IMS Global Announces 2015 Learning Impact Report

Growing Shift Towards Integrated Digital Content and e-Assessments Paving the Way for Tailored Learning Experiences

Lake Mary, Florida, USA – 8 December 2015 - The IMS Global Learning Consortium (IMS Global) released today the 2015 Learning Impact Report. This report provides analysis of the winners of the 2015 Learning Impact Award (LIA) program, an annual competition that was created in 2007 by IMS Global for the purpose of recognizing outstanding, innovative applications of educational technology to address the most significant challenges facing education. The 2015 Learning Impact Report offers a series of pragmatic themes, practices and recommendations that align with key learning impact trends to help institutions and educational authorities determine if they have considered a broad range of potentially impactful technology innovation.

The 2015 Learning Impact Report recognizes a growing shift towards fully integrated digital curriculum solutions that tie together the necessary architecture, platforms, and tools to allow teachers to efficiently engage with content in a variety of ways and pull specific material together for individual students as evidenced by three medal winners. Escambia County School District’s implementation of Pearson’s Schoolnet in approximately 50 elementary, middle, and high schools links instruction and assessment, creating a new personalized learning environment aligned to curriculum standards. Houston Independent School District’s implementation of Itslearning “HUB” learning platform consolidates all of their digital curriculum resources into one web-based, single sign-on, resource to provide an authentic and personalized teaching and learning environment. Orange County Public Schools’ implementation of SAFARI Montage’s platform provides teachers with a single interface to search and access all of their learning resources, enabling them to pick-and-choose content material according to student needs and desired learning outcome goals.

Another observation is that the proliferation of digital technology is opening doors to new types of assessment, thus fostering faster and more effective intervention with struggling students. Platinum medal winner Open Assessment Technologies (OAT) provides a free web-based, assessment platform (TAO) that provides customizable functionality during the entire assessment process: item authoring, test scheduling and delivery, automatic scoring, and test-taker management. The Universitat Oberta de Catalunya implementation of Present@ provides a technology-based solution for the acquisition and assessment of competencies in virtual environments that before could only be acquired in face-to-face environments. English Language Proficiency for the 21st Century Consortium and Educational Testing Services (silver medal winner) developed an assessment system that measures English Language Learners proficiency standards to ensure students leave high school prepared for college and career success. Other notable entrants, the University of Michigan expanded their Qualtrics online assessment tool to incorporate assessment capabilities not found in traditional assessment systems—e.g., heat maps, rank order, gap analysis—and can more accurately map to specific competencies. The LAMP Consortium’s VeriCite, provides another type of assessment: plagiarism in coursework.

Technology continues to transform course materials, moving away from proprietary textbooks to mix-and-match digital learning objects, resources and media, thus transforming teachers from content synthesizers to content creators and curators to provide interesting ways for students to consume content. Two examples of this trend in the post-secondary segment are DeVry University for the implementation of their Learning Object Infrastructure with EQUELLA, CourseWriter, and Sidebar to support its creation of 50 master courses during a 16-week production cycle and the New Jersey Center for Teaching and Learning use of Open Education Resources to support its Progressive Mathematics Initiative® and Progressive Science Initiative®.

Another notable observation is that digital technology is increasingly making learning up close and personal by creating new learning pathways for students to see, hear, and interact directly with course material to achieve desired outcomes. Education Services Australia (platinum medal) implementation of the Language Learning Space creates exciting and engaging Chinese, Japanese, and Indonesian web-accessible language study programs, using an interactive world of challenges in an immersive “graphic novel” gaming environment to practice language skills in context. Makers Empire’s (bronze medal) solution facilitates classroom adoption of 3D printing as an innovative way to support STEM curriculum. Honorable mention finalists, SMART amp at Marietta City Schools, helps students develop soft skills including collaboration, creativity and critical thinking, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s U-Pace Program helps raise academically unprepared college students’ degree completion rates by building a link between their efforts and positive outcomes, and Texas State Technical College Waco’s Co-requisite Success Program with Hawkes Learning showcases the use of technology to accelerate the developmental math sequence by condensing two levels of math study in one semester.

Another trend observed is that technology-based solutions that ensure accessibility and personalization for all students is a critical area for consideration, especially for those with physical and learning disabilities. For example, bimodal content presentation helped honorable mention contender ReadSpeaker’s Text to Speech and the Virtual High School make its catalog of online courses multimedia-rich and suitable for all of its 10,000+ students, including struggling readers and those with visual impairments.

“Our key objective for the Learning Impact Report is to identify and help make sense of pragmatic trends in the application of digital technology to improve teaching and learning,” said Dr. Rob Abel, Chief Executive Officer of IMS Global.  “Since the IMS Global community has consistently been 3-5 years ahead of the general EdTech marketplace in terms of adoption patterns, the learning impact trends observed through the analysis of the award winners serve as predictors of the future of mainstream adoption.”

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2016 Learning Impact Awards competition. Nominations for the 2015 Learning Impact Awards can be submitted at

About IMS Global Learning Consortium (IMS Global)
IMS Global is a nonprofit organization that advances technology that can affordably scale and improve educational participation and attainment. IMS members are leading suppliers, institutions and government organizations that are enabling the future of education by collaborating on interoperability and adoption initiatives. IMS sponsors the Learning Impact Leadership Institute, a global program focused on recognizing the impact of innovative technology on educational access, affordability, and quality while developing the people and ideas that are going to help shape the future of educational technology.