At a recent Edtech event in London, startups were asked where they sit on a continuum from innovation to revenue. Most resisted the idea that revenue and innovation were at odds. They seemed to be thinking mostly about technological innovation. And it’s true that in the long-run, tech innovation and revenue in edtech go hand in hand. But what about pedagogical innovation? Or, at least, making edtech products that are in keeping with, and keep up with, modern pedagogy.
This is where there IS a painful innovation-revenue trade-off. It’s pretty clear that most edtech is on the revenue side, and you can hardly blame the founders of startups – it’s hard to swim against the current in education, especially when educators’ (slow!) adoption of technology is the only path to startup survival. But if tech innovation isn’t based on learning research and the wave of change it’s generating, our success in edtech, educational and commercial, will be short-lived.
The clearest symptom of this is all the talk – and big business – of content in edtech. Just look at GSV’s 2017 Acceleration Report identifying 16 companies that are “Weapons of Mass Instruction”. Their Edtech products, with the exception of IXL, almost totally replicate a traditional model of, yes, “Instruction”. We’ve added multimedia content and some gamification, but the pedagogical model is still impoverished. It’s mostly about getting content in front of learners rather than having them repeatedly practice and progressively develop skills.
The digitization of educational content is important, but there’s little that’s pedagogically innovative here. Digitization really just changes the knowledge delivery channel. Don’t get me wrong: this is transformational and liberating for populations that found traditional materials inaccessible, as the tremendous success of the Rumie project demonstrates. But with a focus on content, our industry misses a tremendous opportunity to swim with the tide of research in education that has completely upended the knowledge-focussed paradigm of the last thousand years. The revolution that Ryan Craig is talking about in College Disrupted: The Great Unbundling of Higher Education and the teaching that Cathy Davidson champions in The New Education is fundamentally about the triumph of skills – hard, soft, all kinds of skills – over knowledge.
Even Virtual Reality and Artifical Intelligence, front and center recently at @EdtechXEurope, @ReimagineEducation, @SXSWedu, and @GSV, is only pedagogically innovative to the extent that it’s built for personalized- and competency-based learning. Most applications of VR and AI remain grounded in a pedagogy that emphasizes mastery of bodies of knowledge. Some are explicitly marketed as technology that promotes better scores on traditional knowledge-oriented exams. By their very nature, VR and AI in education are directed to learning or doing things that are well-defined by educational content creators. To be sure, they may be very effective tools to speed up the acquisition of knowledge, but they do little to contribute to an education that gets students to know when and how to use the knowledge and then actually do the things they are learning to do.
Look at the Tyton Partners Time for Class 2017 report. It’s an industry-leading report on the state of technology in higher education. Or that’s what it’s supposed to be. But it turns out to be a report on “use and perceptions of”… wait for it… “digital courseware”. The first bullet point in the report mentions “expanding options for “digital learning delivery”. Delivery. The rest of the report is heavily focussed on content delivery; the word “skills” doesn’t appear once. It’s important to understand the pace of adoption and satisfaction with digital courseware, but it’s only a preliminary part of what we now think of as a total learning experience.
Then turn to the Unizin consortium, linking the leading public higher education insitutions of the US Midwest. Unizin is supposedly pushing an ambitious agenda to “improve the learning experience with technology”. Yet its website’s “Solutions” area consists of “Content”, “Data Management”, and “For the Learning Environment”. I imagined that the latter would be about technology built to facilitate learning how to think and do, rather than learning as knowledge. But disappointingly, the link there is to “Course Material Delivery” and the words “Content” and “Deliver” appear twelve times in that short webpage.
And then consider TopHat’s attempt to ‘disrupt’ the publishing industry and Perusall’s platform that allows annotation of textbooks. Rather than innovating and leaving the 20th century world of textbooks behind, these platforms buy into that out-of-date pedagogical model.
The examples are too numerous to catalog. Delivery of content still dominates the mainstream understanding of higher education.
We can look at Finland’s transformation of the pedagogy in its education system, in step with current research, and now being copied in China, to see where education is really heading. The Finnish system’s focus on phenomena-based learning, co-creation, and multidisciplinary problem-solving is where education is heading, there can be no doubt. This means that edtech must innovate to produce tools that facilitate this kind of learning.
Certainly, any tool that enables social and peer learning is going in the right direction. Eric Mazur, the Harvard Physicist who famously gave up on lectures, turned to peer instruction, and built the Learning Catalytics application to make it happen in traditional classrooms, is an example of someone whose pedagogy drove the creation of educational technology.
It might be surprising that putting technology to the service of deep learning of skills and competencies is natural in some of the most traditional subjects – Philosophy and English Literature. You would think that content would be king here, but in these subjects teachers have for a long time used techniques to develop students’ analytic, argumentation, and writing skills. That’s cleary demonstrated in the best book on teaching in higher ed, James Lang’s, Small Teaching; Lang is an English Professor. And the UBC Centre for Teaching and Learning partnered with faculty from these departments to develop COMPair and Studiorium, tech tools that have nothing to do with ingesting content and everything to do with active learning of skills for persuasive, effective writing.
Counter-examples of this progress abound, unfortunately. The gamification of learning, with technology like Gradecraft, is mostly designed for content ingestion so that students perform better on traditional assessments – exams. To be sure, deep gamification can lead to deep competency learning, as in this gamification of learning ultrasound techniques. But at present most of it is like the profusion of digital flashcards, built to help students succeed in the current, traditional pedagogical environment. And who can blame those who build these tools and the parents and students who use them. Tools for the gamification of fact-learning are squarely at the revenue end of the revenue-innovation trade-off.
One area that’s clearly underserved by edtech is the learning of hard and soft skills, both individual and interpersonal. For skills learning, we’re not even talking about innovative pedagogy. There’s no doubt that the only way to learn skills is to do them, over and over, reflecting each time, modifying techniques along the way, getting better along the way and learning what you’re capabable of doing. We still have a system of apprenticeship for skilled trades that dates back thousands of years and relies on repeated practice and coaching. The pedagogy of apprenticeship is in fact more relevant in higher education than many realize, in fields from the creative and performing arts to health professions to business and law. So why aren’t we seeing edtech building more tools for learning of hands-on skills or skills that involve some kind of interpersonal interaction?
There are a few such tools. Learning technologies used for simulation-based education in the health professions and public safety are important, but they are very expensive and involve an on-site hardware installation, like the products offered by CAE Healthcare. Startups like GoReact, Practice.xyz, and WeVu.video are using the fact that video recording is now accessible to anyone to build tools for practice and feedback over time and space, including for the skilled trades. We need more and better tools for collaborative, discovery-based skills learning, for educators to more easily put design thinking into practice at scale, and for real reflection and integration of learning like ePortfolios promised.
An educational model dominated by content delivery was a function of pre-digital, print technology. Technological innovation has given us a world where anything and everything can be digital, shared, and collaborative. How frustrating it will be if those building, buying, and using educational technology remain stuck in a pre-digital, pre-internet pedagogy and their technological innovation actually deepens the bias to a content-focussed model of education.
“Everyone likes ‘The Office.’ Everyone likes parties. Furthermore, everyone likes ‘The Office’ themed office parties.
If you’re a sales manager, you can fund your office’s next “the Office” themed office party and have lots left over. You just need to jump into using phone video recording and cloud video sharing to modernize your salesperson on boarding process. We’ll come up with about $20,000 in savings for you – plenty of money to spend on expensive “the Office” themed gags. Of course, you’ll probably spend it more responsibly, but that’s up to you.
Not only can you save thousands out of your budget but you’ll free up your own time to pursue bigger deals if you onboard sales people more efficiently.
Let’s talk about how we came up with this idea of serious savings (for that party) and much more time for you. There’s a simple answer: Less hand-holding! Some sales organizations have the budget to do this with a full-scale learning management system for sales onboarding, like Brainshark. It’s an amazing product that includes a video coaching component, but you can get the benefits of video much more affordably with more basic video platforms.
Consider a sales department in a small to mid sized firm. A 30/60/90 day onboarding program for new sales people is standard industry practice, as Brian Groth details here. Some of that onboarding requires trainer and trainee to be in the same place at the same time. Organizing those meetings and sitting through them can be really painful. And expensive. So some sales teams have brought video into the equation.
But all this watching is pretty passive. How do managers know that the new people are actually learningfrom this. There’s research out there that says passively watching video doesn’t do much for learning. People need to engage cognitively with it to learn from it and they need to practice the stuff they’re supposed to be able to do; your new salespeople are no exception. You need sales mastery, so your people need to watch briefly, engage with the video content through dialogue, and then practice repeatedly.
If your new recruit is watching a youtube video and has a question or five, they’ll have to note it and wait until your precious meeting time to bring it up. Now imagine on-boarding five question-having, video-watching recruits at the same time!
Let’s do some math. We assume your trainees have two questions per video, and you’re simultaneously on-boarding 5 trainees.
We just calculated 25 hours of your manager’s time just due to inefficiency. Let’s think of that 25 hours in terms of money.
The average salary of regional sales manager in the USA is $79,847. Assuming your manager has a 40 hour work week and 48 working weeks (2 weeks vacation, 2 weeks sick), that’s $79,847/ year = $1,663.10 / week = $41.58 / hr.
So without enabling dialogue right within the video delivery platform you’d be spending $1039.67 on the manager’s hourly pay unnecessarily. But obviously, if you free up the manager to be productive for those 25 hours, and that’s worth a lot more. An experienced sales manager working on deals might bring in about $10,000 on average in 25 hours.
So over $1000 of base savings. And then $10,000 more in sales revenue.
But there are more savings to be found. The improved flow of feedback due to fewer in person meetings means that the onboarding period itself can become shorter. Sales people will be trained better and get working faster.
How much money would you save if a good video solutoin decreased your onboarding time by just 5%? Let’s do some math.
What if the efficiency gain from your video solution made your on boarding process take 5% less time? So as opposed to 90 days, training would take 85 days. When your new people are working full time for those extra five days, they’ll bring in close to $20,000.
That’s just from using technology more effectively as the new hires watch and engage with the video.
But you may still wonder how much they retain long-term and how they’ll react in real situations with customers and clients. It would be better to SEE them perform and react, right?
Many companies use simulations to see the new sales team member perform in a more realistic setting. But typically, sales simulations are done in-person with trainer and trainee. That’s also a logistical challenge, and WOW is it expensive.
There is. Here’s what you’d do:
What’s great about this process is that no-one has to be in the same place at the same time to do it. It’s not video AS a meeting, it’s video to REPLACE meetings and training sessions.
With a two-way video platform for discussion and practice, your team will learn and practice the skills they need when it’s convenient. Distributed teams can do this anywhere. Using WeVu to store and organize your team’s self-recorded video, you and other managers can really coach them. The magic of smartphone video is that you don’t have to be in the same place at the same time.
Feedback is widely accepted as a critical part of the learning process (Boud & Molloy, 2013). As many scholars indicate, feedback not only provides direction on what particular techniques the leraner needs to improve, but is essential for the student’s growth – boosting their confidence, increasing motivation and self-esteem (Clynes & Raftery, 2008). While the feedback itself may be provided in a variety of different ways, there has been a particular surge in the use of video-based feedback methods alongside video assignments to support learning and education in professional development and sporting environments. More recently, as Lauber & Keller (2014) discuss, the usage of such methods in conjunction with course material may be an exceptionally promising tool within the health sector for the practice and education of nurses. With the critical responsibility of caring for and treating patients (often in stressful situations), the nursing educational process is rigorous and complex. There are a variety of skills a nursing student must master in order to be effective in their career including clinical practice, communication skills, motivational interviewing skills and many more. Early research suggests that video assignments and feedback are being put to effective use to assist in the mastery of such skills. Consider the following cases evaluating the effects of video feedback on various skills taught to nurses.
A study conducted by Noordman, Vander Weijden and Van Dulmen (2010) examined the effects of individual video feedback on communication skills, clinical competence (adherence to practice guidelines), and interviewing skills of nurses working in primary care. The study involved 17 nurses and 325 patients in which nurse-patient consultations were video-taped at two sessions with an interval of 3-6 months. Before the recordings, nurses were allocated to a control or video-feedback group. Nurses allocated to the video-feedback group received video-feedback between the two sessions.
The results indicated that nurses who received video-feedback appeared to pay significantly more attention to patient’s request for help, to accuracy in their head-to-toe examination, and gave significantly more understandable information to the patient. Moreover, in regards to interview skills, nurses in the video-feedback group appeared to pay more attention to ‘agenda setting and permission seeking’ during their consultations. Effectively, the study demonstrated that video-feedback may be an effective method to improve the generic communication skills of practicing nurses in the health sector. “Although a single video-feedback session does not seem sufficient to increase all motivational interviewing skills, significant improvement in some specific skills was found.”
A full link to the study may be found here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24588648
A similar study was conducted by Grant, Moss, Epps, and Watts (2010) to evaluate the effect of video-facilitated human patient simulator (HPS) practice and guidance on a student’s clinical performance. Students were given various roles and were evaluated on behaviors related to patient safety, communication, prioritization of care, implementation of appropriate interventions and delegation other health care team members. The study had 20 students from nursing and nursing anesthetist programs who participated in HPS practice and guidance with video feedback compared to a group of 20 students who participated in HPS practice and guidance that used oral feedback alone, in order to identify performance indicators that were sensitive to improvement.
The study showed that there was a significant difference between the the intervention group exposed to video feedback and the control group on three of the desired simulation behaviours: patient identification, team communication, and assessing vital signs. The highest number of desired behaviors were exhibited by the intervention group. Although there were no huge differences between the intervention group exposed to video feedback and the control group in total performance scores, the mean scores on the desired simulation behaviors were higher in the former. This is great evidence that video-recording and feedback provides advantages in exactly the practices and skills that you would expect it to improve. Moreover, the students in the intervention group in this study expressed great satisfaction with the idea of viewing their performance on video and receiving feedback. We note that this was 2010, and the video recordings were not made available to the students on the internet and the feedback was not pinpointed to times on the videos, except by reference to the minute where it occurred.
A link to the full study may be found here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1876139909005325
A study was conducted by Anita Nystrom in 2014 on 44 undergraduate nursing students. The primary aim was to examine the experiences of nursing students being video-recorded during an examination and of receiving feedback on their performance. The examination involved providing proper and effective emergency care for a simulated patient. Descriptive in design, the study tested the effectiveness using a qualitative approach with written answers and open ended questions.
The study revealed a great deal about the usage of video-recordings and feedback. While some students reported feeling tension knowing that their examination would be recorded, many of the subjects felt the dialogue with and responses from the teacher in connection with visualized feedback were beneficial the process was an excellent learning opportunity for the process of emergency care. As reported by Nystrom
“The students described how this opened their eyes to their own actions, and that visualization provided an opportunity to increase self-knowledge, both as a person and regarding their role as a nurse. The video-recording allowed them to see clearly and reconnect to what they had done and what they had neglected to do, which enabled the students to prepare for their future professional role.”
A link to the full study may be found here: http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:648405/FULLTEXT03
Overall, these case studies demonstrate that within the health sector, video-recording and video based feedback are viable valuable educational tools which promote dialogue, increased self-knowledge and professional growth for nursing students. They are very effective in bolstering students’ communication and interview skills, their abilities with HPS, and their ability to handle an emergent situation. However, as with other professions, the effectiveness of the feedback is heavily dependent on the feedback process, and the ability of the instructor to provide timely criticisms. Giving students clear and constructive feedback on their work in progress is just as important as giving clear instructions for the assignment itself, and platforms like WeVu help provide a nuanced solution to this problem. The software not only allows for students to see what happened and learn from their experiences but also provides an effective outlet for instructors to give students feedback throughout the learning process. The accessibility of the video for student reflection, peer feedback, instructor coaching, and assessment – plus the comments appearing at the right time and place on the video – makes it even more likely that we will see learning gains from the use of video for skills learning.
The University of British Columbia’s School of Music used to do a lot of its administration and teaching using paper and email. Painful. The worst part was all the WAITING AROUND for students and teachers, waiting to practice, perform, and give feedback.
Traditional ways of teaching and working were wasting people’s time and students weren’t getting the learning benefits that are possible with some affordable technology. Now that students can record great video and good audio anywhere on their phones, learning and auditions have changed at UBC.
Music students, perhaps more than any others, need to observe themselves and reflect on their playing, singing, and musicianship. But in the ever-increasing rush of student life, faculty were noticing that students just weren’t reflecting carefully on their practice. It was into one class and out the other side, without reflection time and crucial one-on-one teaching time. When students and instructors tried to take the time to do so, it involved taking notes and using paper-based self-reflections or email feedback. It couldn’t be shared easily and students didn’t look at it more than once. Sometimes it became apparent that a student didn’t actually believe the teacher’s critique of some aspect of their playing! The School realized they needed a user-friendly video recording and feedback system.
After sitting down with UBC Music’s Director of Bands, Professor Rob Taylor, we heard about a number of drawbacks to traditional text-based communication – paper and email — in music education. But there didn’t appear to be an obvious, affordable, viable solution. First, it was difficult to find an easy, standardized way of recording student rehearsal both in and outside class. Professors and students thought they’d need sophisticated camera equipment or at least a DSLR. Then there was the problem of how to share the video between professor and student. USB drives weren’t practical. Uploading to YouTube had its security and privacy issues and then the professor would have to deal with a bunch of indistinguishable YouTube links. Even with a recording, students’ paper based self reflection was not as fruitful as Taylor expected. Dr. Taylor told us: “I was pretty convinced that [students] weren’t actually watching the videos, or at least, they weren’t watching as carefully as they should. They would recall the live feedback they’d received in class that day and regurgitate those critiques on paper as their “self-reflection.” This was not a problem we wanted to leave unsolved.
Taylor told us the School had another problem: Video auditions from around the world. The School wanted to be able to recruit from anywhere. For a while, applicants would send in DVDs and CDs. Then, with YouTube, they could get recorded and send a link. But organizing all those links and getting them to faculty for review was cumbersome and unreliable.
To address these issues, the School turned to WeVu, a video platform with easy uploading, organization by classes or by instrument/section for auditions, totally flexible permission for viewing videos, and commenting on the timeline of the video. Taylor set up his Conducting course so all students could see each other’s practice, but other professors set up their courses so only the instructor, TA, and student can see a given student’s videos. That solved the sharing problem perfectly.
They realized they could record the conducting with any camera or any smartphone. That was a real breakthrough, as students could record themselves privately or help each other to do so – inside or outside class and the school! The school bought a couple of good microphones for phones to lend to students.
Finally, they needed a way to replace paper- or email-based commenting, coaching, and self-reflection. According to Taylor, the software “allowed [instructors] to respond right at the key moments to what they see in the videos rather than watching the whole thing at once and then writing up a reflective statement afterwards. Now that the students write responses on their individually recorded videos on WeVu, right on the timeline of the video, I’ve seen a complete change in the level and quality of reflection that they produce.” WeVu’s time-stamped comments and discussion added more depth and students really do watch their video – it becomes very difficult not to engage in deep self reflection when every second of one’s playing can be addressed and scrutinized. And as much as anything, Taylor could make sure students were reflecting on their practice because he could see the comments they were making, anytime, from anywhere.
WeVu.video is a simple, affordable web application that allows students to film themselves on their phone or laptop and receive incredibly detailed feedback. Time stamped comments from faculty diagnose performance down to the second. In addition, your activity on WeVu is centralized, secure, and LMS-compatible. The software seamlessly integrates to your current curriculum and will make make learning more efficient.
We asked Rob Taylor what effect WeVu had on his UBC conducting students when it was all said and done. He told us “It’s had an incredibly positive effect on my classes and it’s revolutionized the School of Music admission process. There isn’t a lot to worry about in terms of student reception, because they actually find it way more intuitive than we do thanks to all the different technologies they use on an everyday basis. I think it’s a really powerful tool.”
In addition to revolutionizing the way UBC Music conducted homework and assignments, WeVu has big implications for music admissions. Music schools miss out on top talent if they don’t accept video auditions. In person auditions are just too expensive for some schools and lots of students. As the race for student talent becomes increasingly international and competitive, schools need to expand the scope of their admissions and accept video auditions. But how? WeVu streamlines the application process for the performing arts by collecting students’ videos, transcripts, and recommendations and centralizing them in a secure online hub. The applications can be shared to groups of just the right faculty members who can easily comment on the auditions and score them using the same WeVu technology. Check out our Music Applications animated video here.
A few tech-savvy youth sports coaches have found a new way to use video to help athletes develop and perform better. You’ll find out what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, what technology they’re using, and get some tips on how to put it into action yourself.
Many youth sports coaches think of video the way the pros use it: for watching and analyzing games or performances. But most of us don’t have time for that and it’s not going to pay off in a big way for kids as they develop.
What most coaches haven’t realized is that they can use video – in particular their players’ phone video cameras – to assign video homework. Video homework isn’t what you might think. It doesn’t mean that athletes watch video and learn. (Kids generally won’t even watch what you ask them to watch.)No, the homework they can be doing involves repeated, focused practice on the technical skills they need in their sport. The video part is that they record themselves on phones and upload to their team site for the coach to check that they’ve done it and, occassionally, provide pinpoint feedback. In doing so the athletes can get individual training that helps each one improve on her or his weaknesses.
Most important for the coaches, you don’t have to use precious training time to have your young athletes doing individual skills practice they can do at home. They’re only together at your team training time – so why waste time on simple, repetitive individual activities then?
Athletes are always looking for ways to improve, and one of a coach’s most important jobs is to help them get better. Coaches tend to focus on areas of improvement needed by an entire team. This often leads to neglecting to develop each individual with the individualized practice that they need. This isn’t the fault of the coach. After all, coaches are dealing with 10, 15, 20, even 30 players at a time. It’ll take forever to go player by player and watch them practice and fix what needs to be fixed. With today’s technology however, coaches can find ways to help individuals more easily than they ever could in the past.
When watching film as a team or as an individual, athletes have a tendency to focus on their highlights and gloss over things that could be improved. However, though looking at highlights is necessary sometimes to boost confidence, athletes would be well served to work on areas of their game that they can improve. By taking a coach’s instructions and applying them to their training, an athlete can vastly improve their technical ability. Doing this through video homework is a time-efficient way of making this happen.
In the last decade, teams of researchers worldwide have looked at video feedback in sports. Their results have been unanimously positive in showing the benefits of the use of video to record skills practice. The biggest payoff for coaches and their players is that the coach can make sure the practice actually happens! Players self-record on phones and upload. It’s that easy. The coach only has to watch a fraction of it; just a quick glance to check that the player was doing the skill that was assigned.
Coaches and their players need a private site where video can be uploaded and organized. It’s a lot like video assignments in art schools or for business presentation training. The coach can define an Assignment– like bringing down a high ball in soccer, or bumping a volleyball, or a step-back move in basketball – and then players submit the phone-camera recordings of themselves to that electronic ‘hand-in box’. The coach can go through the videos super-fast, one-by-one, or just get a report that they’ve been submitted.
The next step, if the coach can take the time, is nudging the players to see what they’re not doing properly and gently asking them to try again. With some video platforms like WeVu, but not Hudl, you can be watching an athlete-recorded video, pause it by clicking in a comment box, make a comment that sticks right to that time and place on the video, and the video resumes. (That’s also awesome if you are doing game analysis!). Players really appreciate this personal touch. Players can join in and ask questions or respond to the coach’s pointers.
Start small. Think of the one individual skill where you think your players need most practice. Ask them to do it at home, at the park, in the gym for five minutes. And then another five minutes with their phone recording it. If you’ve got a WeVu for Athletes site, you just send them the account creation link, they make an account, and they can upload the video right away. They can even have private videos just for their own review and decided whether or not to share them to the coach.
It’s great if the coach can take a peek at these videos before the next practice/training session so that you can encourage the players that their effort is great and will pay off on the field or the court!