The Christensen Institute

Why personalized learning is hard to study

The Christensen Institute

This week saw the release of the third in a series of personalized learning studies conducted by the RAND Foundation. The research analyzed implementation, survey, and efficacy data in a sample of schools that are part of the Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) portfolio, and compared that data to a national sample of schools. The findings? NGLC schools yielded some positive academic results, but educators and administrators reported numerous challenges.

5 big ideas for education innovation in 2018

The Christensen Institute

Last year saw a flurry of activity in support of personalized learning, new school designs, and new approaches to K-12 education policy. Looking ahead, education innovators have their work cut out for them in 2018. Some of this work requires asking hard questions. Some requires acknowledging that there’s an elephant in the room. And some requires looking beyond our current conversation to where the next waves of innovation stand to emerge.

Should schools ban spiral notebooks?

The Christensen Institute

From the first-hand experiences of millions of students and teachers worldwide, it’s clear that paper notebooks are a deterrent to quality education. For generations, students have used them in class to scribble or doodle, pass messages to their friends, or construct wads, planes, and spitball projectiles. Given the numerous ways students can use their notebooks to derail learning, it’s a wonder that most schools still permit them in class, right? Hold on a sec.

Understanding this about Taiwan will help more foreign aid projects succeed

The Christensen Institute

Taiwan’s relationship with foreign aid provides an excellent example of how aid can lead to sustainable development outcomes. In 1949 Taiwan was very poor. It had gained its independence from Japan after World War II, but simultaneously lost its largest trading partner—Japan. As such, the tiny island of roughly eight million people found itself in a politically liberating, but economically precarious, situation.

5 Costly Inventory Management Mistakes Schools Should Avoid

If your school is like most, inventory and/or asset management plays a critical role in daily operations.

Congress should prioritize innovation in higher ed. Here are three ways it can.

The Christensen Institute

Washington D.C. is slowly turning its attention to higher education. In December, on a party-line vote, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce released the PROSPER Act , a bill to update the Higher Education Act for the first time since 2008. The Higher Education Act (HEA), first passed in 1965, outlines federal higher education policy, including federal financial aid eligibility, teacher preparation programs, and how the federal government holds colleges accountable.

Pushing the Limits on Instagram in 2018

The Christensen Institute

Join the Instagram party and be sure to know your limits. Instagram limits can be deceiving and rewarding. Ready to get the most out of Instagram for your brand? Join the crowd of about 1 billion others who made Instagram the fastest growing social network in history.

Show me the evidence: Do new staffing arrangements actually work?

The Christensen Institute

As future-thinking schools experiment with ways to personalize learning—such as blended, project-based, exploratory, and mastery-based learning—it seems only logical that they also reconsider how they organize their instructional teams. This hypothesis guided our research with Public Impact over the last year, and culminated in a white paper released last month.

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The other gap that schools aren’t talking about—relationships

The Christensen Institute

T he NAEP scores released in April set off a flurry of headlines about the sobering state of achievement gaps across the nation. The general consensus? Despite pockets of promise , and slight declines in gaps by race, achievement data reveal that gaps by income have remained relatively flat, or uneven at best. The news for young people on the wrong side of these gaps, however, may be worse.

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Are computer labs a thing of the past? Not so fast.

The Christensen Institute

Recently, an education leader remarked to me that “the concept of a computer lab is obsolete”. The comment surprised me. In our blended learning research at the Christensen Institute, we see schools implement blending learning using technology along a wide spectrum, from a lab of desktops to 1:1 hand-held devices, 3D printers, VR headsets, and more. We also observe that at the end of the day, technology isn’t the most important component of a strong blended-learning program.

Assessing exports through the lens of innovation

The Christensen Institute

Exports are often seen as a solution to the problem of sustained economic development, and indeed they can be. The East Asian Tigers—Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea—are perhaps the most commonly cited nations that have risen from poverty to prosperity primarily through exports. Yet at the Christensen Institute, we think about exports and how these nations developed slightly differently.

Success at Innovative Schools Hinges on Helping Students Transition

The Christensen Institute

Malaina is a current high school student who decided to homeschool in order to expand her learning by blending interdisciplinary, real world, and academic-focused learning. Her work has been published by Education Next, The Mercury News, and the Bluefire literary journal. . Innovative schools are on the rise across the world and are transforming the way we think about K–12 education. These schools are no longer following the traditional model of education.

What every healthcare manager should ask before hopping on the integration bandwagon

The Christensen Institute

It’s rare to read past a healthcare headline these days without encountering the word “integration” in some phrase or other, from vertical or horizontal integration; to clinical, economic or data integration. And the word’s ubiquity makes sense. Everything about U.S. healthcare is complex, from the problems it’s required to solve and the fragmented “system” through which care is funded and delivered, to the regulations intended to promote care quality, cost effectiveness and access.

Where is the magic kingdom for nontraditional learners?

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Disney has reigned as the premier brand in kids & family entertainment for decades, since its founding in 1923. Despite having raised ticket prices by 6% over the past ten years, Disney has seen record-breaking attendance. At the end of 2017, Disney made headlines for having to temporarily close its premier theme park in Orlando, Florida, having already filled the parks to capacity.

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Personalized learning won’t work without personalized supports

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Last week’s New York Times Fixes column highlighted the enormous promise of PowerMyLearning, a framework and tool that connects teachers, families, and students. The approach marks a departure from run-of-the-mill family engagement strategies like infrequent parent-teacher conferences or once yearly back-to-school nights.

What if we connected education to the needs of our economies?

The Christensen Institute

Across the globe, we observe a similar trend: students, irrespective of their individual needs and circumstances, are encouraged to pursue education as a means to gain employment and climb up the economic ladder. Yet what we see, time and time again, is that when education is disconnected from the needs of the economy, this promise falls flat. The numbers aren’t adding up. Consider Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa.

The secret element in blended learning

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By definition , online learning is part of any blended learning classroom. It is the key innovation for enabling student-centered learning at scale. Given this fact, it’s easy to get caught up in thinking of technology—devices and software—as blended learnings’ core, defining feature.

To reach the uninsured, new insurers are getting creative

The Christensen Institute

The insurance industry has grown from covering mercantile operations over 300 years ago to a U.S. trillion behemoth that is integrated with many aspects of our lives. Whether we wish to insure our investment in a home or a car, prepare for an emergency, or gain healthcare coverage, various forms of insurance cover risk and provide peace of mind.

Innovators Worth Watching: 2017 Review

The Christensen Institute

Welcome to our “Innovators Worth Watching” series, spotlighting interesting and potentially disruptive players across a spectrum of industries. About one year ago, we began profiling innovative players in the higher education space and analyzing their business models through the lens of Disruption Theory. Using our six questions for identifying disruption, we made predictions about the disruptive potential of these companies.

Ask the experts: Crowdsourced solutions to 4 problems of blended-learning practice

The Christensen Institute

Earlier this month, the Christensen Institute, Highlander Institute , and The Learning Accelerator welcomed over 100 advanced blended- and personalized-learning practitioners to Providence, Rhode Island as part of a two-day meeting-of-the-minds leading up to the 2018 Blended and Personalized Learning Conference.

Stealing a page from disruption to transform accreditation

The Christensen Institute

One of the only things Republicans and Democrats in Washington, DC can agree on is that they don’t like the accreditation system in higher education. The “watchdogs that don’t bark,” as former Education Secretary Arne Duncan famously termed them , just don’t seem to be doing a great job holding institutions responsible for their student outcomes, as a Wall Street Journal investigation showed.

Should instructional choice trump school choice?

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Today, President-elect Donald Trump appointed school choice advocate Betsy DeVos as our next secretary of education.

Why new technologies often don’t help students

The Christensen Institute

It’s easy to get caught up in the allure of new technologies. Companies do a great job showing off the improved bells and whistles of their shiny new products. But the truth is, breakthrough innovations rarely come from the technologies themselves.

Using virtual mentors to expand offline networks and grow career aspirations

The Christensen Institute

This August I’ll be releasing a book on a new wave of disruption in education: innovations that deepen and diversify students’ access to relationships. Who You Know: Unlocking innovations that expand students’ networks (Wiley, 2018) examines dramatic shifts in the way schools are empowering students to forge new connections—and ultimately opportunities—that would otherwise be out of reach. The book is now available for preorder.

Personalized learning in the context of a person, not a school

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Personalized learning is the current big buzz in education. Everyone is trying to figure out how best to personalize the learning experience for each and every child. I applaud this effort.

Personalized teaching: 4 funding strategies to amplify teacher impact

The Christensen Institute

Great teaching is at the heart of high-quality personalized learning. Accordingly, one of the best things a school can do to improve the personalized learning experiences of its students is to expand the impact of its highest-performing teachers. Of course, expanding the reach of great teachers is easier said than done–especially when it comes to budget concerns.

Teachers Shouldn’t Have To Work Alone—And Now They Don’t Have To

The Christensen Institute

With the rise of online learning in schools—what educators call blended learning—what teachers do daily is changing in big and small ways. A central question is what will teaching look like in the future, as online learning can increasingly help students learn knowledge personalized to their specific learning need. Recent research even suggests that learning from an online video—a modality that is not terribly active—may be superior for engagement and retention than learning from a live lecture.

A new approach to personalized learning reveals 3 valuable teaching insights

The Christensen Institute

Personalized learning’s rationale has strong intuitive appeal: We can all remember feeling bored, confused, frustrated, or lost in school when our classes didn’t spark our interests or address our learning needs. But an intuitive rationale doesn’t clearly translate to effective practice. For personalized learning to actually move the needle on improving student experiences and elevating student outcomes, the question of how schools and teachers personalize is just as important as why.

Personalized learning…is it all a matter of time?

The Christensen Institute

Sometimes I worry that the call to personalize learning is actually code for asking leaders and teachers to do more than they’ve ever been asked to do—but without additional resources to do it. And by resources, I mostly mean time. This is especially true for traditional systems that may be aiming to adopt new approaches to teaching and learning but less willing to do away with legacy structures.

Is social media disrupting our networks?

The Christensen Institute

On the heels of a divisive campaign, people are more aware than ever of the social and political groups that sit on different sides of the aisle, live in different parts of the country, and break bread with different cultural factions.

Innovators Worth Watching: Degreed

The Christensen Institute

Welcome to our “Innovators Worth Watching” series, spotlighting interesting and potentially disruptive players across a spectrum of industries. During a time of heightened geopolitical instability, seemingly weekly natural disasters, and one of history’s most worrisome data breaches, one innovative ed tech company posted its strongest sales quarter yet.

Four innovative staffing takeaways from personalized learning schools

The Christensen Institute

Through our research over the past few years, we’ve seen schools around the world adopt technology to amplify the impact of teachers and make learning more student-centered. And, while technology is a powerful learning resource, it’s not the only lever for helping students succeed. Increasingly, we also see schools experimenting with staffing arrangements—essentially, how adults are being utilized in the classroom—in an effort to further magnify personalized learning.

Why true equity in learning depends on proactive, not reactive, design

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Ace Parsi co-authored this blog post. Innovation isn’t an outcome; it’s a process. How we approach that process will inevitably influence our outcomes. Bearing this in mind, one of the primary challenges facing a number of efforts around education innovation—including a number of personalized learning initiatives—is that they are built upon simplified models and assumptions.

Packing for the journey: Can lifelong learning fit in a college-sized suitcase?

The Christensen Institute

Today’s workforce feels like a frantically accelerating and precarious place. The shelf life of skills is shortening. More workers are joining the gig economy. Automation is creeping into most sectors. All of these changes require that workers upskill, reskill, and master soft skills. America’s higher education system already plays an integral role in delivering some of these skills, but it falls woefully short in delivering on the country’s lifelong learning needs.

Disrupting opportunity gaps will hinge on networks

The Christensen Institute

Last week, Stanford researcher Raj Chetty came out with yet another new study on the jagged landscape of opportunity facing America. Analyzing the relationship between young people’s exposure to innovation and the likelihood that they would go on to become inventors, the study highlights an alarming rate of what the authors dub “lost Einsteins”: young people who show promising potential but who, due to lack of exposure to innovation, appear far less likely to pursue careers as inventors.

Failing forward: Why twists and turns toward learning transformations are valuable

The Christensen Institute

Last month, the Christensen Institute co-hosted the annual Blended and Personalized Learning Conference with the Highlander Institute and The Learning Accelerator in Providence, Rhode Island. Prior to the main conference, we held a 2-day Advanced Practitioner Summit during which on-the-ground experts joined in discussions around problems of practice and emerging tactics to solve for them.

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Education innovation in 2017: 4 personalized learning trends to watch

The Christensen Institute

At the Clayton Christensen Institute, we track disruptive innovations in K–12 schools that upend the traditional factory-based model of school in favor of instructional approaches that better center on each individual student.

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Electric vehicle charging: The key to accelerating adoption

The Christensen Institute

In order to comply with stringent fuel economy and emission standards, automakers are adding electric vehicles to their lineup. However, consumer adoption has not been swift: globally, electric cars on the road account for a mere 0.2% of the total number of passenger vehicles in circulation. Let’s focus our attention on battery-electric vehicles, which we will refer to as EVs. How can we accelerate their adoption?

Why your school’s next hire should be an Opportunity Wrangler

The Christensen Institute

In recent years, new roles have begun to crop up in schools: advocates who support the social side of students’ lives. These emerging roles vary. But by and large they aim to overcome the enduring structural barriers that separate social supports and academics in our traditional system. These new roles involve coordinating additional student services inside of school and connecting students to more opportunities beyond schools. Why are school systems investing beyond the classroom?

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