Fitch Learning is one of the largest providers of financial services training globally, delivering blended learning solutions and face-to-face training for a broad range of industry qualifications. The goal of their work with ExtensionEngine was to transform a predominantly classroom-based course into a globally-accessible digital learning solution in order to prepare learners for passing the rigorous Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®) exam. Fitch Learning partnered with ExtensionEngine to design a learning experience that would fit around the demanding schedules of learners, deliver greater confidence going into the exam and ensure high user satisfaction required to differentiate Fitch Learning courses and generate revenue.
To achieve the goals of Fitch Learning, the CFA® exam prep course needed to guide a diverse student base through an enormous amount of material, focusing on exam technique and helping them apply the knowledge under exam conditions — all in under 300 learning hours. In addition, the product needed to be a flexible blend that knit together in-person and digital experiences for those students participating in complementary physical classrooms. The requirements included hosting a complex instructional design with easily consumable lessons and an intuitive student dashboard that would track progress through the material and flag areas of required remediation. It also required an equally usable administrative dashboard to track individual students and cohorts. Data security and student privacy were also important.
Students seeking certification ranged from novices, to graduate students in finance, to full-time working professionals. Consequently, no one path through the material fits all; students needed to be able to determine their own learning path based on their current knowledge, aptitude, and progress. While many students would pursue the course digitally, others would have the option to attend complementary classrooms, which needed to be integrated into their digital experience. Finally, many students were identified as being digitally sophisticated and most have day jobs that constrain their time. Providing students with a user experience they could accommodate into their lives with a minimum of effort, with interactivity similar to their daily recreational mobile and web applications, was important to Fitch Learning.
“Fitch Learning Cognition” is a next generation custom learning experience that supports Fitch Learning’s strategic vision and provides a product roadmap for future courses. In advance of building an internal team, Fitch Learning opted to partner with ExtensionEngine to help and provide expertise on how to best deliver product, platform, and solution. Our approach was to decouple the core capabilities of an open source LMS, then build out a custom user interface. This allowed us to meet Fitch Learning’s specific needs, including:
- Student control over their learning plan so they could personalize it to their background, abilities, and needs
- A recommendation engine to direct students to areas of content they are currently lacking in or that require additional attention through adaptive learning
- An information architecture that identifies and classifies an enormous volume of content items and assets made available to students in a repository
- The ability to measure performance against each item and asset
- Bite-sized lessons using a variety of dynamic presentation techniques, including video and graphics
- A visual display of the hierarchy of content that tracks student progress through their individualized journeys
- A unified calendar, library, and search function
- Gamification to maintain student engagement
- Analysis metrics for students showing aptitude, attitude, efficiency and time on task
- Knowledge checks using exam-style content
The new platform, Fitch Learning Cognition, is a strategic win for Fitch Learning. Early feedback indicates that users appreciate the interface, finding it easy to navigate their way through the enormous body of material.
In addition, Fitch Learning now has a powerful, adaptable and customized platform that can accommodate future courses as well as new features as they are requested or identified. This has differentiated them in the external training marketplace and has created a distinct competitive advantage for them. According to Fergus Wood, Head of Digital Learning at Fitch Learning: “It provides us clear unique selling propositions against our competitors, plus it allows us to accelerate and be a few steps ahead all the time.”