What is Snapwiz? Part 2: Think Paradigm Shift

April 24, 2014
by Jordan Taylor

TechnologyWhen we first set out to design never-before-seen personalized learning spaces for students we knew—right from the start—it wouldn’t be easy. Building innovative learning spaces requires a mixture of learning models, leaving us to utilize multiple features on the “personalization spectrum.”  

The reason for this is simple: “Personalized Learning” is a broad umbrella term. It’s used to describe multiple pedagogical and curriculum-based approaches focused on cultivating student learning success. This spectrum includes adaptive learning, differentiated instruction, competency-based learning, and various tutorial models.

While we didn’t take these facts lightly, our ambitions led us to cast light on central issues—and uncharted byways—of the intersection of technology and education. In a challenging effort to introduce something akin to a paradigm shift, we took a little bit of the old and made a big splash with the new.

A History of Learning Management Systems 

When you look at the history of technology in education you can’t help but appreciate its rich evolution. A cursory view reveals that Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) gave way to Learning Management Systems (LMSs). Today, the spotlight is on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and adaptive learning.

If you’re interested in learning more about LMSs, and the history of virtual learning environments, here are a couple reference points to get you started:

We heard some bold claims recently that next generation LMSs don’t represent a paradigm shift; statements like: “current paradigm shifts only come from adaptive platforms powered by an Intelligent Tutoring System (ITS).” We believe if you take the best of what LMSs have to offer and add adaptive, interactive, and collaborative assessments tools—you get something that’s more than a hybrid. You get the opportunity to experience a virtual learning landscape that caters to any student’s learning process and any teacher’s pedagogical approach.

It starts by keeping some of the best LMS features:

  • Peer-to-peer networking
  • Remarkable, easy-to-use, content creation tools
  • Streamlined collaboration channels
  • Sleek and intuitive UI & UX
  • Mobile on-the-go access
  • Layered and integrated analytics tools

Adaptive and Machine Learning

It gets intriguing when you take this structure and infuse it with adaptive learning, sophisticated questions types, and potent assessment widgets. In What is Snapwiz? Part 1: Snapwiz’s Adaptive Learning Features some of the “secret sauce” behind our adaptivity models were discussed openly. And a quick, yet essential, point to make is that our adaptive learning system is both “facilitator-drive” and “assessment-driven.”

Facilitator-driven means the instructor is given actionable insights into student performance through detailed analytics reports. See our Instructors page to learn more details about reports like: Proficiency, Metacognitive, Productivity, Most Challenging Activities, & Engagement. Here’s what the detailed student engagement report looks like:


Actionable Reporting (Facilitator-driven)


Assessment-driven is the dynamic and real-time adjustments that are made to a student’s learning path. This gets back to the specific nature of our adaptive learning system. When assessment-driven and facilitator-driven work together, you get a powerful platform that makes smart decisions—while also giving instructors valuable data to make essential curriculum changes.

Why Snapwiz Represents a Paradigm Shift

We wanted to create novel learning spaces for students that are curiously easy to navigate, and based on personalized and interactive courseware that’s fun and visual. The goal is to have teachers create content that brings students to class with a diverse understanding of how the content relates to essential course concepts. So how does it work?

Taking a great leap forward starts with extensible eConcept widgets that are interactive, adaptive, and collaborative. They’re easily embedded, customizable, and come in sleek eye-catching templates.

This flexible course design allows teachers to quickly customize their course, organize their curriculums, and guide student collaboration. Having full control over their course content means unparalleled pedagogical ownership; and if you pair this with actionable analytics, the insights for making personalized instruction moves that matter become seemingly infinite.

The Teacher’s Perspective

Teachers can create a wide array of questions by simply choosing from 35+ supported question types. We’re continuously adding to this list—providing comprehensive assessments suited for Common Core State Standards and Higher Education. The powerful eConcept Widgets, with declarative and machine learning models, adapt to student skills, preferences, and abilities.


Question Types 

With an API based import from DOCX/RTF/ZIP/WPQTI for existing content, and WYSIWYG editor with drag-n-drop widgets, lesson authoring and publishing is intuitive and fast. Students will master reading objectives by contextually interacting with texts to build foundational knowledge.


Author Adaptive Content


Combine and assemble interactive widgets to craft unique courseware that’s the cornerstone of an unmatched personalized learning space. Import content using ePub3, QTI, and Word docs with the click of a button. (Use three distinct important options: Create your Own; Import from Publisher Resources; & Import from Open Resources).


Assignment Creation


The Student’s Experience

The interactive nature of our learning spaces allows students to ask more questions, share key insights with peers, and discover new answers. This is the first step in seeing how the content connects to course concepts while engaging in social learning.




Engaging with peers and the instructor doesn’t stop there. Students can participate in social learning by tracking their entire activity with a social media styled Learning Stream. They can craft contextualized discussions, seek individualized feedback, and share supplement learning content from internal or external sources.


7-learning stream 1

Detailed skill reports allow students to instantly know what they’ve worked on—and where they need more practice. They can also create a personal study plan based on assessments (or practice questions), and they have the freedom to craft on their own.




This is only a sneak peek into how our learning spaces are created by teachers and experienced by students. View our Assessment Product Tour to learn more. The paradigm shift has just started. For anyone concerned about the notion of a paradigm shift it’s important to note how it differs from “disruption.” Our goal at Snapwiz isn’t to introduce anything disruptive—but to offer new tech-based solutions for augmenting and enriching classrooms. Students will see their learning process in motion for the first time, and teachers have a new substrate for pedagogical evolution.

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