Why Instructure? Why Now?


What to Expect With LearnPlatform in the Instructure Family

In 2014, a small group of researchers, technologists, and educators had the vision to equip educators and leaders with evidence quickly enough to know what is best to do for every student. We recognized a need for a modernized, neutral system that could deliver 2 things:

Evidence – the generation of contextually relevant and practical proof that actions and interventions had a positive impact. 

Efficiency – the ability to produce and act on this evidence quickly for the benefit of students and teachers. 

We heard a call for a different type of organization, so we launched LearnPlatform as a for-benefit, mission-first research organization that was responsive to the needs of educators and their organizations first.

As with many new ideas, some bought into the vision, but many others did not. Education is nuanced, and lacks trust, due in part to episodes of well-funded bad ideas, good ideas with poor execution, and simple inertia. Over time, we met or exceeded expectations, and an increasing number of leaders and believers came to share and build on the vision. They collaborated with us, building trust together in what has become the first-of-its-kind LearnPlatform Edtech Effectiveness System. From educators to many others across education, our efforts to connect and work together have led to a meaningful platform that includes:

  • The first edtech usage tool on the market (for free no less!) resulting in the first and most extensive data-rich insights on edtech engagement, including the EdTech Top 40 and other reports on US edtech.

  • A default system for student data privacy management used by states, districts, and solution providers to save millions of dollars in duplicated effort while promoting safe practices and reducing the risk of cyber-attacks.

  • The first and only rapid-cycle evaluation engine, IMPACT™, empowering rigorous evaluation of education interventions in meaningful timeframes, not years after students leave the classroom. 

  • The introduction of more ESSA-aligned evidence than ever into the education community that can be accessed and applied by districts, states, and solution providers to drive more effective teaching and learning.

  • Free and cost-effective research, tools, frameworks, and insights to help our education system be more equitable, effective, and efficient, such as the National EdTech Equity Dashboard, the Universal Evidence Report Form v1.0, Educator grading tools and more).  

The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically accelerated the need for LearnPlatform. In the last year, we launched Evidence-as-a-Service and ESSA Evidence Badges™ – developed with input from the U.S. Department of Education and aligned with four levels of evidence required by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) – accelerating creation and access to practical, cost-effective third-party evidence for districts, states, providers, philanthropy, and investors. 

As demand increased, it was evident we needed to do more, faster, to reach our mission of ensuring equitable access to the teaching and learning that works best for all students. This would require more resources. So, along with our Board and impact investors, we decided it was time to identify outside investment opportunities. We needed a partner that was:

  1. Mission-aligned - committed to improving the system to expand equitable education.

  2. An impact accelerant - able to help us accelerate our impact and scale.

  3. Complementary and best of breed - would bring a team, expertise, and tools we thought we needed for the next stage, and be damn good at them. 

  4. Supportive of our effort and our independence - would protect our commitment to neutrality.

  5. Financially committed to success - willing to invest now and in the future to ensure the above.

Even in today’s challenging macroeconomic environment, the interest was substantial from a diverse set of potential partners. Instructure rose to the top. With them, the path to scaling evidence in education became clear. Together, we can bring the vision of efficient, accessible evidence to all.

What to Expect Next

Our award-winning innovation, independent rapid research, and the service our customers have always raved about will continue. The Instructure leadership team is committed to investment in the LearnPlatform roadmap and service model. Both organizations have a track record of open, transparent innovation driven by customer input. 

Further, Instructure recognizes the importance of research independence and neutrality for the whole field. We will continue to provide independent, research-validated approaches, with a cost-effective, unbiased business model, on the modernized education infrastructure that the education market desperately needs. 

This marriage is intended to grow the R&D infrastructure education needs further, faster, together.  While future blog posts will outline more details about the ways this marriage will impact specific user features, functions, and innovations, some of the innovations we’re hearing the need for, include:

  • Streamlining data integrations to continue making rapid evaluation easier, more cost-effective, and more useful.

  • A massive acceleration in ESSA-aligned evidence generation, distribution, and sharing for all sides of US K12.

  • More efficient, cost-effective, and responsive purchasing and implementation processes for districts, states and providers.

  • Expansion to higher education and international markets sooner than we would have been able to on our own.

What about the LearnPlatform team?  

True success is getting to work with people you actually want to work with, doing things you actually want to do. By that definition, we’ve been very successful at LearnPlatform.  Not only our team, but also all of our customers and partners, have become brothers- and sisters-in-arms in driving equitable education.

The LearnPlatform team continues on, with a larger team, more resources, and a broader landscape in which to innovate.  For me personally, as the founding leader of LearnPlatorm, I have almost every option in the world. This merger doesn’t tie me up but equips me to work where I want (or not). With all those options, I’m choosing to join the senior leadership team at Instructure to accelerate the impact we set out to achieve.  

As the LearnPlatform team and I work closely with leaders and teammates at Instructure to thoughtfully integrate our efforts for higher impact, I hope you – our current and future collaborators committed to a more effective education system – continue to give us the gift and respect of radical candor so we can work together to advance this mission.

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