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  • Priyank Sharma

Edtech, why the focus should be on learning science research?

How do you determine if an edtech product is great?

More often than not, edtech companies will claim that the edtech platforms increased the learning levels from X to Y. And this "impact" can be scaled to millions of children.

These apps/platforms are mostly evaluated on the content quality, pedagogy and tech, but we miss a very important piece.

Let's first understand that any decent edtech intervention can show increase in the learning levels. Because when you give anything new to the child, it definitely catches their attention. So, you don't need to have a great product to show improving learning levels. Here, I am not going into the details of how even a substandard edtech product can show growing learning levels - the methodology also at times is conniving.

We need to understand that most edtech companies will market themselves with education revolution that they can create at scale. And, what happens when you can show to the world that your product is "creating a difference". The system compromises on other important attributes. For example, suddenly, the value of quality of teacher in the classroom becomes questionable. Now, this is not something intended by the edtech product in the first place, but an externality created within the system. Anyway, I will have to write a separate post on externalities created by edtech in the system.

But that doesn't mean that we don't need edtech. In fact, we need technology now more than ever and edtech is where our hopes are pinned. The way technology can transform the system, nothing else can. But, we need to understand what really should drive edtech?

Learning Science Research!

Those nuggets of data that the platform collects over a period of time and how the data points change with every tweak in the edtech platform is where the real quality of the edtech product lie. Sadly, most edtech platforms in India are not built for promoting learning science research.

Edtech without learning science research is like textbook without a teacher; students can still learn but you can never know what works best for your children, if they will continue to learn and what happens during the process of learning.

It's not that learning science research is a new field - in many countries it has been going on for long - it's just, in India, we seem to be happy with just the content product. We need to drive more research in India, soon ! Otherwise, we will, probably know about the real "impact" of the edtech world after 10 years, and question our strategy only in hindsight. Something we did for many other strategies/policies like No Detention Policy or CCE!

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