Meet our two new AI bots modeled on CEO Sahra-Josephine Hjorth and Chief Learning officer Lise Andersen-Alstrup
The future of learning is all about leveraging the power of technology to make learning experiences more efficient and more effective. Having said that, when designing our software, we wanted to ensure the preservation of those spontaneous collaborative moments that take place between teachers, students and team members. You know, the “Do you have any cool materials I can use to teach about Louis XIV in class today?” or the “I can’t decide between AP Chemistry and AP Physics, which one would you recommend?”. That’s why we put great effort into creating numerous social spaces within our platform.
But we also wanted to ensure that our course creators and learners felt supported throughout the learning process, regardless of whether their friends or colleagues were available to answer questions. Our goal was to ensure the provision of high-quality, consistent and personalized support 24/7. How could we achieve this? Well, by creating bots modeled on our top learning experts: Sahra-Josephine (our CEO) and Lise (our Chief Learning Officer). Don’t you love technology?
As well as being cultured, funny and up for a casual chat, Sahra-Josephine and Lise can answer any questions you may have about the learning process or course creation. As a learner, you can ask Sahra-Josephine questions about courses, knowledge tags and exercises and she will guide you through them. This comes in handy if you’re having trouble accessing a feature or if you can’t decide on your next course and want some recommendations.
If you’re a course creator and you need an extra hand building your courses or learning about exercises, tagging, videos and materials, Lise will help you. She knows everything about the how, where and why of course creation. Our goal is that if you bump into the slightest obstacle while creating your courses, Lise can help you out right away. We value your time and want to help you optimize your course creation efforts so that you spend those extra hours on other activities.
So… Head over to say hi to Sahra and Lise. And don’t forget to ask them about their favorite music!
Leveraging Artificial Intelligence to launch the self-building course – a course that is auto-created after placing materials in the cloud
In 2015, while conducting her Ph.D. research at Aalborg University on virtual learning environments, social media, and empowerment through learning, Sahra-Josephine Hjorth co-founded CanopyLAB with the vision of revolutionizing the way we learn.
Five years later, CanopyLAB is pioneering the future of learning through a learning experience platform that, through Artificial Intelligence (AI), combines Nordic principles of education with adaptive learning and a social network structure.
The platform is optimized by AI, not because it’s a buzzword, but because it solves a series of very specific problems for learners and course creators, and solving those makes digital course creation fun, fast and scalable. Let me elaborate:
Self-building content, pedagogical support, and quizzes that will blow your socks off
While we often work with learning nerds – a group we strongly identify with – a biology teacher once reminded us that you can be an incredible teacher without being a learning expert. He loved geeking out about biology but not about learning design and he couldn’t define social or adaptive learning. That interaction taught us an incredibly important lesson. That our job is to empower course creators to make a difference for learners, and the task of creating courses should be easy, fun, and adaptable to the needs of the course creators in a way that accommodates both the learning nerd and the biology nerd. So we created a series of AI automation processes that can assist you in creating courses. How? Well, we took a look at the DNA of a course first.
Mapping the DNA that makes up a course
On the CanopyLAB platform courses consists of:
- Learning materials (videos, audio files, pdfs, PowerPoints, and much more)
- Course introduction texts and unit descriptions with learning goals
- Pedagogical exercises such as adaptive quizzes, learning journals, brainstorming, baseline tests to mention a few.
- A tagging structure that allows learners to earn knowledge and exercise tags as they complete courses, showing progress in knowledge and skills shaped as a virtual CV.
- “Behind the scenes” a few more items are critical, one being curating exercises and not simply designing the content. It’s actually a lot of work pairing content and learning goals with exercises. Especially since we have 55 learning templates.
Let’s refer to each of these items as DNA molecules.
Automating each DNA molecule one by one
Our first challenge was actually cracking the CV which shows the knowledge you have learned from a course. It’s a very cool functionality because it helps us articulate what we have learned and what we are good at. Initially course creators manually picked tags that they felt were representative of what the learner would gain from each unit. But after we introduced Natural Language Processing (NLP) to meta-tag and catalog all the content that you upload onto a course (to our cloud as you commence building the course), we learned that after serious algorithm training, we could meta tag all text and video materials in less than 2 minutes and create an automated CV based on that, because our AI knows what every piece of material is about and what you learn from reading or watching it. Internally we refer to this algorithm as A1, and the process we used to train it as Dragon Training – and yes we are obsessed with How to Train Your Dragon.
Curating the pedagogical exercises
After this process, our AI engine recommends a pedagogical exercise for the course creator to include in the unit. Recommendations are essential because picking an exercise out of our 55+ templates can be tricky and time consuming. This is extremely helpful if you’re not sure which exercise is best for the content that you uploaded or which exercises your learners prefer.
AI Quiz question engine and 7 other exercises created by the AI
After our engine recommends pedagogical exercises, you may be unsure how to describe an exercise or want a bit of inspiration as to how it could be done. Don’t worry, our AI also auto-generates exercise descriptions for you; from instant quiz questions generated based on your course content to learning journals and definitions exercises designer to ensure learners understand all fundamental concepts.
Writing the course descriptions and learning goals
Based on the materials and choices made by the course creator, we can now automatically generate your unit description that details what the course is about and what the learners will gain from taking part in the course. In 2021 we are adding a learning goal generator. Isn’t that cool?
Now, we may not have a totally self-building course yet, but we have automated the most essential molecules already, and are excited about inviting you on this journey with us.
It was one year ago this month that COVID-19 overwhelmed us and changed our classrooms. Overnight, we educators had to learn, on our own, how to shift our lessons to Zoom, how to assess students virtually and how to use attractive presentations or games to keep our students engaged.
Many of us had to teach all day and then do research and prepare all evening for our lesson the next day. We were stretched and stressed as this massive change hit us like a Tsunami. To make matters more complicated, most of us had never taught virtually before. Digital tools we had to implement were completely new to most of us.
A critical need emerged in the community of educators and CanopyLAB responded. We invented TeacherLAB as a platform where a global network of teachers can learn new skills, collaborate with one another, and share successful practices. We now offer more than 40 cutting-edge courses designed to empower teachers to master new digital tools, online pedagogy techniques, and strengthen relationships with students and parents. In this article, we invite you to be part of this community and take 7 free courses that will help you in different aspects of distance learning: digital skills, pedagogical methodologies and emotional health.
To improve your skills in digital and remote teaching
How to create engaging presentations
Let’s be honest! Remote teaching involves a LOT of presentations. How can we make them effective and engaging? Our beginner’s level course will guide you through how to make attractive presentations to keep your students engaged and learning.
Teachers spend most of their time assessing student performance. This course will show you how to take advantage of the latest digital tools to assess your students’ work in remote environments.
Ensuring that all students are engaged, motivated and active can be a challenge even in the physical classroom. In remote teaching, the challenge is even greater. Students are more likely to lose motivation and concentration when isolated from the classroom learning environment. This course explores different ways to keep students engaged during online teaching.
Here are some of our interesting courses on general pedagogy
Problem Based Learning (PBL) is a wonderful tool that allows teachers to increase student engagement, practice collaborative learning, and develop research skills based on their interests. In this course, we introduce you to the main characteristics of the PBL approach so you can implement it in your classroom.
Blended Learning is the combination of face to face and online teaching. This model is becoming very relevant now that some schools are going back to the classroom only a few days a week. This course will lead you through the basics of blended learning and provide you with a few tips to make your lessons more effective.
Resilience is key when going through frustrating periods. When we cultivate it in our class we are not only having an impact on learning, but in our student’s lives. This course will show you how to include activities and ideas in order to cultivate an attitude of resilience in your students.
If you want to take some time for yourself
We won’t sugar coat anything- the pandemic is scary and overwhelming. Teachers have been dealing with an immense level of stress and this course is designed to help you through these times. In this mini-course, you learn tips on how to take care of your mental wellbeing during the time of COVID-19. You will learn about resources to spark interest in starting your own self-care journey.
As you can tell, we offer courses on a wide range of topics, from pedagogy to your well being as an individual. And these are just 7 out of 40+ that we currently offer on TeacherLAB. And we add new ones every month! Sign up here to join a community of teachers where you can learn, collaborate, and meet other educators around the world.
CanopyLAB, the EdTech company whose vision is to change the way we learn by combining artificial intelligence, virtual learning, social media, and empowerment through learning, announced it has attracted a $3 million funding round. $1.5 million consists of venture financing and $1.5 in venture debt from the Danish Growth Fund combined with soft money from the Innovation Fund Denmark, amongst others. The funding will support CanopyLAB’s international expansion in K-12 and corporate learning focusing on LATAM and Africa.
Further recognition from Elearning Industry: CanopyLAB featured on Top 20 LMS based on Customer Experience
CanopyLAB’s social and adaptive learning software is highlighted among Elearning Industry’s Top 20 LMS list based on Customer Experience. Coming in at a 19th place, a great rating for our first year on the list. Just last week CanopyLAB was listed as number 9 on Elearning Industry’s Top 20 LMS based on User Experience.
When discussing adaptive learning, there are some basic concepts that you should get your head around. The fundamentals are: Algorithms and AI, Quizzes and Assessments, Linear and non-linear learning, and finally personalized learning.
The wonders of adaptive learning is of course only half of the story. Here, we outline some of the most important discussions that we need to address when it comes to adaptive learning.
A very important issue to take into account when discussing adaptive learning is the transparency of the adaptive system.
A very important issue to take into account when discussing adaptive learning is the transparency of the adaptive system. In order for both the training manager/teacher and learner to understand and trust the technology behind the adaptive learning solution, it is crucial that the system is transparent as to which data is collected and how this data is used and for what. What are the data points and how are they used to adapt to the individual learner’s level and preferences?
In order for the adaptive system to work effectively, it needs a large set of data. The system needs to gain access to a lot of information (or data points) about the individual learner to actually assist their learning process on a personalized level. This means that the learner may have to go through a lot of quizzes and assessments for the adaptive system to actually become smart and assist the learner with efficient learning experiences and training.
Who asks the questions?
Many adaptive systems demand a substantial amount of work from HR and/or the digital course creators. The process of formulating questions within the specific topics and on different levels of difficulty as well as connecting relevant content to each question for the user to locate further relevant information is in many adaptive learning solutions a manual and highly time-consuming task. In order for an adaptive learning system to truly become beneficial for the company, it is paramount that the entire process is automated, from asking the right questions, assessing the answers, curating the relevant content, and leading the individual way for each learner.
Knowledge vs. Competencies
As of today adaptive learning systems still entirely focus on detecting and training knowledge. Knowledge that might become obsolete or irrelevant tomorrow. Adaptive learning systems still haven’t cracked the code as how to detect, train and assess skills and competencies such as communication, problem-solving, and collaboration. However, skills and transversal competencies are what most of us need to continuously develop and train in order to stay relevant which means that adaptive learning systems would also have to support this.
Adaptive learning systems still haven’t cracked the code as how to detect, train and assess skills and competencies such as communication, problem-solving, and collaboration.
As some intelligent adaptive learning systems are capable of modifying the learner’s preferences and learning methodology, there is a risk of learners reinforcing the same way of learning and not actually being disturbed properly, as is needed when developing. It is similar to the music and series streaming services you use daily: Those clever algorithms have really managed to serve you exactly what you want (and think you need). However, both when it comes to learning styles and ways as well as music and films we need to be disturbed. We need to get out of our comfort zone and into the deep water to actually learn that our preferences and we are not limited to what we think.
As some intelligent adaptive learning systems are capable of modifying the learner’s preferences and learning methodology, there is a risk of learners reinforcing the same way of learning […]
At CanopyLAB, we work hard to make it as easy and intuitive as possible to develop engaging digital courses, allowing the end-user to learn and develop just as they would have if they took a course at a physical location.
Increasing employee retention among distributed teams through skills-based training and strong company influencers
Arguably, the top 2020 HR trend is hiring distributed teams. Wework defines distributed teams as teams that “are composed of employees who work remotely from all around the world rather than being centralized at a single physical headquarters.
On February 11, 2020, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey shared plans to hire less staff in the Bay Area working towards a more distributed workforce. Jack Dorsey has long been an advocate for a distributed workforce¹, but how do organizations best support remote or distributed teams, ensure that they are productive, happy and identify with the company culture and values?
Moving beyond the hype- we are taking on a critical view of the biggest trend in Edtech today: Adaptive learning solutions. We are weighing in the pros and cons so that you can evaluate whether your company or institution should opt for an LMS that enables adaptive learning.
In an LXP, content is automatically created according to employees’ previous knowledge and focusing on gaining skills and competences to fill in their individual knowledge gaps.
Shifting employee experience to the core of corporate learning, the Learning Experience Platform (LXP) is the new black.