News

September 19, 2017

Student Metacognition: How Overconfidence Leads to Unpleasant Surprises

June 2, 2017

Amplifire Offers Free Cybersecurity Training Module in Response to Worldwide Surge in Cyberattacks

Boulder, CO (June 1, 2017) — Amplifire, the industry leader in brain-based, scientifically proven adaptive learning software used by global healthcare, education, and Fortune 500 companies, today launched a free trial of its new course, Cybersecurity in the Workplace – Protecting Systems and Information. In developing this course, Amplifire partnered with BlacKnight Cyber Security International, a cybersecurity firm offering threat vector solutions, cyber wargames, certification training, and top secret/SCI staffing.

The course equips employees, through brain science “triggers,” with the basic knowledge necessary to protect their employers from cyberattacks. An additional cybersecurity course, specifically for healthcare organizations, is scheduled for release in June.

A 2015 study from the University of Alabama revealed that three out of four companies view employee negligence as their greatest security threat.[1] Further, a 2016 Pew Research study found 84 percent of American adults use memorization or pen and paper as their only form of password management.[2] The Health Care Industry Cybersecurity (HCIC) Task Force recently released a report on improving healthcare cybersecurity. They remarked that healthcare organizations need “actionable intelligence that allows them to take rapid action to respond to current threats.”[3]

“This cybersecurity module is a useful tool for organizations who want to find and fix cybersecurity misinformation among their workforce,” said Steve Hesse, Lead Content Architect at Amplifire. “With financial, legal, and ethical obligations to clients and investors, organizations today need to be especially watchful of security risks and understand the impact a security breach could have on their organization.”

The Amplifire platform has the ability to adapt and focus on “struggle areas” until they are mastered and remembered by every employee. Struggle data alerts managers to actionable patterns that would otherwise remain invisible.  Smart refreshers confirm mastery over the data.

Integrated into the platform are 15 triggers, designed by the world’s leading experts in brain science and cognition, that stimulate rapid learning and drive long-term memory. Chief among these triggers is the notion of confidence, which is a predictor of action. Amplifire finds and fixes Confidently Held Misinformation™, which are untruths held in the neurons of the learner.

Amplifire has found misinformation to be universal across industries. A cross-section from a variety of Amplifire modules revealed between 21-37% Confidently Held Misinformation™ among employees in aviation, healthcare, and service industries.

“Confidently Held Misinformation™ is not going to protect your organization from phishing, malware, ransomware, or any other type of cyberattack,” said Nick Hjort, Vice President of Software Product and Development at Amplifire.”

Amplifire chose to partner with BlacKnight Cyber Security International due to their status as a military-grade cyber security expert organization.  Jim Lacey, President at BlacKnight, said, “we see new and damaging cyber threats daily, so we were excited to partner with Amplifire on this very important educational project. More than ever, companies need to proactively arm their employees with tools and information to prevent security breaches that could adversely affect their business.”

About Amplifire Performance:

Amplifire equips organizations with the power to reduce error and financial loss while improving the performance of every worker. Amplifire is a patented online learning system that leverages key findings from neurobiology and cognitive psychology. It helps people quickly acquire the information they need to know, remember it long term, and accurately recall it under pressure. This science-based solution, combined with the software’s advanced algorithms, identifies high-risk, high-liability misinformation and rapidly transforms it into mastery. Amplifire can stand alone with full administrator control and data visualization capability, or integrate with any learning management system (LMS).

About Amplifire Healthcare Alliance:

The Healthcare Alliance is a network of health systems and hospitals whose mission is to prevent avoidable harm and waste by solving critical problems rooted in misinformation. Members share authoring, learning and analytics platforms, exchange blinded data, and collaborate to manage change and improve processes. Members include Partners Healthcare, Mass General, Providence Health in Seattle, University of Colorado Health in Denver, Intermountain Health in Salt Lake City, and Mercy Health in Cincinnati.

About Amplifire:

Amplifire’s mission is to build a smarter, safer, more prosperous world in which people perform at their highest potential. Amplifire, a division of Knowledge Factor, a leading software-as-a-service (SaaS) company, makes adaptive online learning platforms that maximize human performance at scale by reducing Confidently Held Misinformation™ leading to risk, loss and harm. Perfected since 2001 by the world’s leading experts in brain science and cognition, Amplifire’s patented algorithms and analytics have improved the lives of thousands of professionals, students and patients and saved clients millions of dollars. Learn more about Amplifire’s Advanced Education for higher ed, Amplifire Performance for the corporate market, and the Amplifire Healthcare Alliance for the healthcare industry at www.amplifire.com.

[1] “Infographic: Promoting data security in the workplace,” University of Alabama Management Information Systems Program, 2015, <http://businessdegrees.uab.edu/resources/infographics/promoting-data-security-in-the-workplace/>

[2] “Americans and Cybersecurity,” Pew Research Center, 2016, <http://www.pewinternet.org/2017/01/26/americans-and-cybersecurity/>

[3] “Report on Improving Cybersecurity in the Health Care Industry,” The Health Care Industry Cybersecurity Task Force, 2017, <https://insidecybersecurity.com/sites/insidecybersecurity.com/files/documents/may2017/cs2017_0156.pdf>

June 1, 2017

Engaged Learners Learn More

Brain science studies show that engaged learners learn and retain more. Using artificial intelligence, we adapt training to each user’s specific knowledge to keep them engaged and eliminate boredom. Talent Managers claim that Amplifire’s adaptive learning program is not only more effective than other training platforms but it also attracts talent and sets them apart from the competition.

April 12, 2017

New Amplifire Feature Offers Real-Time Learner Assessment and Instructor Feedback: Learner Transcript Provides Actionable Insights for Efficient and Effective Progress

Boulder, Colo. (April 4, 2017) – Amplifire, a scientifically proven, adaptive learning software solution used by healthcare, education and Fortune 500 companies like UCHealth, Partners Health, Mastec, United Airlines, CompTIA and The Princeton Review, today launched Learner Transcript – a new feature that highlights a learner’s strengths and deficiencies to better inform and adapt subsequent training and study sessions.

Amplifire’s Learner Transcript is a detailed, at-a-glance report of individual performance, progress, and learning challenges within each course. Its development is based on recent trends in adaptive learning in higher education that call for improved access and analysis of real-time student data. In the dashboard, learners can track their performance and identify areas where additional study and remediation is required. Instructors can easily access individual learner progress and performance data in one centralized location. They can then quickly drill down into the information they need and respond with customized, effective coaching and tutoring, two of the most proven best ways to retain students.

Learner Transcript Example

Learner Transcript Example

Specifically, the Learner Transcript dashboard illustrates:

  • Progress
  • Time spent
  • Knowledge levels, including initial knowledge from Amplifire’s adaptive learning assessment
  • Refresher performance
  • Course performance comparison against peers
  • Question-level drill down
Question Drill Down Example

Question Drill Down Example

“We expect the Learner Transcript to significantly impact the efficiency and progress of learners’ study plans, as well as improve instructors’ ability to diagnose and correct learner outcomes,” said Bob Burgin, CEO of Amplifire. “This feature is just the latest in our vigilant efforts to address the needs of our clients while continuously improving upon one of the world’s most effective technologies for adaptive learning.”

Amplifire’s proprietary software, developed by the world’s leading experts in cognition, includes triggers that switch on learning and dopamine levels in the brain resulting in faster learning gains coupled with increased memory and retention over time. Amplifire’s patented algorithms and visual heat maps provide evidence of learning and the reduction of Confidently Held Misinformation™ instances that can cause risk, loss and harm in any industry. The software is one of the world’s leading brain science based learning technologies, and is successfully deployed within three key verticals: Amplifire Healthcare Alliance, Amplifire Advanced Education, and Amplifire Performance.

For more information about Amplifire, or to inquire about free pilot program offers, demo programs, or scholarships, please contact Amplifire at info@amplifire.com.

March 27, 2017

Amplifire’s Scientific Advisory Board Member Wins Prestigious National Award from Association for Psychological Science

Boulder, Colo. (June 6, 2016) – (Marketwired – March 07, 2017) – Amplifire, a scientifically proven, adaptive, elearning software solution used by healthcare, education, and Fortune 500 companies like UCHealth, Partners Health, Time Warner, United Airlines, CompTIA, Mastec, and The Princeton Review, honors an inaugural member if its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), Daniel Schacter, Ph.D., for his selection as recipient of the 2017 William James Fellow Award from the Association for Psychological Science (APS).

Daniel Schacter

Schacter, a distinguished author, former chair of Psychology at Harvard University and founder of Harvard’s Schacter Memory Lab, will be honored with the William James Fellow Award for his “significant intellectual contributions to the basic science of psychology” at a ceremony in Boston in May. The award is the highest honor conferred by APS.

“Dan’s unique insights have been instrumental in developing the scientific underpinnings of our learning platform and incorporating the recent trends in brain science,” said Bob Burgin, CEO of Amplifire. “Specifically, his research on forgetting, memory, and the study of fMRI imaging during learning has helped formulate Amplifire’s brain science based learning technology. We are very proud to be associated with an important leader in this field of study.”

Amplifire’s proprietary software, developed by the world’s leading experts in cognition, includes triggers that switch on learning and dopamine levels in the brain resulting in faster learning gains, coupled with increased memory and retention over time. Amplifire’s patented adaptive learning algorithms and visual heat maps provide evidence of learning and the reduction of Confidently Held Misinformation™ data that can cause risk, loss, and harm in any industry.

Schacter was one of the first members of Amplifire’s prestigious SAB – a collection of the nation’s leading neuroscience and cognition experts on learning and memory – to review, validate, and enhance the methodology and algorithms of the Amplifire software platforms. The platforms have remained at the forefront of scientific advancement in learning and memory.

“With guidance from our SAB, Amplifire evaluates new research for triggers that are empirically shown to switch on learning circuits in the brain that cause memory,” said Charles Smith, co-founder and Chief Research Officer for Amplifire. “We then incorporate the most effective triggers into our software-based elearning platforms to speed up the process of learning and ensure that the resulting memory is more durable than with traditional study techniques.”

This dedication to software supported by scientific research has contributed to the success of the Amplifire adaptive learning solutions in practice across all company verticals:

Amplifire Healthcare Alliance – helps hospitals discover and prevent patient harm and financial loss caused by Confidently Held Misinformation™ data.
Amplifire Advanced Education – partners with colleges and universities on curriculum innovation, microlearning, and student analytics leading to higher retention rates.
Amplifire Performance – corporate elearning solutions equipping leadership with the power to rapidly understand and improve the performance of every worker.

In addition to Schacter, Amplifire’s SAB members include:

About Amplifire:
Amplifire’s mission is to build a smarter, safer, more prosperous world in which people perform at their highest potential. Amplifire, a division of Knowledge Factor, a leading software-as-a-service (SaaS) company, makes online learning platforms that maximize human performance at scale by reducing Confidently Held Misinformation™ data leading to risk, loss and harm. Perfected since 2001 by the world’s leading experts in brain science and cognition, Amplifire’s patented algorithms and analytics have improved the lives of thousands of professionals, students and patients and saved clients millions of dollars. Learn more about Amplifire’s Advanced Education for higher education, Amplifire Performance for the corporate market, and the Amplifire Healthcare Alliance for the healthcare industry at www.amplifire.com.

February 28, 2017

Amplifire Announces New SVP of Advanced Education Division

Boulder, Colo. (February 28, 2017) – Amplifire, an adaptive, science-based learning software used by educational leaders like Pearson, CompTIA, the Princeton Review and Barbri since 2001, today announced the hiring of Gregory Simmons as the senior vice president of sales for the company’s higher education and test prep division, Amplifire Advanced Education.

Simmons, with his 20 years’ experience in higher education and educational technology, will be responsible for the growth and strategic direction of Amplifire Advanced Education, which partners with colleges and universities on curriculum innovation and student analytics resulting in higher retention rates.
The company’s expansion in advanced education is due, in part, to growth within educational technology (edtech) – a market that is predicted to grow at a rate of 17 percent per year, reaching $252 billion by 2020[1].  Also, demand from the U.S. Department of Education[2] and some of education’s leading associations[3] for edtech developers to:

  • Improve access to and analysis of real-time student data
  • Incorporate findings from “learning sciences” to deliver stronger, longer-lasting learning outcomes; and,
  • Demonstrate the value of courses through increased retention is driving rapid progress.

Research shows that students suffer under a variety of cognitive illusions about how best to learn. Amplifire’s difference includes triggers in software that switch on learning in the brains of students, and with visual heat maps that provide instructor guidance.

“Leaders in advanced education are calling for Amplifire’s quantitative methodology and advanced analytics, which are proven to help students learn and retain information better.  Our software was built by the world’s leading cognitive researchers to focus on three core issues affecting institutional success within education – curriculum innovation, student retention, and value,” said Bob Burgin, CEO of Amplifire. “The time is ripe to expand our footprint in this market, and with his experience and vision Greg will be instrumental in this expansion.”

Prior to joining Amplifire, Simmons held senior sales roles at various education technology and information providers including serving as Chief Sales Officer for Turning Technologies, where he established a sales force and the profitability strategies for the company’s student response systems (SRS) across five market verticals.

Simmons also served as the Vice President and National Sales Manager for Cengage Learning, formerly Thomson Learning, from 2004-2013. While at Cengage, Simmons was responsible for growth strategies of the Higher Education, Career, Enterprise and Library Science sales forces within the Academic and Professional Group. He has also held numerous leadership roles in Sales, Training and Development.

Simmons holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from San Jose State University and a master’s degree in International Management from The American Graduate School of International Management.

“I have a passion for education – specifically helping students experience success and achieve their career goals,” said Simmons. “I’ve seen a lot of solutions come and go, but Amplifire’s interactive technology walks-the-walk with successful learning outcomes and efficacy through adaptive, science-based instruction. I’m proud to represent Amplifire.”

About Amplifire:
Amplifire’s mission is to build a smarter, safer, more prosperous world in which people perform at their highest potential. Amplifire, a division of Knowledge Factor, a leading software-as-a-service (SaaS) company, makes online learning platforms that maximize human performance at scale by reducing confidently held misinformation leading to risk, loss and harm. Perfected since 2001 by the world’s leading experts in brain science and cognition, Amplifire’s patented algorithms and analytics have improved the lives of thousands of professionals, students and patients and saved clients millions of dollars. Learn more about Amplifire’s Advanced Education for higher ed, Performance for the corporate market, and the Healthcare Alliance for the healthcare industry at www.amplifire.com

[1] http://ecosystem.edtechxeurope.com/2016-edtech-report OR http://www.marketwatch.com/story/global-report-predicts-edtech-spend-to-reach-252bn-by-2020-2016-05-25-4203228[2] The United States Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology (OET) report: Reimagining the Role of Technology in Higher Education[3] Educause: http://er.educause.edu/articles/2017/1/top-10-it-issues-2017-foundations-for-student-success

June 6, 2016

Knowledge Factor Launches New Version of Amplifire Software Fine-Tuned for Greater Efficacy and User Engagement

Boulder, Colo. (June 6, 2016) – Knowledge Factor, Inc., developer of Amplifire – a learning software that is used by category leaders including Pearson, CompTIA, The Princeton Review, Barbri and the world’s largest consulting firm – today launched the latest version of its revolutionary application, complete with new features designed to improve user experience, efficacy and engagement.

“Our goal is to take practical insights from our users and clients and apply them in a way that is consistent with the science of learning and memory,” said Bob Burgin, CEO of Knowledge Factor. “While it is often difficult to accomplish this because the science is complex and often counterintiuive to the traditional learning, this latest version of Amplifire incorporates new features that are important to our community while expanding on our hallmark of science and learning efficacy.”

Based on user feedback, testing and focus group studies, the latest Amplifire release includes two significant features that provide learners greater control over their learning experience and study options:

• The optional-view Learner Heads Up Display shows real-time learning progress, including an overview of module performance against each question, an estimate of time remaining to completion and an average confidence barometer. Learners can immediately apply this feedback as they work through the course, and as a result, experience much higher engagement and learning efficacy.

• The new Smart Refresh option, available upon completion of a module, offers users a smarter, more efficient way to study. This feature allows users to efficiently “refresh” their knowledge by only reviewing questions they answered incorrectly or with doubt, and eliminating questions that they knew well from the start. As a result, users are able to quickly and effectively maintain a high level of subject matter mastery. This feature is derived from big data analysis of more than 600,000,000 learner iterations that demonstrates up to a 30 percent knowledge decay in newly remediated after just three months. Amplifire’s new Smart Refresh is targeted specifically at forestalling this decay by offering users fast a recharge of those concepts that are the hardest to retain.

Additionally, the latest Amplifire release offers a variety of UI adjustments for greater ease-of-use including revised navigation, helpful visuals and easier access to key learning and study tools.

Since 2001, Knowledge Factor has collaborated with leading clinical psychologists and neurobiologists to develop Amplifire – the world’s most advanced education and learning platform. The software leverages 21 science-based learning techniques that are proven to trigger learning and improve knowledge retention and recall. As a result, Amplifire delivers unprecedented learning and memory results, such as a 47 percent increase in pass rates, a 30 percent increase in grades, and a 50 percent reduction in study times with up to 90 percent knowledge retention after 12 months (versus 10 percent after two weeks with traditional learning methodologies).

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CB Insights outlines the key players in the educational technology space

Educational technology (or Ed Tech) has become a major focus area for venture capitalists with over $1.43 billion invested since 2011. Even after a recent drop in Q1’16 investments, the ed tech industry is experiencing increased globalization and a wider range of focus.

A recent article published by CB Insights outlines the key players in the educational technology space, including a unique visual representation of the breadth and depth of the ed tech landscape. Here is the periodic table of the key players in ed tech:

The Periodic Table of Ed Tech

As you can see there are 14 focus areas within CB Insight’s periodic table, ranging from ‘Childhood Edutainment’ to the industry’s ‘Top Investors’. Knowledge Factor is grouped with nine other companies under the ‘Career/Enterprise’ classification. This category displays the key players that offer a unique platform for online training of employees and clients.

Knowledge Factor’s presence on CB Insight’s data-driven periodic table demonstrates the efficacy of its learning software, Amplifire, in the ed tech space. Most notably in this space, the software has partnered with leading career certification and test preparation providers such as CompTIA, The Princeton Review and Barbri. In addition to this work, Amplifire is the provider behind higher-education giant, Pearson, and its Dynamic Study Modules, and has been used for training in some of the nation’s leading corporations since 2001.

May 25, 2016

Knowledge Factor’s Launches Gap Finder Assessment Tool

New Feature Saves Training Resources by Better Streamlining Learning Efforts

Boulder, Colo. (May 25, 2016) – Knowledge Factor, Inc., developer of Amplifire – a learning software that is used by category leaders including Pearson, CompTIA, The Princeton Review, Barbri and the world’s largest consulting firm – today launched its Gap Finder assessment. The Gap Finder assesses a user’s base knowledge and identifies strengths and deficiencies to better inform subsequent training or study sessions, maximizing time and budget resources for organizations and individual learners alike.

Amplifire’s Gap Finder assessment asks questions on key topics from a larger learning, training or test preparation program. Upon completion, Gap Finder delivers a summary of the learner’s knowledge against each topic, indicating where knowledge is strong, average or weak.

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For organizations, this summary provides a preliminary risk diagnostic, identifies specific knowledge gaps within workforces, and ultimately saves training resources by allowing learners to “test out” of content and topics they already know. For individual learners, such as those using Gap Finder as a pre-exam or pre-certification prep tool, this summary provides an informed jumping off point from which they can begin their study.

“We expect Gap Finder to have a significant impact on the way organizations evaluate knowledge, identify topics to be trained and refine their training approach toward the ‘prior knowledge base’ of their workforce,” said Bob Burgin, CEO of Knowledge Factor. “This new tool will empower organizations and individuals to focus on the topics that need the most review, and not waste valuable resources on those that are already well-understood – saving both time and budget.”

Since 2001, Knowledge Factor has collaborated with leading clinical psychologists and neurobiologists to develop Amplifire – the world’s most advanced education and learning platform. The software leverages 21 science-based learning techniques that are proven to trigger learning and improve knowledge retention and recall. As a result, Amplifire delivers unprecedented learning and memory results, such as a 47 percent increase in pass rates, a 30 percent increase in grades, and a 50 percent reduction in study times with up to 90 percent knowledge retention after 12 months (versus 10 percent after two weeks with traditional learning methodologies).

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Is your LMS really working?

Over the last 20 years, cognitive science has identified specific techniques that help learners’ brains efficiently and effectively encode, store and retrieve information from memory. While there are a handful of learning technologies that are embracing cognitive science and demonstrating improvements in every measure of learning efficacy, the vast majority of eLearning solutions have yet to incorporate this science.

Learning Management Systems (LMSs), MOOCs, microlearning companies and many other eLearning technologies have perfected the art of digitizing and distributing content, but they continue to use traditional learning and testing methods that don’t incorporate modern scientific understanding, and as a result, deliver mediocre outcomes.

Traditional Learning: Digital Delivery of Analog Content

These tools rely largely on digital representations of outdated instructional methods—in-person lectures become videos, printed training manuals become PowerPoint presentations, and so on. Modern scientific study has proven these techniques are inadequate for effective retention of new information. Consider that one week after a lecture, learners remember as little as 10 percent of the information. Or that 80 percent of learners believe that re-reading will help them remember the material, but research has shown that after one week they will only retain 39 percent of the re-reading.

Traditional Testing: Forgetting, Guesswork and Misinformation

The testing methodologies deployed through many LMSs also create blind spots around the knowledge quality of a workforce for two reasons.

First, it is difficult to quantify knowledge acquisition and retention. Often testing is performed immediately following training, so it does not adequately reflect rate of forgetting. Advanced forgetting curves can be used to calculate the rate of memory decay—how much a learner will forget and how quickly they will forget it—and identify optimal windows for testing and review, but in traditional testing methodologies, forgetting is never considered and a one-time test is the only determinant of knowledge.

Second, the majority of testing in digital delivery platforms is conducted through multiple-choice prompts with few safeguards against guesswork and misinformation. Research indicates that 20 percent of information scored “correct” on a test is actually guesswork. Additionally, even the most well-trained workforces have an average of 25 percent misinformation–information about which learners strongly believed they knew but were actually wrong–which traditional testing methods have no way to root out and correct it until after a mistake occurs.

Proactively identifying misinformation can result in millions in cost savings, and one way to do so is by analyzing metacognitive metrics. In fact, research out of UCLA’s Bjork Forgetting Lab has not only proven the positive connection between confidence-based testing (CBT) and knowledge retention, but CBT has also been proven to help prevent guesswork and identify misinformation.

The research does not stop at identifying what doesn’t work. In fact, the cognitive science literature identifies at least 21 triggers proven to cause learning and lasting memory. Here are three examples:

  • Retrieval practice, sometimes called “self testing,” strengthens the “retrieval pathway” to the information. Retrieved memories are remembered with greater strength than items that go un-retrieved.
  • Spacing study sessions over days or weeks, even months improves long-term retention of the content. Reviewing information repeatedly (e.g., re-reading) in a condensed period of time (e.g., cramming) results in retention rates that are similar to those cited above. But seeing something again after the passage of time as forgetting sets in tells the brain that this information must be important… remember it!
  • Uncertainty in one’s accuracy causes dopamine levels to rise, triggering a learner’s brain to become engaged and motivated to seek the correct answer. These levels skyrocket when uncertainty is at its highest possible level—50:50.

The good news is that there are already a handful of learning technologies leveraging this science to great effect. These technologies are creating a paradigm leap in efficacy – dangerous misinformation can be proactively identified, learning times can decrease by upwards of 50 percent and employee errors can be reduced by as much as 80 percent, saving organizations millions as a result.

Purchasers of learning and training technology are often led to believe that by implementing an LMS with interactive content they are integrating the latest in learning technology. But these platforms only offer the latest in distribution technology, with no cutting-edge, science-based pedagogy built in. Because this is where all of the actual dramatic improvements in learning outcomes arise, these systems can’t deliver long-lasting results. So, if you have content that is important enough to measure, then it is time to reassess your LMS.

Published originally by CLO Magazine.

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The Misappropriation of Cognitive Science Principles in EdTech

Funding to edtech startups from venture capital firms has grown 503% over the past five years, according to CB insights. In total, the edtech market will receive about $2 billion in venture funding this year. As in any other field, edtech entrepreneurs are interested in addressing critical issues in education while building a sustainable business. To date, new edtech products and services have impacted some of these issues, but incorporating research from cognitive science offers edtech companies the opportunity to increase their impact.

In the last 20 years, scientific understanding of human learning and memory has significantly advanced. Research in psychology and neuroscience has identified specific techniques that can help students encode, store and retrieve information; this research is just beginning to inform the work of edtech entrepreneurs. There are a handful of learning technologies that are currently on the market that incorporate principles of cognitive science to support student achievement across multiple measures of learning efficacy, including knowledge creation, subject mastery, memory duration and study time reduction. However, there is also significant noise in the edtech market from companies who claim to be “science-based,” but whose products/services do not effectively use research-based strategies or tools.

These misleading claims are related to venture capital investment. Investor demand for quick return has launched a foot race of companies who feel pressure to prioritize speed over substance in securing market share. Sometimes these edtech companies make claims about “robust” scientific foundations that aren’t fully supported by the literature, if at all. These claims are based on three forms of misunderstanding, which have different roots.

Partial understanding of the science

In some cases, learning technologies rely on discrete, marketable scientific insights that do not embrace the depth of complexity of the research literature. The brain performs billions of tasks a day as part of learning and memory production. Given this complexity, there is not a single scientific insight that will improve learning on its own. For example, consider Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve, which calculates a generalized rate of forgetting over time and is often used to determine when students should review what they have learned. Several educational technologies refer to this 100-year-old principle, but basing a technology on a single forgetting curve is overly simplistic. Moreover, the research in cognitive science during the past century has greatly advanced our understanding of how memory functions. Current research indicates that there is not just one forgetting curve, but multiple forgetting curves that are predictive for individual learners. In fact, modern software powered by data analytics and scientific rigor can predict forgetting curves for different types of information in an individual learner’s brain. For example, Cerego’s learning algorithms draw on principles of learning, memory and performance to generate dynamic data about student learning. Teachers receive information about when students might forget content they have learned and how to increase retention based on individual student’s cognitive data. In addition, Amplifire has designed a learning platform that uses data analytics to adapt to individual learners. The software provides the content that needs to be reviewed to ensure mastery based on the individual learner’s needs. Cerego’s and Amplifire’s solutions are powerful examples of what is possible in the field. Edtech companies that develop products or services not grounded in current research in the learning services may limit the efficacy of their offerings on teaching and learning.

Simply getting it wrong

Some edtech companies crowd their marketing materials with unproven or even disproven scientific claims. For example, several edtech companies allude to the notion that people learn best with an individual, preferred “learning style,”- the idea there are visual learners, auditory learners, tactile learners, etc. However, the theory of learning styles has been intensely reviewed, tested and debunked (Pashler, McDaniel, Rohrer and Bjork, 2009; Rogowsky, Calhoun and Tallal, 2015). In another example, many edtech learning platforms attempt to improve student engagement by incorporating content that has interesting visuals, including videos, graphics, charts and photographs. While visual cues can be helpful to initial learning and can boost engagement, they can also create context dependence that is detrimental for long-term recall (Bjork and Bjork, 2009).

There are also several examples of companies that get it right by incorporating cognitive learning to improve the efficacy of their solutions. Mindprint Learning targets individual learning by assessing a learner’s strengths and weaknesses and then creating a unique learning profile. The in-depth assessments consider areas such as higher-order reasoning, memory, processing speed and executive functions such as attention. NERVANIX is another company that is focused on the individual learner. It provides analytics measuring attention levels of learners in real-time and longitudinally.

The science can be counter-intuitive

The most effective learning techniques can appear counter-intuitive. For example, research shows that answering questions about a topic prior to studying the topic helps the learner create a mental frame for learning the content and increases the speed of knowledge acquisition (Hays, Kornell and Bjork, 2012). Furthermore, research indicates that briefly delaying learners’ receipt of detailed, written feedback increases long-term retention by almost 500% (Pashler, Cepeda, Wixted and Rohrer, 2008). Neither of these concepts are intuitive learning techniques, but both of these concepts are supported by research. Since these apparent contradictions raise marketing concerns, some edtech companies choose to ignore them.

There will always be edtech entrepreneurs who misappropriate cognitive science principles for one reason or another, whether consciously or unconsciously. Edtech entrepreneurs who would like to better understand the implications of learning sciences to invent technologies that improve learning should consider the following:

  • Retrieval practice, sometimes called “self-testing,” is arguably the most effective way to cement learning into memory. Self-testing strengthens the “retrieval pathway” to the information. Retrieved memories are remembered with vastly greater clarity than information without retrieval practice (Roediger and Karpicke, 2006).
  • Spacing study time in short sessions and/or across days/weeks will improve long-term retention. Repeatedly reviewing information in a condensed period of time (ex. cramming for a test) results in poor recall, but seeing information again after time has passed signals to the brain that the information is important to remember (Cepeda, Vul, Rohrer, Wixted and Pashler, 2008).
  • Interleaving a variety of topics to study at the same time results in higher test performance than studying a single topic at a time (Roediger and Pyc, 2012).
  • Finding a balance between learners’ struggle and success. Setbacks and failure, are necessary parts of learning, and experiencing and overcoming difficulty can enhance long-term retention and improve the learner’s’ ability to transfer knowledge to other subject areas (Bjork and Linn, 2006).

Developing technology solutions that incorporate these principles of cognitive learning can have impressive results for recall and performance. According to estimates by Amplifire, ectech companies that have done so effectively have improved recall rates by more than 80 percent and have decreased study time by as much as 50 percent over a 52 week period.

While scientific discoveries hold tremendous potential to impact education, edtech entrepreneurs must study and appropriately apply them them in order for this impact to be realized. Otherwise, technologies will continue to deliver only marginal results in improving student learning, no matter how impressive the marketing scheme.

Original article contributed by Barbara Kurhsan interviewing Bob Burgin, CEO of Knowledge Factor, on Forbes.com.

October 7, 2015

Amplifire to Host Annual Scientific Advisory Board Meeting

Boulder, Colo. — October 7, 2015 — Amplifire — the proven learning software that delivers measurable results for many of the world’s leading corporate and educational companies — will host some of the world’s most prominent cognitive psychologists and pedagogical scientists at its annual Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) meeting October 15 – October 17, 2015. These scientists will convene in Boulder, Colo., as part of an ongoing effort to apply their research and findings into technology for the educational and learning markets.

Amplifire’s prestigious SAB contributes to, reviews and validates the methodology and algorithms of Amplifire software, keeping the organization at the forefront of scientific advancement in learning and memory.

“With guidance from our SAB, Amplifire surveys the research literature for triggers that are empirically shown to switch on the learning circuits in the brain that cause memory,” said Charles Smith, co-founder and Chief Research Officer for the company. “We then work to figure out how to turn the most effective triggers into techniques in software that cause the process of learning to speed up, and the product of memory to become more durable.”

Amplifire’s SAB members include:

  • Dr. Robert Bjork Ph.D. and Dr. Elizabeth Bjork, Ph.D. of the Bjork Learning and Forgetting Lab at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • Dr. Chad Lane, Ph.D. from the Institute for Creative Technologies at University of Southern California (USC)
  • Dr. Richard Mayer, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology and educational multimedia specialist from the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB)
  • Dr. Kathleen McDermott, Ph.D and Dr. Henry Roediger, Ph.D. from the Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) Memory Lab
  • Dr. Daniel Schacter, Ph.D. from Harvard University’s Schacter Memory Lab

During this two-day meeting, the SAB will:

  • Lead a learning and memory workshop wherein members present their latest research to the Amplifire staff
  • Discuss what’s on the horizon in terms of new research, experiments and findings for learning and education from the scientific community
  • Evaluate and make recommendations for current and future product features with Amplifire’s executives and product innovation staff

Amplifire was founded on, and is continually improved by the world’s leading pedagogical scientists. The software is built upon 23 science-based learning techniques that are proven to increase knowledge acquisition, engage user engagement and increase both long-term knowledge retention and knowledge retrieval. The 2015 Scientific Advisory Board meeting will be held in Boulder, Colo. at Knowledge Factor headquarters from October 15 – 17, 2015.

About Amplifire

Amplifire is the proven learning software that delivers measurable results and improved performances across the education, test prep, healthcare and corporate markets. Built by the world’s leading pedagogical and neurobiological experts, Amplifire leverages its patented methodology, robust analytics and deep business insights to help client organizations save millions of dollars and transform their businesses – reducing training times, eliminating risk and error, improving user knowledge levels, and identifying and pursuing new go-to-market strategies. Since 2001, Amplifire has helped enhance the offerings, products and outcomes of education industry leaders like Barbri, The Princeton Review, Pearson Higher Education and CompTIA, and of corporate leaders like GE, Oceaneering and the world’s largest consulting firm.

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BlacKnight Cyber Security Builds Training Program with Amplifire

BOULDER, Colo. — August 13, 2015 — BlacKnight Cyber Security International, a leading organization for cyber security expertise and training, has partnered with Knowledge Factor to launch a new learning tool designed to help organizations mitigate their risk of cyber attack.

BlacKnight Cyber Security International (BCSi) leverages its network of cyber security experts and IT associations to provide cyber threat prevention through assessment and recommendation, as well as employee training. Through this partnership, BCSi will incorporate its industry-leading content into Knowledge Factor’s Amplifire learning software – a solution proven to increase knowledge acquisition and retention.

“We have found that employee training is one of the best preventative measures against cyber security threats and attacks,” said D. Scott George, EVP, BCSi. “To keep today’s organizations safe, BCSi is developing tools that not only teach employees the information they need to know, but also ensure that they can remember and apply that information on the job – that’s why we’re working with Knowledge Factor. Knowledge Factor’s state-of-the-art learning technology will propel BCSi curriculum into a league of its own.”

Cyber security continues to rise in priority for organizations of all sizes as costly attacks cause harm. A 2014 PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of more than 500 U.S. executives revealed that 69 percent of respondents were worried about the impact of cyber threats on their organization’s growth prospects. BCSi uses training, assessment, and real-world examples to better prepare companies to handle and react to threats.

“BCSi is made up of the best cyber security experts in the industry,” said Bob Burgin, CEO, Knowledge Factor. “Our software has a track record of success in IT and cyber security training, and we’re excited to see the impact we can make together with this new partnership.”

About Knowledge Factor

Amplifire is the proven learning software that delivers impacting results and improved performances across the education, test prep, healthcare and corporate markets. Built by the world’s leading pedagogical experts, Amplifire leverages its patented methodology, robust analytics and deep business insights to help client organizations save millions of dollars and transform their businesses – reducing training times, eliminating risk and error, improving user knowledge levels, and identifying and pursuing new go-to-market strategies. Since 2001, Amplifire has helped enhance the offerings, products and outcomes of industry leaders like Barbri, The Princeton Review, Pearson Higher Education, CompTIA, and the world’s largest consulting firm.

About BlacKnight Cyber Security International

BlacKnight Cyber Security International (BCSi), is a Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned (SDVO) small business that assists government and corporate clients in crafting risk management solutions for emerging cybersecurity threats. Beginning with a unique training tool that delivers more effective learning and greater retention, BCSi provides innovative cybersecurity solutions to U.S. intelligence, homeland security, cybersecurity, and other national security organizations.

With offices in Colorado Springs, Denver, Austin, Sacramento, and Washington, D.C., BCSi is strategically located to accommodate customers in every corner of the nation. BCSi has an impressive senior leadership team possessing extensive experience and relationships in myriad public and private sector operational domains to include the White House, National Security Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense, information technology, intelligence, cyber homeland security, and academic and research communities. BCSi’s reach is global, with widespread experience and relationships on virtually every continent, particularly throughout Europe and Asia.

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Knowledge Factor Receives 2015 Vision Award from the Technology Services Industry Association

Boulder, Colo. (May 8, 2015) – Knowledge Factor today announced it has been named winner of the 2015 Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) Vision Award in the commercial category. The award was announced May 6 at the Technology Services World (TSW) Best Practices conference in Santa Clara, California.

This was TSIA’s sixth annual Service Revolutions competition, featuring a series of on-stage demonstrations revealing the latest innovations in technology services, including cutting-edge services new to the market, start-ups with innovative service models, the newest advances in service technology, and the latest breakthroughs from the emerging world of service science. Finalists in the Service Revolutions competition were in the running to win TSIA’s coveted Vision Award, with winners being determined by a live audience of industry practitioners along with a panel of expert judges. The categories for Service Revolutions 2015 are:

  • Commercial
  • Start-up
  • Service Practitioner

Knowledge Factor won the 2015 Vision Award in the commercial category for its revolutionary performance impact engine, Amplifire – with 78% of the voters indicating the solution was “off the charts cool” or “very cool.”

“We knew Amplifire would be a perfect fit for this award because the technology represents a dramatic leap forward in the type of impact and results that organizations can expect from learning and training,” said Terry Erdle, Senior Vice President of Business Development for Knowledge Factor and presenter at TSIA. “Not only does the software enable organizations to more effectively train their employees, but it also offers unique capabilities – such as the identification of high-risk, high-cost misinformation within even the most well-trained companies – that result in dramatic cost savings and error prevention.”

“Since Service Revolutions began in 2010, this event has become renowned for its exciting and format, which allows the audience to get a firsthand look at some of the latest innovations in tech services,” said J.B. Wood, president and CEO of TSIA. “With ‘Driving Adoption and Outcomes’ being the theme of this spring’s TSW conference, we are proud to recognize Knowledge Factor for their dedication to excellence in the development of their solution.”

Click for more information about the Service Revolutions and Vision Awards.

Knowledge Factor receives 2015 Vision Award

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Pearson Extends Partnership with Knowledge Factor to Improve Learner Outcomes

NEW YORK (August 12, 2015) – Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, today announced an extended partnership with Knowledge Factor, Inc., the developers of Amplifire – the learning software underlying the Dynamic Study Modules learning tools within Pearson’s MyLab™ & Mastering™ technologies. Through the use of MyLab & Mastering with Dynamic Study Modules, educators are able to continuously assess learners’ performance and activity and leverage data and analytics to personalize content in real time, reinforcing concepts that target each student’s particular strengths and weaknesses.

Pearson’s Managing Director of Higher Education, Paul Corey, said, “The Dynamic Study Modules provide learners with a tool that is engaging, has an easy-to-use and intuitive interface, and fosters retention of content and concepts by employing advanced learning science techniques.”

Since 2012, Pearson has implemented Dynamic Study Modules, powered by Amplifire, into more than 350 of its digital MyLab & Mastering tools. This extended agreement will continue to provide Dynamic Study Modules to students and educators within the higher education market, including those at undergraduate or graduate institutions. Dynamic Study Modules will be available via web, tablet and mobile device.

“Working with Pearson over the past few years has been very fulfilling as we instituted our software into its digital MyLab & Mastering learning tools,” said Bob Burgin, CEO of Knowledge Factor. “We know that the future of learning is in digital content, and are excited to continue our collaboration with Pearson to further improve student achievement through digital innovation.”

With input from more than 11 million student users annually, Pearson’s MyLab & Mastering, the world’s leading collection of online homework, tutorial, and assessment
technologies, creates learning experiences that are truly personalized and continuously adaptive. MyLab & Mastering reacts to how students are actually performing, offering data-driven guidance that helps them better absorb course material and understand difficult concepts.

Dynamic Study Modules provide educators with access to real-time analytics that enable continuous assessment of student performance and activity, identify concepts that need reinforcement, personalize content to target each student’s particular strengths and weaknesses, and validate mastery of the information to be learned. Additionally, Dynamic Study Modules software is based on scientific findings from the areas of neurobiology and cognitive psychology, and incorporates techniques proven to promote fast learning and long-term knowledge retention.

Pearson and Knowledge Factor Partnership

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