Frequently Asked Questions

Tech & Data

Who has the rights to the data?


Learner activity data, including detailed analytics and reporting is made available to all relevant stakeholders – this includes sponsors and in the future the Education officials when formally engaged. While Edulution collects and hosts the data, it would available to all authorised stakeholders.




What technology does Edulution use and how does data flow?


At each Edulution Learning Centre you will find:

A laptop - which which hosts the courses, content, assessment tests, coach tools and a database that captures and store learner activity.

A wifi router - that enables the tablets to connect to the laptop of the local network. The router is not connected to the internet and no connection is required for the session to take place.

Tablets for each learner (and coaches) - learners log in with their unique user id and are guided by the software and facilitated by the coach to engage with appropriate exercises and videos the Edulution foundational courses. When the learner is ready, they sit an assessment test.

Power solution (including solar when needed) - it is essential the centre has stable power in order for it operate. Robust and stable power solutions have been developed and well tested.

Edulution Technology Overview and Data Flow

Data Collection: At month end learning activity data is automatically extracted from the local database and sent to the Edulution Central Database. This is the only time the laptop needs to be connected to the internet and for less than 5 minutes.

Reporting and Analytics: learner activity data is then automatically summarised and analysed and made available in filterable dashboards to all relevant stakeholders (funders, quality assurance, coaches, headmasters etc)

Upgrades: At the same time the centre laptop is sending data at month end any low bandwidth upgrades to the laptops are automatically done. Bigger upgrades are done by sending a USB stick to the centre.

Managing and Supporting the Hardware: Edulution has developed a bespoke inventory management system which tracks, monitors and reports on all technology deployed in the field. Many of our centres are in hot, dusty and remote rural locations. Our hardware has to be tough and we need to be able to fix it when it goes wrong.




What if there is no internet connectivity?


Learning sessions take place offline. The centre laptop, through a wifi route, enables the tablets to connect to the laptop of the local network. The router is not connected to the internet. Note, the literacy course does require connection to the internet in the learning session.




How is learner data uploaded to the central database?


Our communication platform is able to disseminate information seamlessly and effectively between the centres, our hub and sponsors. With occasional internet access all learner activity is sent to the hub for monitoring and data analysis from anywhere around the world. When a centre’s laptop is connected to the internet to upload Learner activity on its local database, automatic updates are applied behind the scenes and health checks are executed on the hardware to assess key parameters and identify any issues.




What analytics and reporting is available to funders and stakeholders?


Measurement, analysis and management are pre-requisites for effective scaling of the Edulution program. Edulution understands that all stakeholders need clear, effective and regular reporting.

Learner activity (attendance, topics covered, assessments) is uploaded monthly from the centres from which insightful dashboards are generated and made available to all relevant and authorised stakeholders, including funders, quality assurance, coaches etc.

The ‘filterable’ dashboards in the online portal provide:​

  • Comprehensive reporting for all stakeholders
  • High-level summaries by centre and detailed activity per learner
  • Analytical reports to monitor, evaluate and analyse activity and effectiveness





Courses

Can the content be updated or changed in the future?


Yes. Our platform is content agnostic and we can adapt, update and change the digital content of our foundational courses on request. In the event that locally made, culturally relevant content is developed and made available digitally, this can be added and/or augment our existing courses.




Who has the rights / or who owns the content?


Edulution does not develop content - our focus is on its effective distribution using its human/technological/data analytical platform. Edulution selects the most appropriate content for its foundational numeracy and literacy courses from the ever improving range content that exists today. Often this content is license free (open source) or in certain cases, a license fee is paid to an external provider on a per user basis.




Can the programme work anywhere?


Yes. Edulution has tested the programme in harsh and varied operating environments – from inner city townships to remote rural areas off the electric grid. Presently, in Zambia for example:

  • More than 50% of our centres are operating in rural or peri-urban settings
  • More than 25% of our centres operate at community schools
  • More than 50% of our centres are powered by solar
  • Edulution opened 3 centres at government schools in Mayukwayukwa Refugee Camp
Given the above, Edulution is confident that learning centres can operate in the harshest of enviornments.




What course content does Edulution use?


Our numeracy program uses Khan Academy Lite and other tablet apps. Learners engage with videos, practice exercises and play games to strengthen mental agility, learn digital and numeracy skills and build maths confidence. For our literacy program, Cambridge-accredited IXL provides the core content supported by assorted apps. Any preferred or locally developed content can be added to the existing courses.

The ‘Catch Up’ course content and learner pathways are structured to align with the Zambian and Namibian curriculums as well as against the proficiency levels defined by the Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ), an international body that monitors education standards in southern and eastern Africa.




How are the Edulution numeracy and literacy courses structured?


For both numeracy and literacy 'catch up' courses Edulution runs two programs:

  1. The Learner Journey program for Grade 4 to 6 learners

  2. The Grade 7 revision program for Grade 7 learners

Both programs run simultaneously in the centres but with two different methods of control and implementation for the different groups.

The Learner Journey

Learners use tablets to do their initial assessment test and start at the beginning regardless of their grade. Facilitated by the coach and guided by the software, the learner engages with appropriate interactive exercises and videos on their course, working at their own pace to achieve mastery before being assessed again. If they demonstrate mastery by getting more than 75% they then move on to the next course.

The combination of human facilitation enabled by technology is essential for learning effectiveness as technology alone cannot do it.

Learners engage with the programme for 3 to 4 hours a week in groups of 30 to 40 learners per session and are served by 2 coaches. The coaches, guided by ‘live’ analytical data dashboards, facilitate effective learning.





Coaching

Why don’t you train teachers to become Edulution Coaches?


In early pilots, Edulution encountered several issues using teachers as coaches – often they were intimidated or threatened by the technology and did not respond well to performance/activity-based pay. Teacher training, which is anchored in a more traditional, one-to-many, non-technological pedagogy, is different to Edulution’s facilitated, tech-enabled approach. Overall, the skills, training and the cost of coaches and teachers are quite different – an entry level ‘bronze’ star coach can be trained in 3 months, far short of the 3 to 4 years required to qualify as a teacher. Coaches earn less that teachers.

For these reasons, Edulution shifted away from using teachers as the prime deliverers of the ‘Catch Up’ program and trained, ‘fresh’, more malleable coaches. Edulution ensured the ‘Catch Up’ program was structured to support the teachers’ prime responsibility of delivering their curriculum objectives more effectively.

This is not to say the programme does not engage with teachers; indeed, their support for the program is critical for its success. Many teachers at the schools Edulution operate in participate actively in the program and the coaches are seen by the teachers as an extension to the staff team.




What role will the teachers play in the long-term future of the program?


Edulution envisages coaches working to support teachers by providing learners with foundational knowledge so that teachers can better deliver their curriculum objectives. The teacher’s role is not diminished in this future world, rather it is enhanced and made more effective. It may be beneficial to train certain ‘master’ teachers to work with, guide and monitor the coaches. This future solution would provide a greater return on investment per learner and a more effective use of limited teacher resources. There is also a greater assurance that learners leave school with a basic level of numeracy and literacy.




How can the program help upskill teachers?


Many teachers participate actively in the Edulution program. Their support is critical to the success of the program. In this symbiosis, the teacher becomes more familiar with new tech-enabled learning methods and the coach and the program are more effective too. Teacher engagement, although strongly encouraged, is optional in the pilot phases.
Edulution could, in the future, develop ‘Master Teacher’ training so that they can effectively work with, guide and monitor the coaches and the ‘Catch Up’ program. Additionally, we are already using the Edulution platform to assist in the training of Edulution coaches – potentially this could be extended for training and upskilling teachers. For example, digital content could be developed by the MoGE for teacher training and our platform used to deliver it.




Coaches are paid based on activity and performance and outcome-based metrics, why is different to how teachers are paid?


We believe the fact Edulution and the coaches are paid based on activity and outcome-based metrics is essential for the effective delivery of this model. This is a key advantage for government in using the private sector to deliver part of the education solution – it offers a more benign way of introducing change while considerably reducing investment risk.

We understand too the role of teachers and coaches are quite different and recognise that teachers are paid a guaranteed monthly salary regardless of performance, activity or outcomes. Much of this stems from historical legacy which is now difficult to change. The Edulution ‘pay for delivery’ model is a novel way to introduce and trial new but proven concepts in a more benign way that supports teachers to better deliver what they have been trained to do.




What does it take to be a Coach?


Edulution has a rigorous coach selection process. Prospective Coaches must have successfully passed Grade 12, but no tertiary qualifications are required. The young men and women who apply to Edulution are often shy, reserved individuals who believe they have nothing to offer. Edulution’s bespoke human development process focusses on nurturing selfbelief, accountability and proactiveness. The results of the training are remarkable.

Coaches are selected from the local communities where our rural and urban centres are located wherever possible. One coaching job is created for every 120 learners enrolled on Edulution’s programs. As coaches gain accreditation and a proven track record, they earn more money, manage and train new coaches and centres. Earnings are based on actual learner activity and progress – the data that is recorded real time is the basis for the coaches’ earnings.





Other

What has been learnt since starting in 2015?


Edulution is always learning – we are constantly measuring and analysing data as well as getting regular feedback from stakeholders (headmasters, staff, funders etc) and coaches and program managers operating in field. Edulution began in Lusaka in 2015 with a few hundred learners and has now spread to 7 different rural and peri-urban clusters spread over 3000 km’s in two countries, including a refugee camp in Western Province and centres in Namibia, reaching more than 12,000 active learners a month.
The Edulution team has acquired a lot of experience and operational expertise and some key lessons have been learned;

  • Evidence consistently validates the core idea – that learners learn better when actively engaged, self-paced, progressing towards mastery in a supported environment.
  • Technology cannot solve problems alone; it must be enabled by skilled facilitators
  • Change takes time, patience and humility as early adopters create the evidence base for a solution’s wider inclusion in the formal education system
  • Solving the education crisis is possible, when partnerships form between education innovators, local community and government
  • Edulution Learners appear to gain far more than improved numeracy and literacy results – they become confident and self-directed in many areas of life
  • There is abundant potential for success in each and every individual encountered: from Learner, to Coach, to Partners.




What and why is Edulution a social enterprise?


A social enterprise is a cause-driven business whose primary reason for being is to improve social objectives and serve the common good.

Social enterprises bring a business-like approach to a sector that typically isn't business-like – not because profit is their purpose but because it is the way to sustain transformation. Social enterprises can provide income generation opportunities that meet the basic needs of people who live in poverty. Income earned is reinvested in their mission. Unlike NPOs or NGOs, successful social enterprises do not depend on philanthropy in the long term - they can sustain themselves. As a result, social enterprise models can be expanded or replicated to other communities to generate more impact.

At this stage in the evolution of the business, Edulution is reliant on donor funding and is loss making. The organisation has been set-up as a social enterprise, in line with the long-term vision to build a sustainable business that can transform learning in Africa – at a scale that has meaningful impact.





TOGETHER WE CAN

© 2020 Edulution Group, a Social Enterprise

Switzerland, Zambia, Namibia, South Africa. Email: info(at)edulution.org

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