It's increased the value of our program and increased the outcomes.
– Jess Limbrick,
Life Education Product Owner
Life Education Trust is creating a better future by educating Kiwi kids to make healthy choices.
Since 2001, about 80% of Kiwi kids have grown up with Life Education at school. And, importantly, surveys show that safer behaviour is on the rise, especially in key areas like smoking and binge drinking.
To help drive these gains, the Trust has developed a suite of digital tools to tailor their programmes to each class, in each school, right across the country.
By making the programme more meaningful for the students, it’s having more impact.
In a single year, the Trust’s team of about 50 educators — along with Healthy Harold the giraffe — bring their mobile classrooms to more than 250,000 kids.
The Trust realised they had to change the way they worked so they could tailor lessons for each class. They needed a digital tool that would let educators and teachers work together to create custom lesson plans.
Enabling these collaborative digital relationships with their stakeholders was a fundamental change. “It was critical for our whole program,” says Life Education CEO John O’Connell.
The result was the Lesson Lab planning tool. Now educators and teachers can drag and drop resources to plan lessons together online.
“We find out what they’re teaching and take that on board with the system,” John says. “We work out what they can do pre- and post- our visit.”
Life Education lessons are now part of longer-term learning plans, delivering lasting benefits.
“I hate IT projects,” John says. “My job is to manage risk,” he explains. “You’ve always got that apprehension — can they deliver and what’s the likelihood of it going outside our budget?”.
In Agile though, you can manage risk by breaking work into short Sprints. “At the end of each Sprint, you’ve actually got something, rather than the waterfall-type approach where you don’t have anything until the end,” John says.
“The best part about Agile is that day-to-day knowledge of what is happening,” says Life Education’s product owner Jess Limbrick. “Being included throughout the entire process gives you the ability to respond to change really, really quickly.”
By delivering working software early, the Trust could test it with the users. This was vital because the Lesson Lab planning tool was a completely new way of working, so the educators needed to be brought along for the journey.
Life Education next developed an interactive search tool to help teachers easily access lesson resources. This tool saw the key resource-downloads metric increase tenfold.
“Teachers are going, ‘Oh wow, you’ve got this whole online portal of resources where I can go and download what I want, save it and use it.’” says Jess.
Lessons are now more relevant and the benefits continue long after the mobile classroom has left.
As a result, key metrics such as the number of teachers wanting to recommend the programme to their colleagues have risen to ever-higher levels.
“It’s increased the value of our program and increased the outcomes. We’re seeing that through feedback with teachers,” says Jess. “We’re responding to their needs better.”
Life Education makes learning fun. Our students are already asking when Harold and the educator are coming back.
– Fairhaven School