A new platform is developing out of the learning management system (LMS) era, says CEO Paul Lambert of the upcoming startup Matygo. Matygo, a course delivery platform developed in Vancouver, B.C., was a LAUNCHedu finalist at SXSWedu in Austin, Texas this March.
Matygo allows educators to run flipped classrooms, where lecture material is assigned as homework, and live class time is spent engaging in active learning.
“The biggest differentiator between us and the LMS category is that our system has an opinion on how people can learn more effectively. We focus our features around what helps educators teach more effectively while keeping students engaged,” says Lambert.
Lambert first developed the concept for a new era of LMS’s in college. He launched a tutor matchmaking site that was struggling to gain traction while he saw heavy use of a prominent LMS in his college and an opportunity for improvement.
He and his colleague Joe Gaudet developed an LMS that filled the void that they felt Blackboard created. The platform gained some early traction with several thousand students at local universities in Canada, but it soon became evident that the LMS space was becoming crowded.
“A prettier LMS just isn’t that disruptive,” says Lambert. “Plus just being a ‘better Blackboard’ wasn’t going to get us to jump out of bed in the morning.”
The team went back to the drawing board and began to research current teaching strategies, learning methods and more to find ways that technology can improve the overall process.
Technology isn’t the solution. Learning is the solution.
Lambert says, in order to understand the future of education technology, we must first understand the future of education as a practice and discover the overlap with tasks where computers excel.
“It turns out there is a schism between pedagogical experts and technologists,” says Lambert. “We want to bridge the schism, occupy the intersection of pedagogical and technological innovation.”
“Multiple studies over decades have show that active learning, including problem-based and peer-based learning have significant positive impacts on learning outcomes, student engagement, and student retention,” he adds. “Yet implementing this style is difficult. Organizations implementing the flipped classroom style approach are seeing gains, but there aren’t any tools educators can use to apply this pedagogical approach with their own material, that’s where we come in.”
Lambert set out to work with schools and educators to transform existing curriculum into video-driven course content, self-assessment questions, real-time group sessions and more. The software gives detailed feedback on the effectiveness of each video lecture and arms instructors with insight into the understanding of each student across different concepts.
The flipped classroom is more than a video lecture.
“It’s important to note that a flipped classroom platform is much more than just watching videos,” says Lambert. “Using YouTube on its own or simply assigning Khan Academy videos as homework is insufficient.”
Matygo uses videos and self assessment quizzes to suggest additional learning resources to students. Metrics empower educators to understand how each student is learning and to best identify additional learning needs.
“Matygo is not just a bucket for educational content,” says Lambert, “it’s equally a pedagogical process for delivering that concept in the most effective manner. The data analysis is not merely grades, but designed to uncover problem areas of understanding.”
The platform allows educators to assess student knowledge prior to beginning a class and make real-time adjustments to group collaboration, instruction and course work in order to ensure that each student grasps the concepts. Real-time group collaboration is an integral part of the platform, giving students a way to effectively communicate and socialize online.
“This is an essential part of the flipped classroom model,” says Lambert. “Simply doing lectures at home is only half the model. Work needs to be done in class as a group as well. We believe that when compared to a traditional lecture-based course, courses on Matygo are significantly more social.”
Technology will play a key role in delivering high-quality, personalized content to people around the world. He adds, “Personal consumption of educational content will be able to be done on the fly, delivered on multiple devices and multiple medias, all optimized for each individual.”
He says even fulltime online experiences need to be social. “Learning will always benefit from discourse,” says Lambert. “In no foreseeable future will computer agents be able to mimic the type of spontaneous revelation that takes place in social collaboration between human learners.”