Means, B., Peters, V. (2016) Influences on the Scaling of Digital Learning Resources. Menlo Park, CA: SRI International.
Today, technology developers can get their innovations into the hands of many users quickly, giving them the opportunity to gather user feedback they can use for product improvement. Educational technology product design is no exception, as illustrated by the Khan Academy, which grew from a few YouTube videos to a million users in less than four years and now features more than 5,000 online learning resources. In theory, the rapid scaling, massive amount of user data, and continuous iteration that are part of the Silicon Valley Way result in better products, which in turn lead to growth in market share. But is this really true for educational technology products? SRI’s analysis of data from more than 20 digital learning products suggest that for technologies designed for use within schools, achieving effectiveness and achieving scale can be hard to do at the same time.