Fitch Learning

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 Extension Engine was to transform a predominantly classroom-based course into a globally accessible digital learning solution to prepare learners for passing the rigorous CFA® Program exam. Fitch Learning partnered with Extension Engine to design a learning experience that would fit around the demanding schedules of learners, deliver greater confidence going into the exam, and ensure the high user satisfaction required to differentiate Fitch Learning courses and generate revenue.

The Challenge

To achieve the goals of Fitch Learning, the CFA® Program exam prep course had 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.

The Learners

Students seeking certification ranged from novices to graduate students in finance to full-time working professionals. Consequently, no single path through the material would fit 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 in-person classroom instruction, which would need to be integrated into their digital experience. Finally, many students were identified as being digitally sophisticated, most with day jobs constraining their time. Providing students with a user experience that their busy lives could accommodate with a minimum of effort, with interactivity similar to their daily recreational mobile and web applications, was important to Fitch Learning.

The Solution

The learning experience provides us clear, unique selling propositions against our competitors, plus it allows us to accelerate and be a few steps ahead all the time.

Fitch Learning Cognition is a next-generation custom learning experience that supports Fitch Learning’s strategic vision and provides a product road map for future courses. In advance of building an internal team, Fitch Learning opted to partner with Extension Engine to draw on our expertise on how to best deliver their product, platform, and solution.

Our approach was to decouple the core capabilities of an open-source learning management system, 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 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-size 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 Platform

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.”

An adaptive recommendation engine personalizes the student experience and directs them to areas of content they are currently lacking in.

The student calendar caters to the busy lives of students, who are often working full-time, allowing them to seamlessly integrate digital learning into their daily lives.

The platform visually displays the hierarchy of content and tracks student progress through their individualized journeys.

Bill King Principal Learning Strategist

Bill leads our nonprofits practice and talks to nonprofit leaders every day. Bill has more than 15 years of experience working with learning organizations in the U.S. and globally. He was an adjunct instructor in marketing, as well as founder and past board chairman of a private K–8 school. He holds an MBA from Babson’s F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business.