Why you need to come to Innovate EdTech 2017

The rise of learner experience design, by Tim Gifford, co-founder of ELTJam

Conversations and conferences around EdTech are so often concerned with the kit; the application or platform that demands your time and attention based upon a promise to dramatically enhance / simplify / reduce / improve whatever aspect of the teaching process you’re hoping to impact. There is, however, a perspective that is often overlooked amid the slickly designed product presentations and demos; the learner’s. It may be the teachers that are using it on a day-to-day basis, or the school managers with final budgetary approval that need convincing, but at the end of the day, educational technology solutions exist to solve problems for learners. Or at least, that should be the case. That’s why we decided to run our own event, Innovate EdTech, to change that conversation.

Over the last few years at ELTjam we spent a lot of time reviewing edtech products that were being developed for English language learners, and we came to the conclusion that learners were being massively underserved by companies and organisations operating in the English Language Teaching (ELT) edtech space. We called this state of affairs the Ed-Tech Disconnect. Products that were being developed by well-established educational organisations had solid pedagogical principles and high-quality content to deliver on them, but they severely lacked in terms of user experience design, as if that didn’t matter to learners. Whereas, on the other hand, ELT products coming from tech companies had impeccable UX, but used learning content that was, at best, flaky and often bordered on the absurd, as if that didn’t matter to learners either.

The inevitable outcome of this Ed-Tech Disconnect was a poor learner experience; a predicament that is best described as one in which the learner not only failed to learn anything, but where they also had a horrible time trying. What really drove us was the other side that coin: what it means to have a good learner experience. We determined that great learner experiences were ones that were both effective and delightful – when the learner achieves what they needed to and has an enjoyable time in the process. We then set about devising a set of strategies that would help any organisation devise products that delivered delightful and effective learner experiences, an approach we call Learner Experience Design (LXD). LXD is, fundamentally, a learner-centred approach. By putting learners at the centre of every decision, we believe that the products and services we develop will hit that sweet spot of learner experience.

We’re running InnovateEdTech this November to open up that conversation around LXD and to explore what its implications are for teachers, school managers and professionals across the education sector. We want the conversations taking place around edtech to have the learner at their centre, and for educators to collect and share the language, skills and understanding that enable them to design incredible learner experiences with their edtech resources.

InnovateEdTech 2017 is a one-day event comprised of hands-on workshops focused on solving learner problems, insightful and inspiring talks by speakers from across the edtech space, and demo lessons with real, live learners. Most importantly, it’s about the opportunity to share experiences and to connect with other professionals facing the same challenges.

Rather fittingly, the theme for this year is The Rise of Learner Experience, and we’ll explore the importance of a learner-centred approach in the use of educational technologies and the learner experiences they facilitate. 

For more information about the event and tickets, head on over to www.innovateevents.com.