When it comes to education innovation, the term “pilot” can refer to many different things. In this toolkit, we focus on what the members of the Learning Assembly refer to as “implementation” pilots and “efficacy” pilots. (To see the Learning Assembly’s definitions of a range of pilot types, view our Evaluation Taxonomy here.)
“Implementation” pilots are conducted to evaluate how an edtech product, an instructional practice, or combination of the two, can be implemented and adapted to meet the needs of a specific classroom, school or other learning environment. For example, how can an edtech tool be used as part of a personalized learning station rotation model to augment math or literacy instruction? Or, how can an edtech product help increase student engagement during whole-group instruction?
“Efficacy” comes into the mix when you want to know whether the product or practice actually produces the outcomes intended – for example, increased student engagement or agency, increased reading or math proficiency, improved critical thinking skills, etc.
What can we learn?
With the findings from an implementation pilot, you can better understand how to implement an edtech product or instructional practice in a particular classroom, school or other learning environment.
With the findings from an efficacy pilot, you can understand whether a product or practice actually produced the result you intended, from improvement in student growth to increased student agency.
With what edtech products?
You can pilot products from across the product development continuum, from recently launched products to more mature, established ones. Pre-launch products, or products still in development, are not a good fit.
How long will it take?
This depends on the product or practice you want to pilot. You’ll need enough time for a full implementation to measure the specific learning objectives, depending on your pilot design.