Education News

Engageli and the coming wave of pandemic-era education tools

Written by Mamie M. Arndt

With the rapid shift to remote work and study brought about last year by COVID-19, tools that were initially developed for remote meetings were force-fit to meet the problem at hand. The result was less than ideal as we saw engagement drop, education metrics fall, teachers and parents rebel and issues with work-life balance emerge. 

Those tools then went through one of the fastest evolutions I’ve seen outside of wartime. (As with any long-term disruptive change, eventually, purpose-built tools do emerge.) I recently had a chance to look at Engageli, which is being developed in Israel specifically for education. It takes a collaborative, scalable approach to the problem of remote learning, making it a tool that might also be ideal for specific kinds of business engagements. These would include specified projects, inter-company collaborations, advisory councils, and, of course, training. 

The problem with engagement

At the heart of the problem with existing tools, which tend to be one-to-many efforts initially designed for virtual presentations, is engagement. Presentations, by their very nature, aren’t collaborative.  To be truly collaborative, tools need to allow team members to proceed to solve a particular problem or achieve a particular goal. 

The education issue was made even worse because classes had already grown to nearly unmanageable sizes, particularly in colleges and universities. Higher Ed classes can include up to 1,000 students and, even when conducted in person, generally underperform smaller, more focused efforts. But at least in a large auditorium there is a chance the speaker can see and quickly answer questions and engage with students; on a streaming Zoom call, that just isn’t possible. And students at home almost certainly face more distractions and less educator oversight. 

Engageli: The table metaphor

The thing that makes Engageli different is that it captures around 70 data elements that can detail attendee engagement and break the audience into small working groups. These groups can then collaborate on projects, with the instructor/project leader dropping into each group to keep them focused. Table sizes typically have fewer than 10 attendees, allowing them to be more easily directed and to work better together.

Advanced students, teacher’s aids, or individual team leaders can be placed at each table or grouped as the session leader sees fit. This approach isn’t uncommon for advisory councils or large teams working together. Effectively, it breaks down large groups into discrete units that can be created based on skills, or for alternative views, or to divvy up a large problem into smaller, more manageable parts. 

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

About the author

Mamie M. Arndt