There are some emerging patterns that are indicative of where the emerging efficacy movement will take us. The UNC Learning Technology Commons is UNC’s system-wide app store that gives better learning tools to our 225,000 students and 20,000 instructors. Dozens of companies have been accepted in the Commons (and we have recently re-opened the competition). The products we’ve accepted so far generally have a couple of things in common:
They’re discipline-specific. Unlike the LMS, which tries to support learning across all fields (and as a result doesn’t do well by any of them), the best apps do one thing well. Edthena has figured out how to let teacher trainees record themselves in the classroom and gather feedback on their practice from instructional coaches or peers. WriteLab helps students become better writers. GradeScope makes it easier for instructors to grade student work. MobLab builds learning simulations for the social sciences and management. These are narrow, discipline-specific use cases that are manageable for a small product team to take on. Each, if solved, would have a meaningful impact on learning and productivity.