Measuring impact: The transition to digital learning

Districts around the country are making the transition to digital learning in order to better prepare their learners to be active participants in a digital-first world. When schools make the switch effectively, technology can be a cognitive tool that provides learners with differentiated learning experiences and teachers with the ability to adapt instruction based on feedback, all leading to greater, measurable achievement (Weston & Bain, 2010).  

The transition to digital learning gains more traction every day. So far, over 2,300 district superintendents have signed the Office of Education Technology’s Future Ready Pledge, committing their districts to making digital learning a priority.

However, even “free” technology requires significant investment. You put time and resources into choosing the best option, you need to train teachers and students on how to use the tech and you need to be prepared for any of the hiccups that can happen when you implement a new tool. Choosing the right technology is not a task to be taken lightly.

One place where we’re seeing a huge amount of growth during the transition to digital learning, is in schools’ adoption of Google Apps. Boost eLearning predicts that Google Suite for Education will reach 110 million users by 2020, based on its current growth rate. Some of the more recent numbers indicate that G Suite usage is already at 68 million.

The possible benefits of using G Suite are easy to see – learners shift towards working in the cloud, where they can both work independently and collaborate more easily. Teachers are able to give feedback to learners working in Google Drive when files are shared with them. Google Docs, Drive, Gmail, Calendar and more all can work together to keep students organized and connected when teachers are able to manage the online instruction.

But just because G Suite seems to work for others, doesn’t mean it’s going to work the same way for your learners, especially not right away. You need to be critical and reflective as you implement new technology.

Measuring impact

So how do you make sure the tools you have selected are having the impact that you were looking for? How do you prove to all of the stakeholders involved that those Chromebooks were worth buying or that the switch to Google Suite was worth making? And how do you adjust your practices to make the technology even more impactful? These are questions that many districts struggle with.

One of the most important things you can do to measure impact is gather evidence. You need to look at concrete data before assuming the effectiveness of any new initiative. And once you understand that evidence, you need to use it to make adjustments to your practice.

Products like Hapara Analytics make it easier to gather evidence and get the answers you need about your digital transition. For schools that are making the transition with G Suite, Hapara Analytics provides objective data based on learners’ digital footprints. This data can be used as evidence to drive conversations about what is working and what isn’t. Schools can see what’s going well in their transition and if learners are being left behind.

Instead of trusting what everyone tells you G Suite can do for your learners, with evidence you can see exactly what it is doing and how you can make it work better.

This article was excerpted from Hapara’s new e-book, “The Emperor’s New Edtech: Making The Digital Transition In Your School”. The full report is now available for free download.


Adams Becker, S., Freeman, A., Giesinger Hall, C., Cummins, M., and Yuhnke, B. (2016). NMC/CoSN Horizon Report: 2016 K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Boost ELearning. (2015, July 1). Google Apps for Education Anticipated to Reach 110 Million Users by 2020.

Take the Pledge – Future Ready Schools. (n.d.).

Weston, M. E., & Bain, A. (2010). The End of Techno-Critique: The Naked Truth about 1:1 Laptop Initiatives and Educational Change. Journal of Technology, Learning, and Assessment, 9(6).

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