WGU Labs, Inc., an affiliate of the online nonprofit Western Governors University, has announced a new effort, the College Innovation Network, that will unite education thought leaders, EdTech innovators, and institutions that are focused on serving students who face the greatest economic challenges. The diverse set of six to 10 institutions that WGU Labs will bring together as founding members of this unique collaboration will guide the Network’s priorities and success measures.
Founding and future partner institutions will gain access to WGU Labs’ rigorous method of identifying student needs, matching them with the appropriate EdTech solution, and evaluating impacts to ensure students benefit from innovation. Members institutions will participate in real-world pilot testing and open collaboration after which the Network will publish its findings, methodology, and datasets to the scientific community. This process will enable innovators to quickly accelerate the time it takes to bring new ideas and technologies to market in order to more quickly aid students in need.
“The goals of the newly created Network are to democratize innovation in student achievement, accelerate speed to insight in the learning science ecosystem, and massively scale EdTech that works,” said Dr. Omid Fotuhi, WGU Labs’ Director of Learning Innovations and leader of the CIN. “The Network will share all evidence and data publicly to allow for this massive scale approach.” The Network also will host open annual convenings that will bring together innovators, researchers, and educators.
Building on social psychology, learning science, and industry trends, WGU Labs has a long history of accelerating EdTech startups and developing usable, effective educational resources and technology built for implementation and scale. WGU Labs employs efficacy testing with WGU students in real-world settings, ensuring that each product positively impacts student success.
A grant from the Charles Koch Foundation will provide seed money for the Network.
“WGU Labs has the potential to spark significant innovation within the education space, serving learners with solutions tailored to their needs,” said Charles Koch Foundation Executive Director Ryan Stowers. “Experimentation with digital tools and learning techniques has the potential to generate affordable and accessible education pathways that empower people to unleash their full potential.”