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Did a Teacher Design This? Our Commitment to Simple Technology in Exact Path

Did a Teacher Design This? Our Commitment to Simple Technology in Exact Path

Striving to design simple technology that saves educators time and provides engaging student experiences is a never-ending quest at Edmentum. After each release of new program features, our research and design cycle begins again, with months of classroom observations and teacher and administrator interviews, dozens of design iterations, and multiple usability tests to ensure that our products deliver on our promise to put educators first (and, as every educator has told us, the best way to put educators first often involves enhancing the student experience).

Our findings from this process inspired us to make several improvements in our Exact Path summer 2018 release to help set up educators for success just ahead of back-to-school time. One of our key takeaways from observing students working through their Exact Path learning paths was a discovery that we needed to dramatically simplify navigation for our youngest students. Our previous research had indicated that K–2nd grade students needed a simple way to log in (resulting in our Easy Login feature), but more recent observations told us that students were getting confused by the variety of options we provided on their homepage. Teachers told us that most of the time, students just want to log in and continue working where they left off.

In response, we simplified the K–2 homepage for the summer 2018 release by moving features less frequently used to the side menu, reserving the center of the screen for the most common student activities. There, with one click or tap, students can start learning where they left off in the last session. The center also contains new messages and assignments from their teacher, as well as their reward tracker—a feature that teachers told us is important for student motivation. In addition, instead of providing students with multiple lessons to choose from, we now deliver lessons for their specific age group one at a time. From within the learning path, a “board game” progress bar lets students know where they are in their learning journey.

K–2 Learner Interface with Improved Navigation

During our research, many teachers told us that students are frequently added to their classes after the Exact Path diagnostic testing window has closed. In these situations, they need a way to assign late-arriving students a learning path without requiring them to wait until the next testing window opens. As of the summer 2018 release, teachers can now see which students don’t have a learning path in the Knowledge Map and can quickly create one with the click of a button.

Knowledge Map with Auto-Generate Learning Path Feature

For administrators, we now provide a time-saving feature that allows diagnostic assessments to be auto-scheduled for delivery to students when the testing window opens, further simplifying the steps required to get all students in the program. We have also added a data dashboard that provides an overview of student progress, which is viewable by school, grade, and subject. The dashboard also helps administrators keep track of which students have taken the diagnostic for a testing window, which students have not taken the diagnostic, and which students have not been scheduled yet. This is just the first iteration of the administrator dashboard; we will be adding many new reports in future releases.

New Administrator Data Dashboard

These are just a few examples of the many enhancements we’ve made to Exact Path in the summer 2018 release, but we’re far from being done. We’re committed to meeting your evolving needs and uncovering new ways to do things even better, which, as you might expect, has created a backlog of further enhancements that we’re working on now (and we’re pretty excited about it). We’re also planning the next cycle of user research and usability testing as the 2018–19 school year gets underway.

So, if your school is currently using Exact Path, don’t be surprised if we reach out to you in the coming months to get your feedback on an early design concept, to request an observational visit to your classroom, or to ask to conduct a usability test at your site. We can’t design products that meet your needs without your participation. For us, the biggest compliment we can receive is when a teacher asks, “Did a teacher design this?” In fact, owing to our continuous user research approach, our answer is usually, “Yes!”

Interested in learning more about the other exciting enhancements available in Exact Path just in time for the 2018-19 school year? Visit our Exact Path What's New page!