Who, what where and why of LRM?

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By Gunnar Counselman

LRM is Learning Relationship Management.  It’s an emerging category of education technology that fills in the gaps left by other major systems like LMSs and SISs.  LRM does for learning what CRM does for sales — specifically, it gives organizations and those who lead them a way to make sure that every single learner has exactly what they need to be successful.  And increasingly, what people need to succeed is relationships.

MOOCs have made it clear that the classes at Princeton are not necessarily better than the classes at your local community college.  What makes Princeton better is the relationships that you can develop there.

Relationships with peers, mentors, faculty and staff and alumni.

Relationships with learning communities, departments, industry, and leading experts.  Relationships to goals, to content and to the university itself.

See, when you graduate from Princeton, you get a degree that is essentially a letter of recommendation from the faculty that says “this person met our high standards and is entitled to the rights and privileges thereunto pertaining”.

That recommendation from that faculty opens doors.  It opens doors to relationships.  It allows a stranger to say “well if the faculty of Princeton vouches for her, perhaps we ought to give her a chance.”

Education is fundamentally about relationships.  As the famous anonymous quote goes “A single mind by itself can only answer its own questions and is rarely, if ever surprised”

But even students who go to a vaunted university like Princeton can fail to grasp this.  And most students at lesser schools do so.  It’s easy to slip through the cracks of our industrial system of schooling.  To never develop strong relationships and so under-optimize your educational experience.

At a place like Princeton, that can still mean you get a good education by most standards.  But at a lesser school, or a school with lesser resources, advising, mentors, peers, goals, and community can be the difference between success and failure.

LRM is just a technology system for managing relationships.  But when used properly, it helps make sure that every learner has exactly what they need to succeed.

And if you don’t know what kind of relationships your students have, you’re gambling with student success.

In Boston, EdTech Start-Ups Offer Ways to Counsel Students, Manage Coursework, and Even Instruct on Birth Control

Kirk Carapezza / WGBH

College administrators and IT geeks are descending on Boston this week to discuss how the expanding role of technology in education is changing teaching and learning on college campuses. The 21st annual Campus Technology conference opened on Tuesday at the Hynes Convention Center, giving young start-ups the chance to push products that could shape the next generation of high-tech in higher education.

In between sessions exploring what’s new on the education technology horizon, faculty and IT staff walked the floor where more than 150 companies were hawking their software and gadgets. On display was everything from a virtual exam proctoring service to the latest in 3-D printing.

One start-up generating significant buzz was Fidelis Education, which is using social networking software to reduce attrition through online mentoring. Fidelis CEO founder Gunnar Counselman characterizes his product as a learning relationship management system.

“It’s basically a way for schools and companies – any teaching and learning organization – to make sure that every single person has the assets they need to be successful,” Counselman tells WGBH’s On Campus.

The software program helps faculty and administrators monitor students’ goals by tracking their coursework, extracurricular activities and mentorships.

“People are the most important but least talked about part of education,” Counselman says. “Each student gets a coach through the platform and that coach then guides you along the total trajectory of your education to make sure you don’t just graduate but you graduate ready for whatever the heck it is you are in school for to begin with.”

At a time when many families want a return on their investment, Counselman says Fidelis is meeting a real demand in today’s higher education marketplace. The start-up, which launched in December, has 15 customers so far, including Stanford, Arizona State, American Military University and Lipscomb University in Nashville.

Counselman says his product is geared toward college administrators who are struggling to maintain enrollment and produce graduates ready for the workforce. “There’s a bottom-line element to it, but there’s also a delivering-value-to-your-students element to it,” Counselman says.

Fidelis also allows companies to recruit directly from college and universities. It uses digital badges that show what students know and know how to do. Counselman thinks a college degree is a massive credential that doesn’t effectively tell employers what they need want to learn about potential candidates. “We’ve got a way for schools to issue badges and a way for students to be found by employers.”

Excerpt from article by Kirk Carapezza for WGBH News