SALT LAKE CITY, April 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- WGU Labs, Inc. (WGU Labs), announced that it has been awarded funding from the Charles Koch Foundation to support the creation of the College Innovation Network (CIN). CIN will connect thought leaders from education institutions with educational technology (EdTech) innovators to advance students' academic, career, and life outcomes.
WGU Labs—a research and development hub and accelerator for scalable EdTech solutions—is leading an effort to identify network member institutions, with a goal of securing six institutions to form the founding members. Network member institutions must serve diverse students, including traditionally underrepresented student populations, through inclusive broad access policies. Through real-world pilot testing, these institutions—and the students that they serve—will have a voice in, and experience, the transformative potential of EdTech solutions firsthand.
"The major benefit of CIN is that partner institutions get access to WGU Labs' rigorous process of identifying student needs, matching them with the most appropriate EdTech solution and evaluating the potential impact to ensure that students benefit from the innovation," said Dr. Omid Fotuhi, WGU Labs' Director of Learning Innovations and leader of CIN.
Fotuhi is a motivation and human performance researcher and has been tasked with leading the network's initiatives. With a Ph.D. in psychology and extensive experience in training students, athletes and leaders on how to optimize their performance, he is focused on fostering collaboration among network institutions in order to facilitate a data-driven approach to effectively build new products and services for students in need of greater support.
"The goals of the newly created network are to democratize innovation in student achievement, accelerate speed to insight in the learning science ecosystem and scale EdTech that works," said Fotuhi. "The network will share the results and insights acquired through this project to allow for a scaled approach."
Both traditional and nontraditional educational institutions are encouraged to participate in CIN. The founding institutions will guide the network's priorities and success measures, and all members will participate in real-world pilot testing and open collaboration among each other.
"WGU Labs has the potential to spark significant innovation within the education space, serving learners with solutions tailored to their needs," said Charles Koch Foundation Executive Director Ryan Stowers. "Experimentation with digital tools and learning techniques has the potential to generate affordable and accessible education pathways that empower people to unleash their full potential."
About WGU Labs WGU Labs is a nonprofit that is an affiliate of WGU. WGU Labs primarily provides research, offers services, invents, builds, and secondarily invests in strategically aligned innovative learning solutions that improve quality and advance educational outcomes for learners everywhere. Building on social psychology, learning science, and industry trends, WGU Labs accelerates education startups and develops its own research-supported, scalable products. Learn more about WGU Labs at https://wgulabs.org/.
About Charles Koch Foundation For four decades, Charles Koch's philanthropy has inspired bold new ideas to help people improve their lives. Inspired by a recognition that free people are capable of extraordinary things, the Charles Koch Foundation supports research, educational programs, and dialogue to advance an understanding of how people can best live together in peace and prosperity and challenge convention. The Charles Koch Foundation provides grants to support a wide range of inquiry including criminal justice and policing reform, free speech and open inquiry, foreign policy, economic opportunity, and innovation. To learn more visit charleskochfoundation.org.