4 Ways to Measure the Impact of Digtial Learning
Technology has changed just about every field, including education. Digital learning is reshaping education in unprecedented ways. How students learn is changing rapidly thanks to technology, and both students and teachers will benefit from it.
There are several specific changes that we can expect to see as digital learning takes over education. For one, the way teachers present information and how students work with that information has changed. Students are asked to be more hands-on and collaborative than ever before. There are also new skills that students must learn, such as digital literacy. Many teachers know that digital learning is important, and they know how to implement it into their classrooms, but they do not know how to measure its true impact on student learning.
When it comes to measuring the impact of digital learning, there are several metrics which school districts should be focusing on:
Outcomes. Outcomes can be separated into short, medium and long-term. Short-term results might include new opportunities for learning or a change to how teachers are assessed or developed. Medium-term results involve changes in school culture or the responsibilities of faculty and students, such as an increasing focus on project-based learning. Long-term results will typically be the consequences of medium-term shifts – ideally, an overall increase in student achievement.
Before rolling out this new product, decide on a number. How much would test scores need to increase for the product to be worth what it costs? After all, a product that only marginally improves outcomes while costing your school thousands of dollars isn’t worth as much as a cheaper product that produces a more substantial increase in scores. This same logic can be applied to any EdTech product. Decide on a metric that can be used to measure the product’s success and pick a firm standard the product needs to meet to offset its cost.
Feedback. This feedback can, and should, come from all areas; administrators, teachers, and students. The short and medium-term outcomes recorded by those implementing certain tools might not match up to how they experienced and used by educators and students on the ground, which is where feedback becomes particularly useful. Some of the questions which can be asked to solicit feedback include: Have there been functional changes in teaching? Is learning relevant and engaging? Are students experiencing greater agency? Are their critical thinking skills improving?
Teacher Approval. There are other factors that must be considered, too. Teacher approval is important to the success of edtech products. If a product is producing some results, but teachers don’t like the product, it’s not always worth it. Dissatisfied teachers are less likely to use a product faithfully. Teachers are also the experts in their classrooms, and their opinions should be strongly considered when measuring the success of digital learning products.
Ease of Use. Finally, the ease of use with any product should be taken into consideration. Digital learning products that are difficult to use or buggy, no matter how great they are in theory, are rarely going to be successful. If a product or program cannot be faithfully used, there is little chance it will provide the desired outcome.
What do you think? Did we miss any? If so, let us know in the comments below