Learning technologies aren’t making a difference in classrooms. To change that, focus on how they are used.

June 30, 2021
Ryan Baker at the front of a classroom gesturing toward information projected onto a screen.

There are dozens of new education-focused learning systems to choose from each year, but many end up shelved after initial use or don’t lead to actual impact on student learning. Writing in Edtech Digest, Ryan Baker, who studies how data can better be used to study and improve online learning, points to the comparative lack of time that companies invest in implementation planning compared to development, a problem that came up time and again in conversations with leading learning engineering thinkers. “[T]hat needs to change if the field is ever going to fully realize its potential to improve outcomes for students,” he writes.

Baker says that when developing a new technology for use in education, companies should think about questions like:

-       How much should it be used?

-       What should it be used for?

-       How should teachers interact with students as they use it?

-       What data should teachers be given, and in what form?

-       How should teachers use the data in their practice?

“[B]y studying how teachers use our systems, re-designing them to support best practices, and upgrading teacher professional development to scale these best practices, we can improve the implementation and use of educational technology, produce better learning for students now, and put students on a better trajectory towards success,” Baker concludes.

For more of Baker’s takeaways, visit Edtech Digest.