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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.

How to improve student engagement

The Christensen Institute

Most teachers struggle with low student engagement, particularly at the middle school and high school levels. “My My students don’t seem to care.”. They don’t see how school is relevant.”. They won’t put in the effort.”. Those statements from teachers about their students are all too common.

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What’s the difference between blended and personalized learning?

The Christensen Institute

Earlier this month, after two exhilarating and exhausting days at the Blended and Personalized Learning Conference in Providence, R.I., which we cohosted with our partners at Highlander Institute and The Learning Accelerator), I boarded an evening flight back to D.C. Just after takeoff, a school principal from Virginia seated in the row just ahead of me poked his head through the seat to ask: “So, what’s the difference between blended and personalized learning?”.

Innovation & tech: Africa’s only hope in educating hundreds of millions of children

The Christensen Institute

Today, there are more than 750 million mobile phones in operation in Africa. The telecommunications industry generated more than $150 billion in revenue in 2015 and accounted for over 3.8 million jobs. But barely 20 years ago, there were fewer than 10 million phone lines on the continent, with a majority of working lines in South Africa. Looking back, it is easy to under-appreciate the proliferation of mobile telephony and the attendant benefits that come with it.

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.

Falling enrollments: A gray cloud with a silver lining

The Christensen Institute

The National Student Clearinghouse’s enrollment data is out, and the big headline is that enrollments are down—yet again. But a closer look reveals a few more interesting trends about the sorts of players struggling and succeeding across the industry. Students are voting with their feet, and here’s what they’re saying: For-profits are on the decline—but do we understand why?

Innovators Worth Watching: MissionU

The Christensen Institute

Welcome to our “Innovators Worth Watching” series, spotlighting interesting and potentially disruptive players in higher education. Earlier this year, MissionU revealed its much anticipated plan to provide postsecondary education and a debtless future. The announcement sent the higher education space into a frenzy. How could it not? This no-frills program, designed to teach job skills that are in high demand among tech employers, embodies every major buzzword in higher education innovation.

Higher education is leaving students behind — disruptive innovators can help them succeed

The Christensen Institute

Welcome to our “Innovators Worth Watching” series, spotlighting interesting and potentially disruptive players in higher education. With three Innovators Worth Watching profiles under our belts, we wanted to zoom out and put these innovators’ efforts in a larger theoretical context. Disruption Theory provides a framework for understanding why some successful, established companies fall to upstart newcomers, whereas others survive and thrive.

Unlocking stackable global credentials

The Christensen Institute

It took 912 years from the founding of the first university in Bologna in 1088 for the global higher education system to grow to serve 100 million students annually by the year 2000.

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Join SETDA: Affiliate Memberships Now Accepted

SETDA's Affiliate program connects non-profit education membership organizations with state leaders. SETDA's mission is to build the capacity of education leaders to improve learning through technology policy & practice. Benefits include: SETDA conferences, webinars and news feeds.

Incentives 101: Higher ed’s “financially responsible” mess

The Christensen Institute

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a report showing that the Department of Education’s primary financial health test failed to predict 60% of last year’s school closures in higher education. What’s behind this profound disconnect? As it turns out, the metric guiding the test, known as the Financial Responsibility Composite Score, hasn’t been updated to keep up with accounting standards in 20 years. But the composite score isn’t just out of date and ineffective.

Our hopes and dreams for Global Prosperity at the Christensen Institute: Will you join us?

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How we got here. I spent the first 16 years of my life in Nigeria before moving to the United States for college.

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

The Christensen Institute

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.

Space: The final frontier in the search for full-pay students

The Christensen Institute

In order to maximize net tuition revenue, higher education employs a high-price, high-discount model. But just as trees don’t grow to the sky, this strategy can’t work forever—the U.S. is running out of students who can pay full tuition. Students are tapped out: in the 2014-15 school year, 86% of first-time full-time freshmen received financial aid.

Why development organizations should be more like Netflix and less like Blockbuster

The Christensen Institute

It is a cautionary tale that we are all too familiar with: the small upstart, Netflix, disrupts the much larger and better resourced Blockbuster. What in the world does this have to development? Everything, it seems. In 2000, when Netflix was still a small and fledgling company, it offered itself to Blockbuster, the world’s largest video, DVD, and game rental company for $50 million. Blockbuster passed.

Finding ‘personalized learning’ and other edtech buzzwords on the Gartner Hype Cycle

The Christensen Institute

Education buzzwords come and go, just as the fads they sometimes represent. But some endure and come back, much as in the Gartner Hype Cycle —or perhaps as in a metaphorical Ferris wheel, in which concepts take their seats and then rise and fall, over and over.

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.

In the arduous task of health behavior change, it’s the thought that counts.

The Christensen Institute

Chronic diseases account for seven in ten deaths in the United States, with heart disease, obesity, cancer and type 2 diabetes numbering among the most common. That list is likely to grow as the population ages, and scientific advances continue to transform terminal conditions into ones people can live with (if often uncomfortably) for months or years.

Our obsession with building “good institutions” might be doing more harm than good

The Christensen Institute

In their groundbreaking bestseller, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty , MIT’s Daron Acemoglu and Harvard’s James Robinson make the case for “inclusive institutions” as the driver of economic prosperity. Inclusive institutions guarantee secure property rights, effective education, open markets, democratic pluralism, and so on. Alternatively, “extractive institutions” are the causes of the demise of many nations.

Where is healthcare’s Henry Ford?

The Christensen Institute

Why is healthcare spending so out of hand? One reason given, time after time, in study after study, is innovation in medical technology. The healthcare industry’s efforts to improve medical technology come at a steep expense to the public—accounting for up to half of healthcare spending growth since 1960. This high cost of innovation is a product of healthcare business models and innovation efforts being misaligned with the true nature of the health problem facing the United States.

Want people to better manage their own health? Don’t ask them to prioritize it.

The Christensen Institute

Over the last 50 years, the healthcare industry has undergone a gradual shift from a paternalistic “doctor knows best” attitude, to a recognition that providers and patients must share responsibility in the quest to improve patient health. To help patients do their part in this new paradigm, providers must work with them to design treatments and self-care processes, or health solutions, that patients can realistically incorporate into their lives.

4 tips for developing effective professional development for blended learning

The Christensen Institute

With the growing prevalence of blended learning in classrooms across the country, the need for teacher training for effective implementation is more critical than ever.

In New York, ‘free college’ scores headlines for Cuomo, but it’s a big loss for students

The Christensen Institute

Governor Cuomo’s Excelsior Scholarship, which arguably provides free tuition for New Yorkers of any age to attend public institutions, is expected to have a price tag of $163 million in its first year. That’s a lot of money for most of us—especially families trying to figure out how to pay for college.

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.

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3 innovative tips for tackling school culture

The Christensen Institute

On the heels of a series of PR nightmares facing Uber’s executives, headlines and speculation about what’s next for the company abound. Some investors have continued to defend the company’s evidently toxic culture, suggesting that once successful entrepreneurs have built a successful product or service, they then can afford to worry about factors like company norms. Others, like Freda Kapor Klein have been less willing to let the company off the hook.

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.

Should instructional choice trump school choice?

The Christensen Institute

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

Not all sales executives are created equal: how to democratize high-impact selling

The Christensen Institute

Many, if not most, firms build solutions for the “average” customer. B2B firms ground their marketing in attributes such as account size and product type; B2C firms focus on demographics and psychographics. Both strategies are roadmaps to serve the “average” customer—but innovating toward “average” is doomed to fail. Instead, firms can personalize their offerings by graduating from such arbitrary classifications and embracing Jobs Theory.

Is blended learning really “the best of both worlds”?

The Christensen Institute

You’ve likely heard the declaration that blended learning combines the best of online learning and face-to-face instruction, or simply, is “the best of both worlds.”

On toilets: Why the Indian government should listen to Bill Gates

The Christensen Institute

On August 2nd, the world’s richest man, Bill Gates, tweeted that, “Many toilets don’t get used because they smell bad. I believe this is a problem we can solve through innovation.” He couldn’t be more correct. About a year ago, I wrote a blogpost titled, “ Stop building schools; stop building water wells; and stop building toilets ,” to illustrate the point that most of these resource-intensive development projects are rarely successful. They are expensive, unsustainable, and unscalable.

A short note to [Indian and emerging market] e-commerce investors: Be patient for growth, but impatient for profits

The Christensen Institute

In one of his books, The Innovator’s Solution , Harvard Business School professor and Christensen Institute co-founder, Clayton Christensen, explains that investors and entrepreneurs should learn to be patient for growth, but impatient for profits.

The demise of Google’s Project Ara and modularity in computing

The Christensen Institute

The idea behind Project Ara was simple: when an improvement in a phone component, say the camera, would become available, instead of having to buy a new phone, users could swap in a new module.

Reducing the cost burden on the insured

The Christensen Institute

Since the open enrollment in the health exchanges under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) began in late 2013, the percentage of American adults without health insurance has fallen from 18% to 9%, the lowest rate ever recorded.

The biggest problem with poverty alleviation programs is that they actually work

The Christensen Institute

At the Chhattisgarh Irrigation Development Project in India, poverty is alleviated with the help of improved irrigation services and agricultural resource management.

The global extreme poverty rate has reduced to less than 10 percent…so what?

The Christensen Institute

In October 2015, for the first time ever, the World Bank estimated that the global rate of people living in extreme poverty (calculated as people living on less than $1.90 per day) fell to just under than ten percent. Consider this—in 1990, there were approximately 5.2

Belief—the first key to blended learning success

The Christensen Institute

In the fall of 2014, Mallory Mattivi, a seventh-grade English language arts and world history teacher at Bella Romero Academy in Greeley, Colorado, took a leap that radically transformed her teaching. When her principal, Jon Cooney, began encouraging ambitious blended learning initiatives across her school, she felt tentative.

Law schools gone innovating

The Christensen Institute

Non-elite law schools are in crisis. If people didn’t believe that before, they should now after Whittier College’s announcement last month that it would close its law school. But the legal education landscape is not uniform. Different regions have different contexts in which law schools educate students. There are good examples of innovation occurring.

The development industry has the development equation backwards

The Christensen Institute

A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece in the Guardian that discussed the development community’s obsession with ending poverty, and why that’s the biggest problem with the industry. The industry’s continuous focus on trying to end poverty limits its ability to develop and foster innovative solutions that are so desperately needed if poor countries are to achieve prosperity.

Innovators Worth Watching: Cell-Ed

The Christensen Institute

Welcome to the first entry in our “Innovators Worth Watching” series, spotlighting interesting and potentially disruptive players in higher education. Even without knowing any English, Teresa managed to find work as a janitor in a neighboring school district, over 90 minutes away by bus. The pay wasn’t much and the long hours made her childcare situation precarious, but she was scraping by for now.

Will eliminating the “F” eliminate bad school design?

The Christensen Institute

The dreaded “F” is going out of vogue in schools.