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Friday, 28th February 2014

UK: From Good Intentions to Real Impact: Rethinking the Role of Evidence in Education Businesses

Source: NESTA (UK)

From the Introduction:

Over the past few decades a movement calling for better use of evidence in decision making has taken shape, with a focus on the need for ‘evidence–based’ policy and practice. Yet the role the private sector could and should play has largely been ignored.

We believe this is a mistake. The private sector plays an increasingly important role in education, driving innovation through taking risks and investing new capital, providing books, technologies, courses, as well as running schools and colleges. This means the quality of what the sector provides, and evidence about its efficacy matters, and is increasingly important for learners themselves, as well as for public organisations that commission or purchase goods and services.

Ensuring educational businesses and startups use evidence effectively has the potential for the new wave of educational innovation to have a consistently positive impact on learning outcomes. This means there is both a business imperative for taking evidence seriously and a moral imperative for businesses endowed with power and resources to do all they can to ensure that what they sell works.

Yet to achieve this, there is a need for new approaches, frameworks and ways of working to reframe current understandings of what evidence is, how it is captured, and to develop strategies and systems to ensure its better use. Rather than seeing success only in terms of sales, growth and profitability, we need evidence that encapsulates the impact that products and services have on the overall functioning of different sectors of the education sector including benefits for users.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

Adrian can be reached at adrian.janes@freepint.com

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