Five Ways EdTech Can Impact Instructor Practices
Have you ever watched a commercial for an Apple product?
Maybe you’ve noticed that they never talk about the bits and bytes underlying their technology. They don’t even talk about the direct benefits of their products (think: more storage or a better camera). Instead, they talk about the possibilities that their technology enables – selling the idea that, with Apple, what you can dream, you can do.
A recent article from The Christenson Institute argues that we need to start thinking of edtech in similar terms. The article, The Way People Think About EdTech Misses the Mark, suggests that it’s time we evolve beyond the old paradigm of edtech, wherein educational technology is considered only in terms of the direct learning benefits and outcomes it delivers. Instead, we should begin to view edtech for the indirect possibilities it enables as well – for what it allows instructors to dream up and for the way it can change and improve instructor and learner practices to empower greater learning.
“In reality, edtech not only influences learner outcomes directly, but also has a potential indirect impact by enabling shifts in teachers’ practices…”
As adaptive learning technology provider in this space, we’ve seen first hand how edtech indirectly impacts classroom environments and frees instructors to alter their practices. Here’s are five ways edtech can impact the practices of instructors:
1.Higher Order Learning and Reasoning
When technology can take care of the basic knowledge transfer of course information, and demonstrate that learners are actually mastering it, then instructors are free to spend class time on higher-order, application-level discussions and activities. This doesn’t just improve the learner experience by making learning more active. It also improves the experience of the instructor – allowing them to focus on the parts of their role that are most engaging and rewarding.
2. Actionable Learner Data
Edtech solutions offer lots of data about learners that instructors can use to change up their approach and practices. It can also offer learners data about their own learning path – helping them “own” their learning and self-remediate more efficiently. For example, within our adaptive learning platform, the system’s AI pinpoints who’s struggling, where they’re struggling and why they’re having difficulty. This empowers instructors to better tailor lectures and other classroom activities to address areas where the most learners are having the most difficulty. It fuels one-on-one interactions in office hours or study sessions – allowing instructors to walk through the individual challenges that each learner is facing and give targeted tips to help them advance. And it helps learners themselves understand where their weaknesses are, so they can self-remediate more effectively.
3. Engagement Tactics
One thing all instructors struggle with is engagement. Technology can give instructors another yardstick with which to measure learner engagement and participation. For example, instructors can see if their learners are logging in, what content they’re reviewing and how long they’re reviewing it. Within our platform, we also allow instructors to see how learners are behaving within the learning – are they just trying to complete it as fast as possible without really mastering it, or are they taking the time to remediate their own knowledge gaps and truly understand the material. Armed with this kind of information, instructors can see what’s resonating most with their learners and make alterations to their approach accordingly.
4. Content Refinement
Another way that edtech helps instructors adapt is by giving them data into the efficacy of their courses and content. Some solutions use AI to flag questions that aren’t working well – or problematic questions – to optimize course content and learning experience. As a result, edtech gives instructors more confidence that the courses and materials they’ve developed are working for their learners. And learners have a better more effective experience.
5. Learner Directed Experiences
We know that when learners have control over their own learning, they acquire more knowledge and have higher success rates. But giving learners control within the traditional classroom can be a tall order. Edtech allows instructors to offer learners more autonomy outside the classroom. For example, our adaptive platform encourages learners to make choices – they can self direct how they want to engage with content, review feedback and even self-remediate. The benefits of this type of positive, autonomous learning experience extend far beyond a single course – laying the foundation for students to develop into lifelong learners. And for instructors, it enables the highest calling of their profession – to make a lasting impact on the lives of their students.
Are you evaluating edtech solely based on the direct outcomes it produces for your learners? Maybe it’s time to consider a paradigm shift. Let’s start to evaluate edtech for the ways it can inform instruction and improve an instructor’s ability to relate to their learners.
We’d love to begin a deeper conversation with you about how our adaptive edtech solution not only delivers deep, meaningful learning outcomes, but also can improve the experience and insights of your instructors. Let’s connect.
In the meantime, check out our college Steps to Success course, which is made up of skills-based units designed to increase the likelihood of achievement – whether it be graduating on time or preparing for future career advancement. Then read some of our other edtech articles below: