Digital Promise Releases Report on Value of Research in Edtech Design - Digital Promise

Digital Promise Releases Report on Value of Research in Edtech Design

Illustration of four people using edtech with charts and graphs showing that their tech is data/research backed.

February 24, 2022 | By

In an industry that values innovation, cutting-edge design, and lightning response to changing market needs, how can edtech products demonstrate their effectiveness? Typically, efficacy studies serve as a metric for understanding the value of a learning tool. While efficacy studies play an important role in determining product quality, they require a tremendous amount of time and resources. School district leaders and other edtech purchasers need a timely, reliable beacon to help them sort through the myriad products available.

Teachers and practitioners don’t get access to best practices that come from research, and we have to fix that. And the only way to fix that is for there to be more conversations between the two, to have more products and schools and platforms that use research, and for that research to have actionable recommendations for practitioners.
Dr. Katie Brown,
Founder and Chief Education Officer, EnGen

Over the past three years, Digital Promise has engaged educators, districts, students, and product developers in conversations to identify a crucial signal of edtech excellence: a design basis in learning sciences research. When edtech products are built on empirical evidence of how people learn, education leaders can feel confident that their students will experience meaningful learning opportunities. At the same time, companies are better able to articulate the intended educational outcomes of their product.

At Digital Promise, we’ve taken the second anniversary of our very first Product CertificationResearch-Based Design—as an opportunity to revisit the importance of designing products with learning sciences research at the forefront. In our new report, An Overlooked Indicator of Edtech Quality: The Use of Learning Sciences Research, we provide an in-depth look at how learners and products alike can benefit from research-infused design. Through a survey of over 25 product respondents as well as five case studies with research-based product teams, we highlight some ways that products see learning sciences research as a beneficial, and even vital, part of their operation.

By leveraging learning sciences research, we can make sure that what we build will work in helping kids learn, and so that we can systematically evaluate learning outcomes for different learners across different contexts to drive further improvements.
Dr. KP Thai
Director, Learning Sciences and Analytics, Age of Learning, Inc.

Some key findings include:

  1. Learning and development as a practice and industry is not fixed, and incorporating learning sciences research ensures product design and development can be as dynamic as the evolution of educational research.
  2. Relationships between researchers, teachers, school and district leaders, and edtech developers can increase outcomes and bridge barriers to implementation.
  3. Learning sciences research enables products to start with an anticipated outcome and build a tool intended to achieve that goal.


Find out more of what we learned in the new report.

Second Edition of Research-Based Design Product Certification

Digital Promise is thrilled to launch our second edition of the Research-Based Design Product Certification. Ongoing partnerships with educators and education leaders, certified products, and nonprofit organizations have helped us see the value this work has contributed to the field. These results have only further invigorated our belief in the vision that Product Certifications can serve as microphones to amplify the needs of educators and learners in classrooms, and of school and district administrators, to help guide the edtech industry to meet its potential.

We invite educators and education leaders to explore more about this work at our website and call on products to demonstrate that they’ve met these standards by applying to earn certifications.

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