HT2Labs launch Curatr LXP


On the 20th September I attended a HT2Labs launch event at the Darwin Centre in the Natural History Museum.  An impressive venue and one which Ben Betts (CEO of HT2Labs) mentioned (more than once ) requires a substantial financial outlay to hire.  Given that Curatr has been around for a few years you may be wondering what is so significant about the LXP part of the name that justifies such an event?  Personally, I was impressed and feel that the venue was befitting of what was being launched.  Let me explain…

When Red Panda (a personalised learning hub) was launched by HT2Labs around 18 months ago the team at HT2 had thought that in conjunction with Curatr and Learning Locker they had completed the tools required to deliver the three aspects of intrinsic human motivation – autonomy, mastery and purpose [Daniel H. Pink, Drive, 2009].  Ben humbly explained that Red Panda hadn’t met the mark and wasn’t achieving what it was intended to do.  This was quickly followed with the announcement that Red Panda is now extinct (the product not the animal).  To start with it takes strong leadership to make such a decision and publicly declare it.  However, more impressive is the way in which the lessons HT2 learnt from Red Panda have been focussed into producing an exciting and engaging Learning Experience Platform – if you are still with me that’s where the LXP comes from.

Curatr LXP now contains 2 parts:

  • Learn – classic Curatr
  • Develop – the best bits and more from Red Panda

As you would expect this all links seamlessly with their Learning Record Store (LRS) – Learning Locker. It goes a lot further than this though as Curatr LXP comes with some significant developments.  The first of these has involved a partnership with filtered, who have developed an AI engine called magpie.  This is deeply integrated with Curatr LXP and adds value to the develop side by providing targeted recommendations for the user’s development goals.  Magpie also gets smarter and provides better recommendations as user’s experiences evolve.

The CEO of filtered, Marc Zao-Sanders neatly summarised the power/use of tools filtered have developed by reading 2 extracts from books by Yuval Noah Harari. The first, was related to the role that knowledge used to play and was essentially that ‘…knowledge used to be power’.  However, the opening sentence in Yuval’s most recent book is:

“In a world deluged by irrelevant information, clarity is power” [Yuval Noah Harari, 21 lessons for the 21st Century, 2018].

The message – given the amount of information available in today’s world, knowledge is no longer power, instead it is knowing what knowledge to use.

To demonstrate the develop side, Curatr LXP is shipped with a Leadership skills library, which comprises ~5,000 assets. A great resource but also a great way of demonstrating how the recommendations work.

If that isn’t enough there is also the addition of a social intelligence dashboard (SID). This provide real-time semantic analysis of comments/posts that have been made.  To develop the models literally tens of thousands of comments have been marked by hand using the Community of Inquiry (CoI) concept.  The resultant information available in the dashboard enables the easy identification of potential high/low performers, which therefore enables learners to be either provided with greater challenges or provided with any support they may require.

It’s clear to see that the passion for creating the best possible learning experience (and platform) runs throughout HT2 and whilst achieving high levels of excellence they remain humble and open to feedback.

Prior to this launch event UCEM had been assessing the products at HT2 and I must admit we were struggling to see how Curatr and Red Panda would enhance what we are currently delivering. Curatr LXP has forced me to re-think.  The additional functionality now provided delivers a product that I could envisage replacing our current LMS.  The focus on improving the learner experience is key and the question that UCEM now needs to answer is whether using Curatr LXP would enhance the experience for our students?  I’m excited by what I have seen and look forward to seeing what role Curatr LXP may play in improving learner experience and ultimately student success at UCEM.

If you have a spare hour I’d recommend viewing the video of the presentation –  For those that watch this you’ll notice I didn’t mention the introduction by Julian Stodd of Sea Salt Learning – Is this a case of beard envy?