Successful institutional-wide adoption of personalized learning models are rare, but achievable, with the support of the right educational technology and—more importantly—environment.
Just as there is no one-size fits all pedagogical approach for student learning, there is no single educational technology platform serving as a panacea for for all educational environments across the world. Administrators and educators are aware of this but many continue using a trial, error, and replace approach to find the right platform. A survey of academic institutions with the greatest success adopting and integrating educational technology demonstrates that the most important factors are not related to the external platforms, but the internal environment.
Academic institutions with successful institution-wide adoption of education technology share the following three factors:
Vision and patience
Successful implementation of a personalized learning technology across an institution is a two-to-three year process. Integration—technologically and socially—does not occur immediately, and it will encounter a number of setbacks during the transition. Unfortunately, many institutions give up after experiencing setbacks within the first year, instead trying another platform with the same approach while expecting different results.
Successful institutions avoid this by designating an internal champion and developing an internal multi-year plan. The champion—an educator or staff member—will have a clear vision for the platform and act as the primary point-of-contact between the education technology company and the academic institution. The development of a multi-year plan will assist in dealing with technical and administrative setbacks, while keeping faculty and staff at all levels across the institution on message and informed.
Two-way symmetrical communication
Open and transparent communication between education technology providers, academic administrators, and educators is integral for successful implementation.
Provide educators and staff who will be using the technology with dedicated on-site training delivered by either a representative of the education technology company or the institution champion. After the training, ensure there is an open channel for communication between academic staff and the educational technology company to ensure any integration and troubleshooting issues can be resolved quickly and expediently.
Regular data analysis
Encourage educators to regularly analyze and act upon classroom data. A weekly analysis may help educators identify where students and struggling, allowing them to intervene more effectively through individual support or by dedicating more time in lecture to specific subject matter.
Before adopting a new educational technology, ensure your institution has these three factors in place. These three environmental factors may make implementation much smoother and potentially more cost-effective.
About the Author: Dustin is a senior account manager with DesignedUX, providing communications and strategy to organizations in education and technology. Dustin is also board member of the Canadian Public Relations Society and contributes as a communications researcher with McMaster University.