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Sagecrowd, DAL To Study E-Learning

SageCrowd, the Halifax startup that enhances corporate training, has partnered with the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Dalhousie University to research the effects of training methods on online learning.

This study, funded by an engage grant from Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada, or NSERC, will test how different variables impact learning. These variables include content assembly, unit volume, reflection, and time between learning and testing. In conducting this research, sageCrowd and Dalhousie’s NeuroCognitive Imaging Lab will find out what specific variables help students learn course content more effectively.

The company said in a statement that enterprises spend $140 billion annually on employee training with more and more of that spending moving online. E-Learning has grown to a $93 billion industry growing annually at double digits.

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Despite all this spending, most training programs are executed with little to no study on whether the program worked or how the students learned the material. The Training and E-learning industries are now paying close attention to a new discipline co-created between Psychology and Education referred to as the Science of Learning.

“This project will strengthen our Sagecrowd Way methodology providing direct input into how we refine and optimize our learning experiences,” sageCrowd CEO Sean Sears said in a statement. “The research will be invaluable to both the NeuroCognitive Imaging Lab and sageCrowd, because it will demonstrate how specific learning methods impact skill adoption and permanent memory creation.”

NSERC’s Engage grant will provide $25,000 in funding for this research. The study will take place over the next six months and involve 80 participants over four experiments.

“This project is significant in how it’s bridging a gap between academic research and business,” said Aaron Newman, Director of the NeuroCognitive Imaging Lab and principal investigator of the study. “SageCrowd is dedicated to developing a learning platform that is scientifically validated, and are eager to follow evidence-based design. This project is also an excellent opportunity for the scientists we’re training at Dalhousie to learn how to apply science outside of academia and understand the relevance of their work.”

SageCrowd is a software company that began as a tool that would construct programs to enhance the learning in personal development books. The company last year raised $850,000, including contributions from members of the First Angel Network. Sears has spent a lot of time this year at the Canadian Technology Accelerator in Boston, and the company has become more of an enterprise training business.