Breaking Down Anthology iX: How Infusing Experiences with Data Unlocks New Possibilities for Education
As education continues to feel the ripple effects of change, meeting the needs of today’s institutions and learners calls for a more holistic approach that is driven by data. In service of these needs and helping both educators and students achieve their goals, Anthology is delivering a new product vision – Anthology Intelligent Experiences (iX)™ – that will come to life across our solution suite.
Anthology iX is our vision for a connected ecosystem of products and services that use data to power meaningful interactions throughout a learner's journey, and for faculty and staff. They can be simple things, like customizing a dashboard based on your preferences, or more complex experiences, like a learner getting a call from a success coach just when they need it.
We held a conversation with Anthology’s Chief Product Officer, JD White, to learn more about what this means for the future of Anthology solutions and the possibilities it unlocks for education. Here's what was said.
How would you describe iX?
JD: “The Anthology iX vision is really about data and experiences coming together. It’s about the concept that information can fit into our daily lives and workflows as a native, integrated process. In today’s world, outside of the institution, we encounter intelligent experiences all the time without realizing it. These experiences make using products easier because the product itself fits into our lives and the way we work. That's what our Anthology iX approach is all about.”
How do you see iX making a difference in data & analytics efforts for higher education?
JD: “If we look at predictive analytics models for student success 10 years ago, what was innovative about it really was the analysis. The ability to analyze data meant that for the first time, we could do things like identifying students at risk. Now when we think about where the opportunity is today, it's less emphasis on the analysis and more emphasis on the experience. It's about intertwining the challenge and the capability. What are the problems we're trying to solve by using this data? How does it fit in? How can we use data to make the lives of our users just a little bit easier? By taking a more intuitive approach and integrating insights into day-to-day workflows, that's really what the difference is.”
How is iX distinct in comparison to Anthology’s past data strategies?
JD: “Our Anthology iX vision is different because it’s about how we combine datasets. Institutions have tremendous amounts of data and iX will connect the dots between those data sets and proactively surface insights at the right time. We’re moving beyond just being able to put the pieces together and focusing on how to integrate actionable insights into the experience of our users on a daily basis.”
Some experts believe that the “missing link” for higher education to take advantage of data is not in the technical infrastructure, but in human capacity. How does iX help with that challenge?
JD: “When someone presents a graph of their data analysis, all of the cognitive load is on the user. They have to consume what’s being talked about, understand it, think about where it applies, find all the ramifications of that application. That’s where our iX vision helps. We’re looking to take effort off the process and make things easier for a faculty member or an administrator to manage. There are only 24 hours in our day, so what we have to do is make that capacity work for the purpose of students and learners.”
What are some conceptual examples of iX?
JD: “A student automatically receives a skill-based career readiness map based on both their course performance and involvement in activities outside the classroom. Their advisor also has the same visibility. With this type of experience, the learner can adapt their education journey to meet future goals and the advisor can support them to help guide the right path.”
How will the Anthology iX approach help with streamlining a holistic, integrated campus-wide dataset?
JD: “We view it as a three-layer approach. Instead of making campuses figure out how the data connects, we're thinking about how we can solve the data connection problem for them. First, we’re focusing on an access layer with the data, including combining the data and building touch points for institutions to access the data themselves. The second layer is through reporting—establishing a common model that can help users create ad hoc reports, news, dashboards, etc. to leverage the information. And the third layer is through experience. By unpacking data and putting it into play so it fits into their experiences, we’re ultimately supporting and guiding actions for users. That’s really where we aim to help and empower institutions.”
What makes the iX vision unique to Anthology?
JD: “We are the largest single provider of a Learning Management System (LMS), a Student Information System (SIS), and a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) in the market. What that means for us, at a minimum, is that we understand how those three solutions interact in a very intricate and detailed way. That also means we can show iX on both sides of the value chain. We can show it to the adviser in the CRM and the faculty member in the LMS. Additionally, our ability to provide point solutions—critical, in-depth solutions around student/alumni engagement, assessments, course evaluation, and more — enables us to impact the detailed workflow that individual administrators, faculty, and students have in very specific contexts.”
JD White, Ph.D.
John “JD” White, Ph.D., leads the Anthology product development team as Chief Product Officer. His areas of expertise include assessment in higher education, student success and retention efforts, the use of analytics in higher education, and the development of technology to support institutional effectiveness. Before joining Campus Labs, he managed assessment initiatives for the Department of University Housing at the University of Georgia. He has also had student affairs roles at Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, and Northern Arizona University.