Whenever you implement something new you need to ask yourself if the benefits exceed the costs in time and resources. To facilitate have summarized the educational benefits of LoopMe The educational benefits of LoopMe are mainly about five different aspects that are key to getting a good learning environment. These are described below.
1 - Better and faster feedback for both teachers and students
The importance of feedback in a learning environment is one of the factors that educational researchers are most in agreement around. Feedback affects the quality of education in a very tangible way. The most common aspect people think of is teachers who give their students feedback on their work. More important for a good learning environment is however the feedback coming from students to the teacher. Such feedback is absolutely central to the teacher's most important task in everyday life - pedagogical development. What works for which students is often dependent on so many factors that it is seldom easy to determine. Each teacher must constantly adapt and develop his / her daily educational practice based on the feedback students give about how learning works for them. If the importance of feedback is easy to agree on, it is however much more difficult to come up with practical solutions on how feedback should be facilitated in practice without causing a lot of extra workload for the teacher. Here LoopMe represents a whole new way to get significantly more feedback in schools and colleges, in both directions. The joy about being able to give and receive feedback in everyday life in schools and universities is also one of the most common topics when teachers talks about why they like to work with LoopMe so much.
2 – Clear, simple and fun social learning processes
Another factor that most educational researchers agree upon is how important socially situated learning is. Students learn more deeply and with greater commitment when they take part in so-called "communities of practice" of various kinds. This way of learning has gone by many different names over the years - some labels used are sociocultural, constructivist or practice-based learning. Again, it is much more difficult to get into practice for teachers than it is to talk about the benefits of social learning. Social learning processes are often complex and by necessity highly individualized, adding to the teacher’s daily challenges. But the good news here is that LoopMe significantly facilitates social learning processes for teachers who want to apply this way of working in education. With Loopme social learning can be structured in a quite straightforward way. The first step is for teachers to articulate specific tasks that all students then can complete, learn from and reflect upon. In a second step when the social learning process has started, teachers can use LoopMe to both follow and support their students’ learning, without suffering from an abundance of information for the teacher. In a third and final step, when the whole class is to be assessed, all necessary information is already stored in the LoopMe system. No need for the teacher to sit down and document exactly which student did what. All such documentation is produced by students themselves through the app or on the web in the course of the learning process. This means that social learning is both manageable, fair and even really fun for teachers using LoopMe.
3 - Facilitated assessment work
A third factor that many educational researchers agree on is the importance of "formative assessment" or "assessment for learning" as it is also called. This is about assessing students over time instead of summatively at the end, and to see assessment as a way to deepen and improve the learning experience rather than for grading purposes. Many studies have shown strong effects of such an assessment on student learning and engagement. Once again however, the practical challenges are quite difficult to resolve for teachers. Studies show that formative assessment is challenging for many teachers, in terms of finding time for the increased focus on assessment in the everyday practice. It simply takes more time to assess a learning process qualitatively through dialogue than to summarize into a grade at the end of a subject, course or module. Once again, LoopMe supports teachers in working with a technique of great value to the learning experience. By following students through LoopMe, teachers can easily integrate the assessment work into their daily work life. LoopMe also gives a clear structure for the assessment work that increases equality – all students can receive qualitative feedback from their teacher, not only those who make their voice heard in the classroom or lecture hall. When students do a mandatory reflection on each tasks they complete, this results in a flow of information that their teacher can follow and selectively give feedback on. In one hour of assessment work spent, a teacher can give many more students qualitative feedback than would be possible through other communication channels. This means that more teachers can now apply formative assessment in their everyday teaching. While all teachers might still not have the time to give such qualitative feedback despite its obvious benefits for learning, those teachers that already work with formative assessment can save significant amounts of time with LoopMe, and also improve equality in who gets feedback.
4 – Better connection between assessment and learning
Some educational researchers have raised the importance of alignment between assessment and student activities. What students are being assessed upon needs to be aligned with what they need to do in order to reach the desired learning outcomes. This means that what students should be required to do what they need to do in order to learn what the teacher wants them to learn. Educational researcher John Biggs has labeled this “constructive alignment”. This is a good idea, but not always so easy to implement in daily teaching practice. Since LoopMe relies upon giving students mandatory tasks that the students are required to do, this contributes to a stronger focus on activity-based learning. When teachers design various tasks in LoopMe, they are also required to consider which activities really trigger the desired learning for students. A teacher can make an informed guess, and then hand out the resulting tasks to the students. A couple of weeks or months later, data has been generated in LoopMe that allows teachers to follow up which activities turned out to lead to which kind of learning. This is achieved by putting the desired learning outcomes as tags in LoopMe. Students will then in the process tag their learning experiences, allowing for later analysis of which tasks lead to which kinds of learning. LoopMe is thus a tool for pedagogical self-evaluation for teachers. The teachers gets the analysis served on a silver plate, thanks to the mandatory tagging by students of each completed task in LoopMe.
5 – Support for collegial learning in teacher teams
A common response to what leads to positive educational development in a school or university is developmental discussions between colleagues around their own pedagogy and resulting student learning. It is naturally of high interest for teachers to discuss what seems to work well and not so well in their own teaching practice. Research also shows the high value of such collegial dialogues if they lead to peer learning between colleagues. It is however more difficult to collect concrete evidence to support such dialogues between colleagues. The risk is that discussions reinforce ingrained false beliefs and conjecture. Here LoopMe can help by constituting a research tool that a team of teachers can use to collect data about their own practice in their classrooms and then base their collegial discussions upon. Students get the opportunity to give their views on what works for them. Discussions between teachers around educational design and outcomes can now be held based on hard evidence from own practice. Statistics on which tasks have led to which learning among their students can be accessed in real-time by the teacher team as they sit and discuss in their internal pedagogical development meetings. This opens up for a much more evidence based teaching practice for teachers, where the data is produced by their own students in real-time.