The right recommendation that can’t be implemented properly is the wrong recommendation.

Ron Ashkenas comments on "Million-Dollar Advice: The High Cost and Limited Return on Personalized Learning Consulting"

Follow education technology-reform projects, and you’ll find mixed academic outcomes and expensive consultants.

Take Fulton County School District, in Georgia. In July of 2015, the district paid more than $400,000 for alignment, strategy and professional services from Education Elements, a for-profit personalized learning consultant, according to receipts obtained by EdSurge from the district. Later that year, the district paid an additional $215,500 more for “professional services.” In less than two years, between 2015 and 2017, the district paid more than $4.5 million to the firm for personalized-learning consulting services.

School districts around the country are adopting personalized learning—a pedagogy often described as a way to encourage learning that is individualized, differentiated and student-driven through technology. To help teachers implement the learning model, schools and districts are increasingly paying top-dollar for specialized consultants. But those investments don’t always pay off. At Fulton and other districts looking to consultants, academic achievement dipped in some schools after the changes made with input from the consultants.

Now, some educators—and consultants—are calling for edtech consulting firms to be held accountable for whether or not their million-dollar advice translates into improved, measurable learning outcomes.

“This notion that consultants provide the technology, the input, the recommendation—all the good stuff—and then it’s up to the organization and managers to implement and consultants take no responsibility. What a great game that is for the consultant,” says Ron Ashkenas, an author and partner emeritus of Schaffer Consulting. “It may sound like a radical idea, but it makes so much common sense. If you are proposing something that isn’t going to work, then no matter how great it is, it is wrong.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Jenny Abamu article on "EdSurge".