Gap Analysis for your Digital Learning Platform
Digital learning platforms: these are the tools that deliver your content to the world. They are the modern workhorses of academic publishing and are how students and instructors most often interact with your product through text, tests and tutorials. The efficacy of the digital learning platform has a direct effect on the reputation of the publisher and their course materials. Digital platforms have numerous tasks to perform and must do so flawlessly every time or risk alienating one or both sets of clients.
Instructors & Students
For one client, the instructor, the platform must be able to facilitate planning, creating, managing, course delivery, monitoring and assessment, all without being cumbersome to use. The instructor crafts the test and the platform dynamically generates question sets for students so that each test will cover the same material; the questions may be randomized and correct answers may have varied placements in order to deter cheating and still be able to properly synchronize coordinating test media.
For the student, the other client, it must keep them engaged. Some platforms will assess the student’s current state of knowledge and create a learning plan to fill in gaps in the student’s knowledge and bring them to the desired education goal. It must be able to use the opportunity of a student’s wrong answer to teach the student how to get it right; the rejoinder will guide the student back to mastering the concept presented in the question.
Content & Platforms
Publishers have numerous titles and disciplines and numerous platforms that are expected to ingest these disciplines and then present the course materials with precision. They will to need to analyze platform functionality and the functional requirements of the disciplines to determine the best fits for each. Fitting the right tool to the right discipline is critical.
Science must be processed on platforms that can handle MathML and graphically render complex, sometimes dynamic, diagrams and formulae. Chemistry, Astronomy and Statistics, for example, while all hard sciences, will each have very different requirements of a digital platform. Humanities and Liberal Arts don’t necessarily need graphics engines and MathML capability but do present a different set of issues with a variety of problem types seldom, if ever, used in science. Simple versus complex problem types, discipline-specific problem types, grade book accessibility for instructors, and availability of results to students, as well ease of use: there is not yet a “one size fits all” solution.
The opportunity for publishers as they grow to rely upon digital learning platforms is to inventory the requirements of their content and the capabilities of their platforms and match one to another. Perhaps there are legacy platforms that no longer fit the technical needs of the content. Perhaps there are newer platforms that, with a bit of adjustment, could quite sufficiently service a new class of discipline. Publishers should undertake gap analyses of both existing platforms and content in order to determine optimal workflow processes and the most mature tools for authoring and deployment, thereby making the most of the money they have already spent, and optimizing future spends.
Gap Analysis: Questions & Answers
A gap analysis will help to order the thinking around the digital question: name the strategic objective that the analysis is to determine; identify current standing and deficiencies/ issues with metrics and attributes; learn how to fill that gap: the resources needed, the processes, metrics, technology and materials required, as well as time to completion. A thorough digital platform gap analysis will determine which business processes are most efficient and cost effective to release products to instructors and students quickly while maintaining existing product integrity.
What are your platforms’ strengths and weaknesses? Are you making the most of what you have? How could you improve the student’s and instructor’s experience? Are there new technologies that you could take advantage of?
Contact us. We will guide you through the process.