Gold & Silver for Learnovate at Global Awards!


We are thrilled to announce that our Research Project ‘Feedback’ (originally Business Competence Analytics) won Gold in the Category “MBA and Professional Education” domain and went on to pick up Silver in the “Nurturing Employability” category at the Reimagine Education Awards in Philadelphia, USA. The awards attracted over 500 submissions across all categories this year.

Evangelos Kapros from Learnovate was at the ceremony to pick up the awards.

These awards are the result of two years hard work by the team at Learnovate and the contributions from many of our industry members. Congratulations to all!

About Feedback

Our mobile peer feedback app allows for contextualised, continuous formative peer assessment of transversal competencies based on near to real-time on-the-job performance. One of the key innovations of the app is that the feedback process supports more evidential feedback methods by using behavioural anchors to reduce subjectivity in the data. Through the peer feedback, competency data is captured regularly, analysed and visualised. This not only gives relevant, timely, and actionable insights to the employee, it also delivers more accurate data to the organisation.

About Reimagine Education
In 2014, QS Quacquarelli Symonds entered into a partnership with the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania to launch the first global competition designed to identify the most innovative, novel approaches to higher education. Reimagine Education is the annual global awards conference for innovative higher education pedagogies enhancing learning and employability.

The $4 Indian Smart Phone and the challenge of scale in numeracy and literacy

By Martyn Farrows

We were in India again this week securing a number of key strategic relationships for Learnovate and our partners. Again, the recurring theme for our visit has been the astonishing numbers and sheer scale of the education challenges here – and the ambitious plans to provide innovative solutions, supported by technology.

There are somewhere around 300 million students in education, of which 100 million are under the age of 10. Imagine the challenge of delivering a personalized learning experience at that scale to primary school students? That’s the challenge that the founders of EK Step have set themselves – and they are well on the way to achieving their vision.

The EK Step approach is to build a connected ecosystem for all stakeholders to engage – underpinned by an adaptive platform that will deliver a personalized experience for learners. The project had only just started when we first met them in June 2015 – but 8 months later and some core components of the ecosystem are already in place.

The team are already trialling with over 100,000 students, many in remote locations with no connectivity (and only 2 hours of electricity supply per day). Working offline on shared devices supplied as part of the project, the students have been able to engage with digital resources supporting numeracy and literacy – the student data being uploaded back to the EK Step platform when a connection can be found.

Scale will be achieved as more stakeholders engage with the ecosystem – fundamental infrastructural changes will also need to happen, but the natural assumption is that these (content, connectivity, devices) will come in time. We are looking forward to seeing the team at EK Step achieve their vision.

At the other end of the scale – and totally unrelated to the philanthropic efforts of EK Step – another remarkable event happened this week.

The director of Ringing Bells – Mohit Goel – announced the Freedom 251 smart phone, remarkable in that the ‘251’ in the title refers to the cost of the device in Rupees. That’s less than $4. For a smart phone.


Whilst the launch has been greeted with widespread skepticism (and visits from the police and tax officals!), the underlying narrative is compelling when related to the scale of building capacity in the education system.

Particularly when you look at the specs for the device:

“The dual SIM Freedom 251 device carries a 4-inch display, 1 GB RAM, 8GB internal memory with a 1.3 GHZ quad-core processor, dual cameras and comes with a charger, headphone and one-year warranty. “

Ringing Bells have already received 70 million registrations on their website and 2.5 million orders. Whether or not the orders will be fulfilled is a moot point and we will only know in time.

However, what we do know is that another important piece of the ‘scale’ equation may be within reach. If the cost of a device capable of delivering engaging, personalised digital content is coming down to this level, real impact can be achieved with global numeracy and literacy challenges.

Learnovate member, Radii, launches new venture

As part of the Learnovate remit it is our role to provide a central point for the EdTech industry in Ireland and to promote interaction between members. We are very pleased to announce that Radii through connections with Wriggle (both members) have launched a new venture

ResearchExchange, the world’s first online marketplace for the research industry, with the express aim of transforming how market research is sourced and provided. The platform significantly cuts the time and cost that both buyers and suppliers spend sourcing each other, enabling them to connect on the right kind of briefs at the right time, providing an economic boost for the market research industry.
Through its unique and sophisticated algorithm, enables buyers of market research to source, brief and commission well-matched research suppliers, as well as connecting suppliers to a pipeline of relevant new business opportunities. Through the platform, current and new buyers are also provided with intuitive tools to build highly bespoke research briefs, further empowering their ability to reach the most relevant research suppliers.

Congratulations to Greg and the team at Radii. We look forward to reporting many other successes here in the coming months.

Two Learnovate projects shortlisted for Global Awards

QS Quacquarelli Symonds, in partnership with The Wharton School SEI Center of the University of Pennsylvania joined forces in 2014 to launch the first global competition to identify the most innovative approaches in higher education to enhance learning and student employability.

The competition for this year has been fierce, with well over 500 completed and excellent projects submitted. We are very pleased to report that two of Learnovate’s projects are among those shortlisted to continue to the finals in Philadelphia. Skilltrack! and Almanac will be presented at the final awards, part of a three day Global Conference, running from December 7th to 9th.


The emphasis of the conference is on fostering collaborations and partnerships among the world’s most active HE innovators globally. The aim to facilitate the sharing of ideas, best practices, and learning from colleagues and experts from all over the world.
Speakers include:

  • William Rankin,
    Director of Learning, Apple
  • Jaime Casap,
    Chief Education Evangelist, Google
  • Jeremy Rifkin,
    Writer, economic and social theorist, political advisor and activist
  • John Katzman,
    Founder & CEO, Noodle Education

Learnovate’s Entries:


New technologies offer new and innovative learning opportunities for students which can help promote higher order skills. SkillTrack! focuses on scaffolding students to acquire ‘21st Century Skills’. However, such higher order skills have traditionally been very difficult to assess, SkillTrack adopts an innovative self-assessment approach to offer continuous assessment.

  • Skills self assessment app for iOS, Android and Windows.
  • Teacher Dashboard: provides teachers with an intuitive dashboard to visualise their students understanding and application of skills.
  • Learning Analytics Service: applies Natural Language Processing (NLP) to provide insights into the understanding and application of skills.
  • Activity Builder: dynamically generates pedagogically scaffolded self assessment activities for students.


Students are seeking forms of education support that align to their experiences outside education, including mobile, multimedia, on-demand and point-of-need learning

  • Personalised just-in-time learning on mobile
  • Dynamic recomposition of content from multiple sources into bite-sized learning articles
  • Automated analysis of large content repositories to facilitate discovery and reuse of content
  • Real-time capture and analysis of just-in-time learning analytics

About QS
QS Quacquarelli Symonds was founded in 1990 and has established itself as the leading global provider of specialist higher education and careers information and solutions. Activities span across 50 countries, working with over 2000 of the world’s leading higher education institutions and over 12,000 employers.
About Wharton
Founded in 1881 as the first collegiate business school, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is recognised globally for intellectual leadership and ongoing innovation across every major discipline of business education. The School has 5,000 undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA, and doctoral students and a powerful alumni network of 94,000 graduates.

5 reasons why we need a national digital strategy for schools

Posted by Martyn Farrows

There’s been a lot of airtime over the past couple of weeks dedicated to the use of technology to support education in schools.  First the now infamous OECD report and today the National Digital Strategy for Schools.

Opportunists saw a bandwagon and jumped on it.  The media elected to ignore the real findings of the OECD report in favour of attention-grabbing headlines.

Technology denialists came out of the woodwork to promote their ‘old ways are the best’ notion of what a good education looks like.  No matter that they are out of touch with the latest research, the expectations of their own learners, or the demands of a growing knowledge economy.

And a ‘national digital strategy’ that should have been published almost 12 months ago has been saved for the lead-in to a general election.  Opportunism is a reality of life and it’s far too easy to become cynical.

So, let’s leave aside the opportunism and try and focus on the real issues.

Here are just 5 reasons why today’s National Digital Strategy should be welcomed:

  1. We need to get better at using technology to support learning.  This was a principle finding of the OECD report.  We can only do that if we have structures in place to help schools to plan and to support the teaching profession to engage with new and informed pedagogies.  It’s about effective and appropriate use of technology.
  2. Broadband connectivity is a utility: it’s a must-have not a nice to have.  Why should education be denied a utility that is taken for granted in every other aspect of daily life?
  3. Ubiquity of devices.  Children have increasing access to devices and adoption levels are going to increase, not decrease.  We need to plan for that and stop denying that it will happen – and we need to help our students better engage with their technology to support their own learning.
  4. We live in a connected and hyper-competitive global economy.  For Ireland to remain competitive, we need an education system that provides students with the skills they need to survive in a technology-driven world.
  5. Because it’s long over due and we are playing catch-up.  Take a look at what’s happening over in the US ( to understand just how much catching up needs to be done.

It’s really very simple.  Start with the premise that we are preparing children for their future, not our future.  And work backwards from that.  Of course we need a national digital strategy.

The strategy is available here.