The fast-growing edtech market and the explosion of new digital learning products is generating enormous competition. But what factors differentiate these products and truly makes one better than the other?
- The edtech market is growing rapidly, with investment in education technology companies increasing from $7 billion in 2019 to $20.8 billion in 2021.
- Taskbase believes that the ability to generate learning outcomes is the No. 1 success factor of a learning product.
- The quality of content, didactic concept, and adaptivity are the three main factors that lead to learning outcomes in learning applications.
- The Taskbase Feedback Engine is able to give off-the-shelf feedback in the form of learning advice, evaluations, and statistics. This personalized feedback is similar to 1:1 coaching by a teacher, thus increasing the learning outcome of each learner.
- By easily integrating the ready-made Taskbase API, customers are able to bring products with higher learner outcomes to market much faster and pay a fraction of what it would cost to develop them in-house.
At Taskbase, we believe the ability to generate learning outcomes is the No. 1 success factor of a learning product.
The trend of digital learning is rapidly accelerating. In fact, worldwide, more than 50 percent of the time spent learning new things takes place in front of a computer rather than with a book or teacher. Not surprisingly, this has led to a massive increase in new learning applications. Investment in education technology companies skyrocketed from $7 billion in 2019 to $20.8 billion in 2021. The market is expected to grow up to $230 billion in the next five years.
There are now learning apps available for every subject and every level. If you want to learn an exotic language like Nepali, use Ling. If you want to learn about a specific subject like sex education, download the KNOWBODY app. If you want to learn to code, you go to Coursera. The reason these apps exist is to teach you something. If you don’t learn anything, the program hasn’t served its purpose.
This means that learning applications need to keep consumers engaged, just like Netflix or YouTube. People tend to learn better when they are motivated, and a user-friendly application is more appealing to learners. It should be exciting and include functionalities that make learning enjoyable. If users aren’t satisfied with their learning outcome over a period of time, they will switch to another app or forget about learning goals altogether.
So, how do digital learning applications improve learning outcomes? In this article, we explore three factors that influence impactful learning outcomes, and discuss the importance of these factors in building lasting products.
Three factors that drive learning outcomes
We believe the factors that lead to learning outcomes in learning applications fall into three main categories: quality of content, didactic concept, and adaptivity. In addition, the general quality, usability, and availability of the applications are key to its success as well.
1. Quality of learning content
Learning content should be appropriate for the skill level of the learners. If the content is too easy or too hard, learners may quickly lose interest. However, the difficulty of the content should increase as the course progresses or change based on learning objectives. For example, if a learner masters a basic concept, they might move on to more challenging content and more rigorous learning objectives.
In a similar vein, the content must also be relevant to the subject being taught. If the content deviates from the subject matter or doesn’t fully capture key concepts, it will be hard to ensure learners are truly meeting learning objectives.
Depending on the subject being taught, different types of media and exercises can be used and aligned with one another. It is important to remember that not all learning concepts appeal to all learners in the same way. This can result in varied learning outcomes. That’s why content can be such a differentiating factor in learning applications—generic content may alienate a subset of learners, whereas diverse content types will likely capture a wider audience.
Image: The app Brilliant masters interactive problem solving with a large variety of carefully crafted content. Source https://brilliant.org/.
2. Didactic concept of the application
Depending on the intended learning scenario, application providers need to choose a didactic concept. For example, if the application is mainly used in class, we recommend applying a linear system. This way, the teacher can work through the material step-by-step and always know where learners are.
In self-learning, on the other hand, it is indispensable that students can self-select between different tasks. This allows them to learn according to their individual mastery of the subject.
Moreover, it is critical to choose an approach that is appropriate to the level of the learner and the topic. Children interact better with a concept that includes a playful component, while in adult education a business-relevant concept will achieve more success.
It so happens that there are numerous application scenarios, and many more will be added in the future. A learning application will never follow a generic player of learning content, an app must always be tailored to the chosen field of action.
Image: The app Brilliant masters interactive problem solving with fine tuned didactical concepts on the task and session level. Source https://brilliant.org/.
3. Adaptivity of the app
We define adaptivity as an application’s reaction to an interaction with a learner. This interaction may take the form of generating statistics about the learner’s progress that are displayed to the learner, a teacher, or parents. Or, an interaction may be learning advice or recommended tasks within the learning program.
In the past, adaptivity options were limited. But with the latest developments in artificial intelligence, adaptivity possibilities have grown exponentially. As a result, adaptivity has become a key driver of generating learning outcomes. Today, almost every learning application developer is toying with the idea of creating adaptive learning environments.
Image: The publisher Klett Switzerland didactically achieves language comprehension, grammar and spelling on the individual task level with Taskbase’s Feedback Engine. Source https://www.klett.ch/digione/.
How Taskbase enables digital learning products to improve learning outcomes
At Taskbase, we specialize in adaptivity and supporting learning applications to integrate adaptivity into current and future products. We summarize all application responses and respond to learner interactions with the app as feedback. Therefore, we call our product Feedback Engine.
The Taskbase Feedback Engine® is able to give off-the-shelf feedback in the form of learning advice, evaluations, and statistics. This personalized feedback is similar to 1:1 coaching by a teacher, thus increasing the learning outcome of each learner.