2015 Reflections: Donnell Kay & Reschool

Colleen Broderick from Donnell Kay foundation’s ReSchool Colorado writes about their 2015 Reflections on the Learner Advocate Pilot.

One of the lessons being: “Let practices and scale drive a need for the digital tool.”

She writes:

“When we were introduced to the Fidelis platform, its capability to support students in important ways aligned with the ReSchool vision. communicate a clear purpose, to pursue a personalized pathway and to cultivate a network of people to help accomplish their purpose reflected a level of agency we hope all students have the opportunity to achieve. As we entered the pilot, it became evident that our partners were also working to improve practices to support students in this drive for agency. For example, some were developing new curriculum, while others were building in strategies to help students connect with mentors. In the same way we recognized the tension that emerged from organizational and individual goals, we recognized that we introduced another tension between practice and technology. The instructional practices and structures to support students in their quest for agency was most important to get right first, before adding in the complexity of a new technology solution to manage the process and relationships.”

So with ReSchool’s help, we’ve decided to work with them to create our hack “Hacking LRM: A How To guide”, the solution to starting LRM right away without the sophistication of the technology, meant for smaller programs.

You can access ReSchool’s complete 2015 Reflection here.

Wainhouse Research 2016 Predictions

Wainhouse Research analysts lay out their predictions for 2016 in this article found here. One prediction in particular is that relationships and Learning Relationship Management will become more critical this year.

Alan Greenberg writes:

“At least one new category of products or use cases are going to begin to gain greater visibility in educational technology circles. One of them could be Learning Relationship Managers (LRMs), a new category of platform that combines the elements of e-portfolios, mentoring, analytics, learning communities, coaching and communications hubs, and more. The rationale for this new category is that – with a few exceptions – most Learning Management Systems have failed to provide a holistic ability to create a context for learner-centricity – and then measure outcomes.  I’ll explain this one throughout the course of the year but it’s definitely the coming thing.  “

We’re excited to read more this coming year, Alan!

Read the full article: http://cp.wainhouse.com/blog/2016/01/11/wainhouse-research-2016-predictions

Parchment and Connecting Credentials National Dialogue

Parchment and Connecting Credentials National Dialogue – an initiative supported by the Lumina Foundation and involving over 80 partners – will convene the first annual Summit on Innovating Academic Credentials.

Through keynote addresses, panel discussions and workshops, leaders from higher education, business, philanthropy, and technology will explore the transformative potential of technology in extending the reach and meaning of academic credentials.  Visionaries Anthony Carnevale of Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce and Arthur Levine of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation will both give keynotes addresses.

The day will include discussion with innovators from Princeton University, General Assembly, University of Maryland University College, IMS Global, and Burning Glass.

The Summit will be held Wednesday, February 17th, 2016 from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM at the Renaissance Washington D.C. Dupont Circle Hotel. To learn more or attend, visit www.ParchmentSummit.com.


#Relate2016 – Learning & Development Series

If you’ve started to think about your New Year’s Resolution, you might want to add one more to your list.

Do not miss out on Relate 2016, a progressive new Learning & Development Series that showcases expert guest speakers giving insights into the hottest topics in education. There’s a world of expertise out there and we plan on giving you the best of it.

Join us January 6 from 12-1PST as we speak with Craig Forman. With over 10 years of coaching and advising experience, he’ll give us insight into a topic that even the most progressive organizations are still trying to figure out…Coaching. It will be our first in the series titled “Coaching 101: Back to Basics”.

When: January 6, 2016, 12-1PM PST

Register herehttps://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/550724080939284710

Want to receive updates on the entire series? Click here.

More on Craig: 


Craig Forman’s career has been focused on human potential and more specifically, on how to support others in unlocking theirs. Currently, Craig works for Achievers, a company who’s mission is to change the way the world works, where he consults with HR professionals to increase employee engagement through peer-to-peer recognition and rewards programs. Prior to this, he spent over 10 years in Higher Education, 5 of these years exclusively on the development and delivery of coaching programs focused on student success; other roles included leadership in both Student Services and Admissions departments. Additionally he earned a Masters Degree in Organizational Psychology from Golden Gate University in San Francisco and is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force where he spend four years working in the Intelligence field as a Linguist. Craig lives just north of San Francisco in Corte Madera with his wife and 2 daughters (4 and 7); when not working or parenting he can found enjoying nature or catching live music.

EdTech That Connects: Learning Relationship Management

By Julia Freeland Fisher with the Clayton Christensen Institute

“Over the past few years, a new category of EdTech platform has popped up across K–12 and higher education called the learning relationship management system (LRM). LRMs join a larger wave of student-centered, next-generation infrastructure tools that put individual students—rather than instructors, courses, or compliance-driven data collection—at the center of learning systems architecture. Specifically, LRMs not only enable learning pathways that can guide students on individual paths to success, but also allow users to flex another resource often ignored in the course of instructional design and delivery: relationships. Looking ahead, these platforms could serve as an architectural backbone to an education system that optimizes not only for what students know, but also their access to networks and power.

Continue reading

ICYMI: Donnell Kay + Fidelis @ iNacol

Conference Ads (2)

We teamed up with the Donnell Kay Foundation to present how they leverage technology and relationships to cultivate student agency. Specifically they discussed their relationship strategy and reasoning behind using LRM to support it.

Find the presentation here:

inacol agency presentation.2015

Come See Us at OLC

We hope to see you at this year’s OLC Annual International Conference in Orlando, FL.

A presentation that you won’t want to miss out on:

Badging Models in Faculty Development
with Errin Heyman (University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences)
10/14/2015 at 11:45 AM in Northern Hemisphere E4
And Fidelis Education will be speaking with APUS at:
LRM Results (Learning Relationship Management)

10/14/2015 at 2:45 PM in Atlantic Hall

LRM Results (Learning Relationship Management)

10/15/2015 at 1:30 PM in Atlantic Hall
We’d love to see you and hear from you! If you’re going to the conference and would like to schedule time, please email chris@fidelis-inc.com.
For all other inquiries, please email caroline@fidelis-inc.com.

LRM Has Arrived

By: Gunnar Counselman, Founder & CEO

The CODiE Awards just announced that Learning Relationship Management (LRM) will have its own category in 2016.

To us at Fidelis, and to me personally, that’s a pretty big and exciting deal. It’s the latest and potentially biggest thing to happen that suggests that LRM is taking its rightful place alongside SIS, and LMS as a must have technology for schools that care about outcomes, and for companies that want to partner with those schools.

After all, it was just just 14 short months ago that we introduced the first commercially available LRM. I distinctly remember contemplating the risk of starting a new category of edTech with my board, agonizing over the decision with my brilliant partner and wife Anna Counselman, and then deciding that taking the risk was the best way to accomplish our mission: to transform the way the world learns to make it fundamentally relational and personalized.

My favorite accomplishment is always the next one, but I think it’s nice to occasionally pause to chronicle how far you can come in a short time.  Here’s the last year in review that led us here:


2012 Linda Baer and John Campbell introduce the term Learning Relationship Management


July: Fidelis introduces the first commercial LRM

July: EdSurge overs LRM

Sep: Bloomberg West covers LRM, Fidelis closes our 5th deal

Oct: Ecampus news covers LRM

Nov: Getting Smart covers LRM


Jan: Ed is Watching gives LRM its first K12 press

Mar: The first 3 case studies on LRM are published

June: the LRM Alliance is launched as an industry group to promote relationship management for education

July: Education Dive goes deep into LRM further pushing the message to K12 and higher ed

Aug: LRM crosses the Centennial boundary.  100 organizations around the world are using LRM.

Great Article in eCampus “4 Characteristics of a Good Ed Tech Investment”

“4 Characteristics of Good Ed Tech Investment
Thanks to savvy advice from technology investors, here’s why some innovations succeed, why some fail, and what the higher-ed market should expect in the near future.

invest-technology-educationForget MOOCS, say technology investors. What higher education institutions should invest in are personalized learning platforms that provide simple data on outcomes.

This was the main take-away from a panel hosted by the National Education Association (NEA) on investing in education.

According to investors, one of whom was once approached by a young Steve Jobs, investing in ed tech first means understanding its place in the overall market.

“The last major technology innovation that truly disrupted the higher education model was the lecture, and that happened in medieval times,” said Daniel Pianko, a partner at University Ventures. “Innovation in higher education moves slowly.”

“There’s only one company worth more than a billion dollars right now in education, and that’s Blackboard,” said Donn Davis, founder and partner of Revolution Growth. “Education is the second largest sector but it has the least innovation when it comes to the companies associated with it.”

However, after lamenting the up-until-now state of things, all investors part of the panel agreed that the market is about to change for education and its technology, due to two major reasons: the economy and global interest.

“Technology does two things,” explained Davis, “it makes things cheaper and it makes things better. And like no other time before, thanks to unsustainable high tuition rates and a lack of public faith in the power of traditional higher education, institutions will need to rely on innovative technology to make their ‘product’ cheaper and better.”

“Disruption only happens when others know it exists,” continued Pianko. “Because of the growing global interest in higher education, not only are incoming and current students demanding access to technologies on an incredible scale, but institutions need to become the best at what they offer to remain competitive—technology can help reach those goals.”

However, it’s not enough to provide technology, institutions need to know what they should invest in for success.

4 characteristics of a good investment

According to the panel’s investors, there are four characteristics of a good investment that ed-tech companies should consider–but these considerations can also apply to institutions:

1. It includes mass-market technology components: “A good question to ask is, ‘What innovations in other sectors are applied to this technology?’” noted Davis. “For example, does it include social media collaborative options, like Twitter and Facebook? It’s not about reinventing the wheel, but more applying other wheels to your wagon.” For institutions, take the example of an LMS: Does the LMS include tools and functionalities that allow for online collaboration within course units?

2. It should be independently tested: “Any good technology should be able to provide independent studies on its value and effectiveness,” emphasized Davis. “These outcomes should also be measured by the university; and the outcomes that should matter most are those for engagement and grades.” However, Pianko quickly noted that at the institution level it’s incredibly hard to test the effectiveness of a solution in even five years. The LMS example: Make sure the platform has been independently tested, and preferably piloted within multiple institutions, before purchasing.

3. It should have great branding and distribution: “Most of education’s best products never win,” said Pianko,” because it’s notoriously hard to get K-12, and in some respects higher ed, to take a risk on a new product due to resource and accountability pressures. However, if a company has partnered with another brand name, or is literally going from district-to-district and institution-to-institution, it has a shot. The solution should have a great distribution plan.” The LMS example: Has the company partnered with, or acquired, any other known education-oriented company?

4. It isn’t too innovative: Though this characteristic may seem ill-advised, investors agreed that if a solution is too outside-the-box, it often won’t succeed. “This isn’t because it’s a bad product,” explained Pianko, “it’s because if you stick your neck too high, you’re going to get shot at—by accreditors, by researchers, by skeptics. In the same vein, it’s also good to have a plan B in your business model when considering regulation.” The LMS example: It’s critical that the platform, at its core, is about providing the functionality of a good LMS, and doesn’t instead focus on functionalities that faculty and admin won’t actually use frequently in their day-to-day tasks.

The technology to invest in now

According to investors, MOOCs were an unfortunate mistake for many institutions, mainly because it was the only answer presidents and deans had to their board’s question of, “What is your digital strategy?”

“Presidents and deans were like deer in headlights, but they’re coming around,” said Pianko. “It’s important moving forward not to be short-sighted but to see the bigger picture of providing the best ‘product’ in higher education; and that means looking beyond just online learning to personalized learning and simple data.”

“It’s not about ‘how can I analyze Big Data to predict everything,’” said Davis, “but instead ‘what simple data can I use today (that may not be perfect yet) to improve outcomes?’ It’s the data that can tell you things like: how many times a student engaged with a professor and how often a student engaged with the material. This simple information can then measure an incredibly important outcome, such as a student’s likelihood of passing a course.”

“The data doesn’t have to be perfect,” he continued, “it just has to be good enough now and able to be improved upon later.”

Going a step further, Roger Novak, general partner of Novak Biddle, said that any personalized learning platform that has the ability to use Big Data to make predictions is a worthy investment.

“Big Data has the potential to predict pathways of successful people, but any data that can pinpoint a way to improve outcomes is useful.”

As for specific companies that Novak said could soon become “billion dollar-type platforms,” he mentioned:

  • 2U: An ed tech company that partners with universities to offer online degree programs. Read the eCampus News (eCN) article on 2U here.
  • EdCast: A personal learning network that aims to enhance the ability to collaborate and learn across educational materials, instructors, students and employers. Read the eCN article on EdCast here.
  • Fidelis: A tech startup company that developed the Learning Relationship Management (LRM) system that “does for learning what CRM did for sales.” Read the eCN article on the LRM here.”

Read the article here: http://www.ecampusnews.com/technologies/characteristics-tech-invest-881/