September 3, 2019 | By Sierra Noakes
Earlier this year, Digital Promise spoke with more than 50 stakeholders across the country to understand the most pervasive challenges facing the current edtech industry. Educators and education leaders, education nonprofit and procurement platform staffers, and edtech product teams shared that they need three things in relation to the edtech marketplace: trustworthy information, common indicators to evaluate product quality, and incentives for products to innovate at the margins.
Digital Promise has joined efforts led by ISTE, Project Unicorn, and other education nonprofits to create standards and signals intended to empower consumers to demand more from edtech. Today, learning sciences research has discovered more about how people learn than we have ever known—and much of this research demonstrates that people learn differently. When edtech products are designed and developed based on findings from learning sciences research, learning tools can offer more powerful learning experiences for the full spectrum of learners.
In 2016, Digital Promise and experts at Teachers College, Columbia University launched the Research-Based Products Campaign to determine which edtech products on the market were actually based on learning sciences research. Analysis of product submissions highlighted 53 edtech products that were grounded in research. By recognizing exemplars, the campaign aimed to inspire other developers to use research to create high-quality learning products.
Since then, Digital Promise’s Marketplace and Learner Variability Project teams have created formal signals that demonstrate whether a product incorporated learner sciences research to support diverse learners through high-quality learning opportunities and experiences.
In spring 2019, Digital Promise developed a rubric and application to assess whether edtech products incorporated learning sciences research into product design. Four product companies supported our iterative learning by participating in user testing: Lexia, ReadWorks, Speak Agent, and Zyrobotics. Thanks to their dedication to improving the edtech industry, Digital Promise is ready to launch a user-tested application to create a powerful signal to the field around the quality of edtech products.
This fall, Digital Promise is excited to pilot our first product certification, Learning Sciences Research-Based Design, to enable education leaders, educators, and product investors to access meaningful signals to quickly determine whether a product was designed and developed with learning sciences research to support each learner.
Download our new report on our product certification efforts, Market Signals for Research-Based Innovations, to learn more about Digital Promise’s first product certification. Visit the Product Certification website to learn more about our work. Also, join us in demanding research-driven learning tools to support each learner and stay up to date on our product certification work by signing the Research-Based Product Promise.
By Lisa Jobson