Customer Journeys: Learning Journeys – beyond ‘nudge’ to digital decisioning at scale

The Learning Emergence team hosted an International Centre for Infrastructure Futures workshop at the Systems Centre  yesterday to explore the synergy between ‘customer journeys’ as developed in the digital architecture of retail banking – and ‘learning journeys’ as developed by the Bristol team to capture the personal and social processes which contribute to the development of ‘resilient agency’.

the achievable goal of true ‘customer at a time’ value management with many millions of customers

Dec Blue Partner  Tim Crick, also a Learning Emergence Partner, showed how advanced customer decisioning technology can help organisations deliver agile and adaptive ‘customer at a time’ value management strategies across digital, assisted and face-to-face  channels. This transformation in approach to customer management is radical – from a product/campaign centred approach to a ‘customer at a time’ Next Best Action Journey, from siloed channels to ‘joined up’ channels, and from  ‘old data’ to ‘real time insight’ – its all about how to engage the individual in becoming resilient agents of their own financial journeys, rather than ‘telling them what to do’ and ‘selling them products they don’t really want’.  Dec Blue is partnering with the Learning Emergence Partnership to explore this ‘joined up thinking’ through research and development. Untitled

Lets just suspend our suspicion of the banks for a minute and explore these ideas.

Ok – this is ‘commercial speak’ but we are Analogical Scavengers....and if we look at this from a different viewpoint,then it has many of the characteristics of learning journeys.  The ‘person’ has a desire or a purpose. That purpose gives fuels their learning power.  They figure out how to go about achieving that purpose, to persevere and explore all the relevant data and options available to them, in their unique context. They accumulate all that information, no doubt feel overwhelmed, and challenged as they figure out how best to achieve their goal. They get the help they need (online and offline) and finally settle on their preferred outcome. Once they move in they’ve achieved their purpose…they got what they wanted and needed which was a home of their own (not a mortgage!).   This is what we call a ‘single loop’ learning journey – just getting the job done. But if we use the same digital decisioning capability to ‘make the journey visible’  so that the individual learns how to go about navigating the journey itself more reflexively, asking more questions, challenging more assumptions and exploring more alternatives, then we’re actually enabling people to strengthen their learning power and become more discerning and effective in creating value. 

customer journey

Just willingly suspend your disbelief’ about the banks for a moment. The focus here is on enabling the individual to identify a purpose, to creatively explore what their options are, to find people and resources to help them, to collect the data they need to explore options, to make a decision and to implement it. Maybe the outcome is a NO. Still it’s a job done and its a learning journey. The journey has an architecture – stages, steps, transitions, interactions, triggers, beginnings and endings. The point is we have the technology and the know how to build this sort of digital decisioning infrastructure at scale.

what if we tuned this technology to the challenge of CO2 reduction?

customer journey fuelled by learning

double loop learningThe ‘customer needs cycle’ matches the ‘authentic enquiry cycle’ ….. what we know about learning power and resilient agency adds value to this by locating the ‘customer’  (aka ‘learner’ or  ‘individual’) as the primary agent of purpose and thus the driver of the process. Resilience is about mindfully navigating the journey between purpose and performance fuelled by learning power, which is the way in which we regulate the flow of energy and information over time in the service of a purpose of value’.   The dimensions of learning power simply provide a language and a focus for how we can go about this and get better at navigating learning journeys when we don’t know what the outcome is in advance. Learning Emergence Partner Steven Barr took us through the first steps of designing a customer/learning journey focused on ‘cycle to work’ as a job to be done which, if done at scale would have an impact on the overall outcome of CO2 reduction.

linking the the knowledge and know how about digital customer journeys with learning journeys and applying this at scale to an important social  ‘job to be done’ is the next big research and development challenge

Gonski? Let’s get serious about school improvement

Good news: the Prime Minister is reconsidering his government’s decision not to fund the remaining educational reforms recommended in 2011 by the Gonski Report. However, the depressing track record of so many school improvement efforts was highlighted last week when new education minister Simon Birmingham noted:

We need to acknowledge that state and federal governments have ploughed lots more money into schools in recent years and with all of that extra money we haven’t necessarily seen improved educational outcomes” […] “There’s far more to getting better outcomes than just putting more money on the table.”

And he’s right. New work from Tony Bryk, President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, in Australia this week, shows just why educational improvement efforts so often fire blanks — but also, how his team is building the capacity of education leaders and practitioners to address complex educational problems, rigorously evidenced.

Improvement Science uses disciplined enquiry and analysis to inform ‘on-the-ground’ change efforts, adopting rigorous protocols for testing improvement ideas in practice.  In this way, leaders’ and practitioners’ ‘learning by doing’ accumulates through rapid prototyping, into practical field knowledge capable of producing quality outcomes.

Improvement Science has targeted deep-seated weaknesses in the US public school system, serving similarly challenged demographics to priority groups in Australia, with very encouraging results on student developmental mathematics, student agency, and new teacher retention and effectiveness. An equally important outcome from this work is learning how to initiate and sustain such improvement processes, a new approach that we are now initiating in Australia, based on our schools work over the last decade in the UK and internationally. Tony Bryk is the leading figure in the Educational Improvement Science movement, and is in Australia this week giving public lectures and running Masterclasses for educational leaders in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney, with support from NSW and SA Departments for Education, university education departments, and and leaders from diverse schools.

This deeply engaged way of working with practitioners in the trenches is also profoundly challenging for universities to scale sustainably. Academics are used to short-term collaborations with partner schools — for as long as the next grant lasts — from which emerges academic knowledge but rarely an intentional effort to deliver practical tools or capacity-building for the school. Models of systemic innovation diffusion — and we mean two-way traffic between the universities and schools — point to the potential of strategic partnerships with educational consultancies who can scale and localise educational innovation and staff development in ways that universities struggle to deliver. This is a learning journey for universities, as well as for policymakers, school leaders and students.

Here’s the closer argument for the Minister and his team to consider. What would count as an approach that not only takes seriously the best educational research, but is committed to translating this into practical approaches for schools, and leverages the networked power of “the cloud + crowd” to share rigorous evidence of successes and failures? The furrows in the playing field of educational inequality certainly won’t be levelled by a new steam roller driving through tougher standards. You don’t help someone grow merely by measuring them more often at higher resolution. Veterans in the field know that sustainable improvement comes from growing learning partnerships with school leaders, teachers, students, parents and local community. Easily said, but that takes a holistic, systemic mindset. It might even take a bit longer than the next election.

When it does come to quantifying impact, how do we do this intelligently, with integrity? It can be tough to gather good evidence in the daily routine of school, and teachers rarely bring expertise with research methodology and tools to gather quality data. Short of having your own personal team of academics on hand to support your school, how do you innovate in a disciplined way, at scale, with evidence, sharing successes and failures on the way? Worryingly, the Gratton Institute reports systemic weaknesses in schools’ capacity to gather and use effective progress data. The bigger flaw they point to is the blinkered dependency on very high stakes, disturbingly stressful and infrequent national tests, a poor diagnostic for an improvement strategy.

So for us, the question of demonstrating impact begs the question what kinds of learners are we trying to create? Ultimately, it is the assessment regime that drives what goes on in the classroom and how schools (and pupils) are judged. Universities must also bear responsibility for escalating the ATAR-arms-race that drives such behaviour in schools. For this reason, at UTS we often have to ‘de-program’ many first years out of their ATAR-egos, to explain that to really grow as learners, they are going to have to develop skills and dispositions that are not encouraged by high stakes exams. This drives our priority on using the power of learning analytics to provide rapid feedback loops for innovation, to develop not only literacy and numeracy — critical as they are — but the new student qualities needed to thrive in turbulence and complexity, and the new teacher qualities required to transform their practice.

Alternatively, we can let educational academics continue to generate the research outcomes that define the academic pecking order, while school improvement efforts continue to struggle — and wonder in another few years why the new dollars didn’t seem to make a difference.

Simon Buckingham Shum is Professor of Learning Informatics, and Director of the Connected Intelligence Centre, University of Technology Sydney

Ruth Crick is Professor of Learning Analytics & Educational Leadership, School of Education and Connected Intelligence Centre, University of Technology Sydney

Chris Goldspink is Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Incept Labs Sydney

Tony Bryk Australian tour kicks off

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Ruth, Chris and I are delighted to be hosting Tony Bryk this week, with colleagues at a series of events in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. Tony is the leading figure in the Educational Improvement Science movement, and we look forward to stimulating conversation with colleagues at  the NSW and VIC Departments for Education, and leaders from diverse school contexts.

Learn more. . .

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Carnegie Summit on Improvement in Education

I’ve just returned from this conference at which I gave a paper reporting on our proof of concept study in applying hierarchical process modelling to school improvement: Evaluating Wider Outcomes of Schooling, the ECHO project. The paper reporting the project has just been accepted for publication in Educational Management, Administration and Leadership.

Improvement Science – Systems Architecting

The theme of the conference was Improvement Science. In the world of Engineering and infrastructure, this would be called ‘systems architecting’. It was about a holistic, rigorous approach to improving organisations as complex systems, engaging all stakeholders in defining purpose, analysing the system, defining a measurement model, rapidly prototyping improvement strategies, whilst harnessing collective intelligence and ‘learning our way forwards’.

There were thought provoking keynotes, on Improvement Science, Lessons from Improvement in Healthcare and Resilience. There were over 1000 people present mostly from education, and a mixture of researchers and leading practitioners. It was inspiring to see and feel a new community of enquiry grow as we shared our bright spots and learned from our failures. Learning Together was a key theme and we were convinced that together we can achieve more than any one of us can alone.

Summit Highlights

Throughout the Summit, attendees reported key messages and actionable takeaways via Twitter. The event’s energy  and key ideas have been captured through a Storify.  The closing highlight video can be viewed on the participant portal and additional phoos from the event are on  the Carnegie  Facebook page.

Session Materials

If you are looking for materials from any of the Summit breakout sessions, they are available online at the participant portal. Log in using the credentials below to view and download PDFs of session presentations and handouts. In addition, videos from the keynotes have been uploaded for your viewing .

URL: carnegiefoundationsummit.org/portal
Password: Summit2015

Learning to Improve

The Summit saw the launch of Learning to Improve  which is  a key  resource if you want to engage more deeply in improvement science. Additional copies can be purchased through Harvard Education Press or any major book distributor. If you would like to use the book as a text for a class, please contact Carnegie directly ncole@carnegiefoundation.org.

Universities: core business (and analytics) in 2030?

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 6.31.38 pm Ruth and I have the privilege of working with Randy Bass [blog] and team at Georgetown University. Randy is a leading thinker  around the deep purpose of higher education, and how this entails rethinking student qualities, and analytics.

Jump to 40mins for his closing comments in this keynote envisaging higher ed in 2030. Here’s the gist:

Our calling as a university is the formation of men and women (but many institutions do this of course). However, we do so in the context of a community of enquiry and knowledge creation (fewer institutions do this). Moreover, we do so for the public, common good (fewer still have this explicit mission). These three are interlocked and inseparable.

The railroad companies who thought they were in the business of railroads went bust. The ones who thrived understood they were in the transportation business.

What’s our equivalent?

Let’s call it Formation.
Or Transformation.
Or Integration.

But if we think we’re in the business of Content, Skills or Information Transfer, then by 2030, we’re going to have a LOT of competition.

…or, as we might say, Dead In The Water.

His Formation by Design (FxD) initiative is defining the contours of this new landscape, and their progress report is an inspiring read (disclosure: it includes material from our contributions to a symposium last June). Or check out the video roundtable discussion series he hosted called Reinvent University for the Whole Person. He was also on the team of (what I think is) the largest national ePortfolio initiative in higher education, a reflection of the importance being placed on reflection for transformational learning.

Randy and team: all power to you as we figure out together how we redefine our calling, to help students find theirs. Along the way, lets reinvent the environments and metrics that will constitute the new evidence base in 2030 🙂