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The Future of Education? Algorithms and Behavioral Analytics

9 Jul

Algorithmic_CEO_FINALThere is a lot of talk going around about the digital take over–the rise of the algorithms, and the impact they are having on the world of work. While that is a real consideration, the core of this conversation, for some, is education—and the massive need for an educational overhaul that provides utility to human capital in this human vs machine workforce debate.

These days, there is a demand for a different type of education than in years gone by. We’re moving into an era of computer science and engineering, but educational institutions are scrambling. There isn’t enough Faculty to teach the thousands of students beating down university doors. and other MOOCs are rising to the occasion, offering educational resources to students willing to put in the time for a certification outside of the standard brick and mortal collegiate forum.

There is value here. But there are also challenges. In a classroom setting an educator can (attempt to) keep tabs on the student population, noting who is connecting with the material, who is engaged, who is struggling but trying. In the world of MOOCs where 43,000 students are signed up for a single course, there is no realistic way an educator can provide personalized attention to each student. With abysmal completion rates—6.5%–educators and researchers are scrambling to find ways to engage this new population of learners.

MIT and Harvard, among others are working to enrich the scope of learning for the online student population. Why are students failing to complete an online educational course—even if it’s offered for free from a top University?  Could it be that, debatably, some of the best educators in the world are simply inefficient in an online forum?  Studies are quick to point out the flaws of the student population. They study less frequently than students in a classroom setting. But Why? And how to we improve it?

I’ve been thinking about educators as account managers.  Each student is a portfolio with unlimited potential in the marketplace.  So could we focus on making the right connections between account manager educators and the students they are managing?  Companies like Mattersight provide revolutionary behavioral analytics insights that can match customers to the best representative for their communication style and need. RedOwl provides information on changes in behavior patterns, proactively notifying an organization of internal risks. Imagine the implications of these software platforms aligned for educational development.

Sites like Zaption are moving MOOCs into more interactive platforms, quizzing as it goes along. Imagine if in addition to an interactive platform we were able to capture behavior patterns indicating learning, or confusion, what if we were able to match the student with the best educator or advisor for their learning style?

Think about it.

A student is no longer just watching a video alone, half grasping the concept and moving on. The system catches on that something hasn’t entirely clicked and provides supplemental training, in a different way–slowed down, back to basics, whatever it takes. It goes over a topic until the light bulb moment is captured.

What would that do for student engagement? What would that do to completion rates? What would that do to our future when all of these bright minds are grasping and building on ideas that could move our world of work into the next generation?

These are the things that keep me up at night.


The Time is Now! Use your Data & Improve your Recruiting Process

24 Mar


In years gone by, content producers across the digital divide didn’t always know who they’d influenced. But that’s changed. Companies like Buffer, Hootsuite, make it as easy as pie. You can schedule your messages, and follow the potential and actual impact your information is having in real time.  These things are typically measured via clicks, views & re-shares, as compared to the number of followers and tags referenced.

I’m curious to see how HR pros are tapping into these tools to curate their messages for passive and active job seekers in social space.

  •  Are they tracking the number of  job ad views in their social presence?
  • Are they following the digital bread crumbs from the first twitter link to the website, to Glassdoor?
  • Are they capturing the information that leads a candidate to close out of their website or job application?

This is the quantitative information that should be easy to gather on the back-end.  But why aren’t more employers doing it?

HR Bloggers have discussed the suckiness of the job application process many, many times in the past. In this day of HR software it’s mind-blowing that companies still make candidates fill out page after page of repetitive, clunky text boxes, just to send information into a void of silence.

We know the application process can be simple. So why this reluctance for everyone to get on-board?

The prevalence of new HR tech means big changes for stuffy HR offices.  The companies who start the conversation the quickest, and offer an engaging, humanizing experience are winning this race.

I really think there should be more employers in the winners circle these days.  You have the technology to help your recruiting brand not suck. What are the stragglers waiting for?