How one charity used Learnosity to develop critical thinking skills in young learners
The story of how the Alannah & Madeline Foundation used immersive, gamified learning experiences to reach young people
The Alannah & Madeline Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to keeping children and young people free from harm. The Foundation’s eSmart Digital Licence+ is an innovative, online learning experience that helps build digital intelligence in students aged 10-14 years, preparing them to handle the opportunities and challenges found online.
“We were looking for an all-in-one assessment package,” says Jim Feutrill, Project Manager at the Foundation. “We needed capabilities in content authoring, assessment delivery, reporting, and multi-region cloud hosting. With the Digital Licence+, we wanted to have a global reach, with implementation strategies in place for Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines as well. We needed to use a technology solution that enabled that mission and that’s where Learnosity came into play.”
- Customizable UX to create engaging learning experiences
- Simplified authoring interface
- Wide variety of question experiences
- Actionable insights for continuous improvement of content
Helping young people become positive digital citizens
The Foundation wanted to design an intervention tool to tackle a growing social need: to help today’s youth, the most digitally connected generation ever, maintain a healthy relationship with the online world. Technology is playing an even bigger role in young people’s lives, with the internet facilitating their education, play, and social connectedness.
With such prevalent use of technology, young people are now presented with a whole host of new challenges: cyber bullying, encounters with hateful or discriminatory content, and unhealthy usage habits.
“There’s a real need to address these challenges,” says Jim. “And that’s why the Foundation has sought to develop a program that gives children and young people the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to deal with these kinds of challenges, but also to make the most of the opportunities that the online world gives them as well. We know that not every experience on technology is bad, but through education we can encourage young people to use tech in a prosocial way.”
The Foundation decided to address this social need by partnering with the DQ Institute, global thought leaders in the digital intelligence space, to ensure that the program was evidence-based. However, its vision was ambitious and it lacked the in-house technical resources to develop the program alone.
In order to create this online learning experience, the team quickly realized that all of their assessment requirements could be met by Learnosity—having previously used its technology in their eSmart Media Literacy Lab.
Young people are used to these super immersive online experiences—they’re spending hours playing mind-blowing stuff like Fortnite or Minecraft… So if we’re going to create an online experience for them, we have to make it as engaging as possible.
Project Manager at the Alannah & Madeline Foundation
UX that connects
With an extensive array of white-label question experiences and powerful analytical capabilities, Learnosity allowed the Foundation to build an engaging learning product that they could continuously improve. From an intervention design perspective, Learnosity’s gold-standard assessment engine enabled the Foundation to supercharge its assessment capacity.
“Learnosity has dozens of question types,” says Jim. “When we were looking at designing learning experiences we wanted the activities to be engaging, so having so many different question types was really valuable for the learner. It enabled us to create some highly engaging activities. For example, the hotspot question type enabled us to turn fake phishing scams into a clickable assessment question, to see how well students could identify the different features of a scam. But the Digital Licence+ isn’t just about building digital intelligence, it’s also about being able to measure progress in learning as well. It’s really about knowing that we’re making an impact.”
Digital Licence+ was made even more impactful by adding the capacity to personalize the learning experience. Via the platform’s dashboard, teachers had the capacity to unlock levels of each module early for individual students who demonstrated more advanced digital intelligence than their peers. By giving teachers this freedom, learners enjoyed a more engaging assessment experience that was neither too easy nor too difficult for their ability level.
Flexibility for UX designers
The Foundation understood the expectations of modern learners, who need a compelling, immersive digital experience in order to hold their attention. That’s why it also partnered with Two Moos, a family-friendly video game company that’s previously worked with the likes of Disney and Sesame Street, to design a look and feel for Digital Licence+ that appeals to a new generation of learners.
“Young people are used to these super immersive online experiences—they’re spending hours playing mind-blowing stuff like Fortnite or Minecraft,” says Jim. “That’s the world that young people live in. So if we’re going to create an online experience for them, we have to make it as engaging as possible. We believe that engagement is a key component of a successful learning experience. That’s why there are gamified elements to this program, such as the need to earn four badges to get your digital licence.”
Learnosity’s critical functionality could power assessment excellence behind that experience, while offering Two Moos a blank canvas with limitless creative possibilities on the front-end.
“Having the capacity to author content and make changes to it on an ongoing basis, without the need for any kind of technical expertise, was really important for us,” says Jim. “But at the same time, we wanted to make something that looks awesome for learners. And we wanted to get these game developers to build it.”
The content that we’re producing is supposed to be delivering a positive social impact, so having the tools to be able to constantly monitor and improve the impact that we’re having was exceptional.
Project Manager at the Alannah & Madeline Foundation
Having officially launched in June 2022, the eSmart Digital Licence+ is already making a big impact: to date, approximately 500 schools have registered and 29,000 students enrolled for the program. But that’s just the beginning for the Foundation.
“We want to make this program available to as many children and young people as we can,” says Jim. “Our mission is to deliver the Digital Licence+ globally.”
Part of that mission is trying to help bridge the digital divide for students in low socio-economic areas, primarily in Australia, but also in New Zealand and the Philippines. In New Zealand, the program also includes a supplementary Māori language resource to support culturally and linguistically diverse students’ engagement with the program.
In order to extend its reach and maximize its impact, the eSmart Digital Licence+ program needs to continuously refine its content—and Learnosity offers an advanced analytics feature to support that objective.
“I’ve been really geeking out on item analysis lately,” says Jim. “Being able to analyze individual items to understand how each assessment question is landing with learners is an incredibly powerful tool, because we’re constantly trying to improve the product. The content that we’re producing is supposed to be delivering a positive social impact, so having the tools to be able to constantly monitor and improve the impact that we’re having was exceptional.”
About the Foundation
The Alannah & Madeline Foundation is an Australian not-for-profit organization dedicated to keeping children and young people free from violence and trauma wherever they live, learn, and play.