As you may (or may not) be aware, September the 8th is International Literacy Day (ILD), dedicated to reminding the world of the importance of literacy and raising awareness and support for those lacking literacy skills. Today, as new research from the National Literacy Trust indicates fewer children are reading every day than since records began, it’s a message that’s never been more relevant.
As COVID-19 creates new challenges, distances and barriers to be overcome by students improving their literacy and the educators helping them, we believe that eLearning solutions hold greater potential than ever to make a difference. That’s why we thought we’d celebrate International Literacy Day by showing you some recent work we’re very proud of.
Building a new platform for Explore Learning
When Explore Learning tasked us with developing their new eLearning system, we had an opportunity to bring new levels of insight to their educational processes that could be of real value to the organization, parents, and the students themselves.
Our expertise with Microsoft Power BI would enable Explore to leverage all their previously untapped learning data in order to innovate, improve and empower students and educators. With a new, data-driven eLearning solution, they could gain far deeper insight into students’ progress and needs. That would allow them to tailor students’ education more effectively and Explore would also be able to better communicate how students were doing to their parents.
But, when it comes to literacy, as in all facets of education, words like ‘progress’ and ‘achievement’ are only part of the story. Explore’s new eLearning system also needed to foster a love of reading.
Not just building literacy but nurturing readers
Explore’s English tuition helps students to improve their literacy, as a valuable skill for their academic and personal lives. But developing an aptitude for language requires independent study and practice – and this self-exploration of the written word is best driven by personal enjoyment. That’s the difference between being able to read and being a reader.
Every educator wants to develop readers. But it’s easy to become disheartened when learning a new skill is difficult, especially one such as literacy, where so much depends on independent learning. There are many factors that could potentially dissuade a budding reader if they aren’t addressed appropriately.
The potential pitfalls of a reading journey
If the material they’re reading is too difficult, learners can quickly become frustrated. If it’s too easy, they aren’t challenged and become bored. What’s more, if their progress isn’t recognised and praised, that can also result in a loss of motivation.
It’s a delicate balancing act. Bad experiences during the formative stages of literacy can put someone off reading for life, but with the right individual attention and nurturing, as well as the right reading materials at the right times, you can turn it around. And that’s where data-driven eLearning solutions can have perhaps their biggest impact.
Using data to find each student’s best path
Explore Learning’s new eLearning system Compass is an adaptive tool that analyses each student’s learning history, including the tasks they’ve been set and the results. It’s then able to use this data to pitch work that’s on the correct level for the student’s ability: not too difficult, not too easy, and just challenging enough to keep them interested and learning new things.
Unlike learning in a class of others, where everyone is expected to follow at the same pace and keep up with the rest, this is more of a one-to-one, non-linear learning journey. Students follow their own paths, designed to be appropriate for their stage of learning, focussing on the areas they need help with, and developing their literacy in the way that’s best for them.
Building confidence and a better approach to learning
Together with Explore Learning, we also developed a system within Compass for rewarding students for their own specific achievements. Instead of being congratulated on merely answering a set of questions correctly, for instance, they’re rewarded for the concepts they’re mastering – for instance if it’s noticed that a student has made great progress in spelling during an exercise, or grammar, or comprehension. This is far more meaningful for pupils and gives them a better idea of their own progress.
And as well as the sense of achievement that literacy and other educational accomplishments bring, Explore are keen to help pupils build greater confidence – both in terms of their education and their lives as a whole. Students earn ‘Fearless Learning’ points when they display positive learning behaviours such as persevering with a tough question, asking for more help if they need it, or speaking up more in lessons.
During these uncertain and turbulent times, education has an especially vital role in nurturing confidence and providing stability, as well as providing important skills and knowledge. Explore Learning’s Caroline Maccherini says it best: “We hope that Compass will help our tutors give children the building blocks of literacy that they need to be fearless learners and really love reading.”
More fearless learners and new eLearning solutions
So, there you have it. Explore Learning can now encourage and nurture literacy, harnessing data to deliver nuanced, tailored learning experiences that are designed to be as engaging and productive for each individual student as possible. We’re glad we were able to play a part in making it happen.
At the time of writing, Compass is being trialled at two Explore Learning centres, with the aim of a full nationwide rollout before the end of 2020. By next International Literacy Day, students, parents and Explore staff at centres at more than 120 locations across the UK will be benefiting from their new data-driven eLearning solution.
Whatever changes, challenges and opportunities appear in the future, we’re looking forward to using our eLearning expertise to help educators and the ‘fearless learners’ of tomorrow. We can’t wait to get started.
Want help to develop your own eLearning solution, or assistance with a technology project to help your business? Get in touch with Talk Think Do today. We’ll be glad to discuss the possibilities.