how students are progressing
- ensure appropriate feedback is delivered at the appropriate time
The digital world opens up new ways of meeting these needs.
Students’ interactions with digital education products create streams of data about their activities. This data can be used to build assessment models and to develop activities that work as both learning and assessment tools.
When we have designed and developed ways to determine what students know and can do, we next apply research to make sure our products deliver the appropriate kind of feedback, in the right context, and at the right time.