Andculture and edio: Building a learning management system for CCA

In our latest “We Are CCA” podcast, Jake Ramsey and Allen Fernandez of CCA met with Dave Hickethier, founder and CEO, and Evan Keller, chief experience architect, of Andculture to discuss the partnership around developing CCA’s new learning management system, edio.

Andculture’s Dave Hickethier and Evan Keller discuss their partnership with CCA in the edio design process.

In our latest “We Are CCA” podcast, Jake Ramsey and Allen Fernandez of CCA met with Dave Hickethier, founder and CEO, and Evan Keller, chief experience architect, of Andculture to discuss the partnership around developing CCA’s new learning management system, edio. 

CCA and Andculture’s partnership began when Andculture, an experience design firm, was brought in to revise CCA’s website. This experience gave Andculture’s employees an inside view of CCA’s vision and where the school is trying to drive education, and they liked what they saw.

“When the opportunity came up to build a learning management system from scratch, to change the face of how education is delivered, that was just something that got the entire team at Andculture really excited,” Hickethier said.

Discovering the needs of CCA families

The Andculture staff quickly realized that, to truly make things easier, faster and better through this new LMS, it had to identify and understand the needs of the students, families and teachers.

“Our process started entirely in the living rooms of CCA families. We looked at how they ‘did school’ and what worked for them and what didn’t, what features may have existed that they loved and the features they didn’t have that they really needed,” Keller said.

The staff welcomed any and all suggestions and concerns from CCA families about ways to improve the LMS. Keller noted that for Andculture it was a case of “you don’t know what you don’t know.” Therefore, receiving feedback about what is and isn’t working from the people who experience it firsthand was especially crucial. 

Andculture discovered that many families found the system difficult to navigate, which caused some to learn tricks for mastering the system. 

With this feedback, Andculture entered the next phase: identifying what works best and building on it. Andculture realized that students and families liked the flexibility, the tools that allow them to go at their own pace and the ability to communicate with their teachers and staff. Therefore, it became important not only to keep these things but to enhance them. Conversely, it became important to identify the parts of the current LMS that created a lot of friction and make them go away.

Andculture ultimately discovered a need for a more personalized, streamlined learning management system. Students, teachers and families needed easier access to each other and to the course materials, as well as the ability to create a tailored curriculum.

Creating an experience for the entire family

Hickethier said the goal for edio was to “create an experience that ties humans together with as little technology being felt as possible.” 

Keller added, “If you’ve ever had to call into a call center, you give them all your information, get handed to the next person and are asked to repeat the same information again. We don’t want any situations like that. When you’re logged in, it should be personalized. … We should know what you need to do next, and we should prime all of that and make it ready for you so that it’s easier and faster.”

The calendar and the dashboard in edio help remove these barriers. The calendar helps students stay on top of their schoolwork and aids with pacing, while the dashboard helps put all relevant information for parents, students and teachers front and center for easier access.

Building relationships through technology and an innovative LMS

Keller and Hickethier spoke of the importance of improving communication and relationships through the edio design. To enhance communication, edio introduces a chat feature allowing threaded messages from students to teachers and from teachers to families.

Although the technical term is learning management system, Andculture strives to create a relationship management system with edio. Keller and Hickethier said it’s all about cultivating a deeper level of relationship by having smart tools that facilitate that interaction. 

CCA and Andculture staff members undertaking this project were energized and inspired by a common vision — that technology has the ability to provide a personalized experience for students. 

As a parent, Keller acknowledged that, when he attempts to encourage his children to do something, they’re much more likely to engage with and be passionate about it if it’s aligned with their own interests. Therefore, he understood the need for personalization for each student’s curriculum as a chief concern in the design process.

In edio, students can upload photos of their interests in a safe and secure way that gives teachers more insight into what excites them and how to tailor the courses to that.

Version 1 of edio will be launched in September to kick off the new school year. However, Hickethier revealed there are already a tremendous number of features that are going to come with Version 2. 

Hickethier said that, with any change, there’s a fear of the unknown. The new features and functionality might make some people nervous about edio being drastically different from what they’re used to. However, the staff at Andculture has tried to make this new system similar, yet better, while striving for user-friendly technology.

Although they have received a lot of positive feedback about the improvements featured in edio, Hickethier and Keller realize that once users see the platform new ideas will inevitably arise for ways to build upon it. They’re prepared for this progress.

“I think it’s important that our families understand that we’re going to continue to iterate and roll out new features as we go forward," Hickethier said. This is a continued evolution. … It’s going to be very important that we hear from families and continue to incorporate that feedback into the evolution.”

Edio was created with a focus on the family and the students — what’s going to work best for the people CCA serves — and Andculture realizes that, at CCA, every family is unique. With increased personalization, this new LMS strives to help students and families facilitate communication with their educators and, ultimately, cultivate stronger relationships.

Author

Commonwealth Charter Academy

Published

June 20, 2018

Category

Learning Lab

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