Who is TestMe and what are they doing for the EdTech industry?
The vision for TestMe was initially born out of a frustration with the state of play in the education sector. We’re living at a time where we are constantly overwhelmed by new knowledge – we receive news alerts on our cell phones instantaneously, and we can source boundless information using search engines. This begs the question: how do we process all of this information? Generally, the sector has struggled to keep pace with these new developments. I believe that the way we share and consolidate knowledge should reflect the needs of the modern world.
Old ways of teaching and learning simply won’t cut it now, especially as society has transitioned towards remote and hybrid modes of education throughout the pandemic. Think about it this way: while the virtual classroom has its benefits – allowing people to learn more flexibly and at their own pace – staying engaged and remembering important information is a different ball game once you step outside of the physical classroom. Without the right tools in place, there is more onus on the individual to ensure that they’re actively participating and self-directing their learning. Most of us need a helping hand to stay on track – particularly if there is an end goal in mind, like a qualification or a written exam.
We developed TestMe with this in mind. Essentially, it is an intelligent learning aid which allows students, teachers and those looking to better their learning and professional development, to create flash cards. Rather than having to manually sift through endless revision notes, users will be able to upload their learning materials and our artificial intelligence (AI)-powered algorithms will then ‘read’ the material and generate Q&A sets and quizzes for learners to put their knowledge to the test. It is a simple premise – but one that removes the minutiae of creating revision materials, and vitally, learning from them.
Learners can answer in their own words to ensure that they have fully understood the learning material, and our platform goes a step further than traditional methods by gamifying the learning experience. As users create and take tests, they can share their resources with their peers and compete to top leader boards. Our hope is that it will begin to shift the status quo of hybrid education, which some view as passive and unengaging, and make learning fun again.
Who is TestMe for?
Our platform is geared towards student learners who are preparing for exams, as well as teachers, tutors and parents looking to help them along the way. We also have a separate subscription package available for businesses looking to give their employees a competitive edge when it comes to getting up to speed with essential company knowledge. Sales teams in particular will benefit from embedding all of the knowledge required to excel in their roles.
Because our tests are shareable, teachers and corporate training leaders can create assessments for learners and measure their class or team’s knowledge in real-time, which is obviously a real advantage when it comes to planning future learning initiatives and helping people succeed on an individual basis.
With all that said, TestMe is really for anyone who wants to learn anything. People can use it to remember important facts for pop quizzes, job interviews, as a stand-in for a personal tutor, or even just for fun.
Do you think that hybrid learning will take off post-Covid, or will new developments fall by the wayside now that things seem to be returning to some normality?
Hybrid learning has changed the education industry in a very big way since the pandemic first took hold. In many ways, it has been an important experiment; now that learners know that education doesn’t have to look like a full day in a lecture hall or a training centre, they are rightfully expecting newer and more flexible learning opportunities in addition to more traditional models.
This is already the case in the corporate world; although cases of COVID-19 are starting to come down, workers are still keen to strike a balance between in-person initiatives and remote work. Undoubtedly, the classroom will always be the lynchpin of a successful educational system in academia, but that is not to say that we can’t learn from the events of the past two years. While there is much to be gained from in-person debate and time spent in the classroom, autonomous learning an essential life skill we would all do well to develop further.
So, an improvement in the COVID-19 situation should not mean that we simply default back to traditional ways of learning. Across all educational settings, our own research has shown that the majority of people find online learning to be more convenient, so it would be a shame to do away with at-home initiatives. Instead, creating more innovative ways to engage students in online learning using AI-powered EdTech is a more logical vision of future education.
Much has been said about the cons of learning remotely throughout the pandemic. How will platforms like TestMe help to fill the gap?
Along with the merits of remote learning, of course, we must also acknowledge the difficulties that come with re-positioning a traditionally in-person activity. Initially, institutions were ill-equipped to make the shift as smooth and painless as possible, so naturally, some learners have faced significant disruption to their education as educators got to grips with new technologies and solutions. This is not to be taken lightly.
The pandemic has proven that tech is a very important enabler for education continuity, and this will always be vital, as we all experience interferences with our work or education from time to time. Whether this is due to illness, extreme weather, or an unexpected personal commitment, it is important that we have solutions on hand to keep our knowledge sharp. Many learners have experienced stress as a result of COVID-19 and learning against this backdrop has been extremely difficult. So, solutions like TestMe that do all the hard work by preparing revision materials, can be a huge help. Students can log in from any device, wherever they are located, to test their knowledge and keep up with their education in a way that is straightforward and stress-free.
What is the future of EdTech for you?
In the years to come, learners and educators alike can expect AI to play a much greater role in EdTech. For one, advanced technologies will enable teachers to better identify and compensate for any gaps in students’ knowledge. Already, we are making some real strides in this regard – some learning platforms can identify in real-time when students choose incorrect answers to questions, before notifying teachers of these weak spots. This means that teachers and trainers can modify their lesson plans to cater their curriculum to specific learners, rather than covering subjects which students already understand. Hopefully, this will mean an end to blanket approaches to education. After all, no two students will learn in the same way.
Another thing we are already seeing more of is gamification and technologies like augmented and virtual reality. (AR and VR). Immersive technologies like these will help students transport themselves in time to experience life in the Victorian era, as well as placing corporate workers into a virtual boardroom, where they can practise their presentation delivery skills without the pressure of doing it for real. The opportunities will be boundless, and learners will no doubt find this more experiential way of learning to be a real game-changer.