Collaboration is edtech’s evolutionary advantage
We launched the Learnosity Partner Network less than a year ago. It’s since grown into a dynamic community that includes content experts as well as tech vendors.
Traditionally speaking, education has been a slow burner for change. The educational environment is one that aims for stability above all else. Yet the needs of the tens of millions of students passing through the US education system each year are forever changing because the world they live in is changing. And fast.
Modernizing education is going to take a lot more than throwing a glut of shiny-new tech products at overburdened teachers. In fact, forcing change is more likely add to the problem by exacerbating educators’ sense of reform fatigue. Without an anchor, too much choice tends to amount to no more than chaos.Modernizing education is going to take a lot more than throwing a glut of shiny-new tech products at overburdened teachers. Click To Tweet
A better way of ensuring positive outcomes for edtech users and innovators would surely be to provide a clear sense of order, simplicity, transparency, and trust.
Higher-quality input results in higher-quality output
It was along such lines that we first conceived of the idea to set up a Partner Network, which we launched in May 2017. The goal was to create a centralizing hub of edtech offerings that would promote industry collaboration and ensure higher-quality outputs for end users. Our thinking was that if you manage to get the best to work with the best, then ideas, technologies, and features will evolve and expand in the cross-pollination.
That’s why we started out referring to the Partner Network internally as a living “edtech ecosystem”. To kick things off, we created three distinct tiers:
1. Item Banks
Enables Learnosity clients to offer world-class curriculum content to their users instantaneously. Also allows item bank providers dramatically expand their market reach by connecting with the growing list of organizations using Learnosity APIs. Writing and delivering the content via Learnosity makes deployment seamless.
2. Technical & Feature
This tier offers a route to access partners’ area-specific expertise to build upon Learnosity’s extensible Authoring, Assessment, and Analytics products. Partners here can also help add new functionalities, improve accessibility, strengthen user support or increase the products’ interactivity.
3. Customization & Integration
The Customization & Integration tier helps connect customers with top-class integration partners to make implementing Learnosity’s API as seamless as possible. Partners occupying this tier can also create bespoke features to help improve existing products.
But as with natural ecosystems, the Partner Network was always meant to be dynamic, changing shape in tune with the shifting contours of the environments it straddled – namely, education and technology.
However, since the launch of the Partner Network, it’s fair to say that the focus has leaned towards the tech side of the edtech equation. This isn’t a surprise given that our goal at Learnosity is to raise the standard of technology that’s available in education – or, as we put it in our mission statement: “Make a difference by providing the cutting-edge technology that education deserves.”
Customized content: Evolving the edtech ecosystem
But even the best technology in the world won’t add up to much if it’s not being used to support and deliver great educational content. And so the Partner Network has evolved to add a fourth tier: Custom content creation.
For product owners, the Content tier puts the “ed” in edtech by connecting them with subject-matter experts and agencies with a wealth of experience creating interactive and engaging content across topics and learning levels. The aim is to build a trove of top-quality content creators who can provide solutions that are tailored for all kinds of learners – from K-12 students to professionals looking to upskill through specialized corporate training material.Our partners are the best in their respective fields; the Partner Network exists to expand the range of what’s possible for each one of them. Click To Tweet
We know that no single edtech offering can be all things to all people. Trying to do so only adds cost for the product owner and decreases value for the end user (as we’ve discussed in a previous post). That’s why another, less official, mantra of ours is “do one thing and do it extremely well”.
We know that sophistication begins with simplicity. We’re not content creators at Learnosity, so why confuse educators by pretending that we are? Why offer an inferior product when we could work with someone else in providing a superlative one? Our partners are the best in their respective fields, and the Learnosity Partner Network is there to expand the range of what’s possible for each one.
Ecosystems tend to be complex, but their function is relatively straightforward. By constantly adapting to patterns of disturbance they achieve a kind of balance. Responding well to the environment around them is how they continue to survive and thrive.