Fitch Learning is a global leader in financial services training, delivering blended as well as face-to-face learning for a broad range of industry qualifications. Their goal was to transform a predominantly classroom-based course into a globally accessible digital solution to prepare learners for the rigorous CFA® Program exam. Fitch Learning partnered with Extension Engine to design a learning experience that would accommodate the demanding schedules of learners, help them develop greater confidence when taking the exam, and ensure the high user satisfaction required to differentiate Fitch Learning and generate revenue.
To achieve its goals for the CFA® Program exam prep course, Fitch Learning had to guide students through an enormous amount of material, and help them apply their knowledge under exam conditions — all in under 300 learning hours. For students participating in physical classrooms, the product needed to blend in-person and digital experiences. Other requirements included complex instructional design; an intuitive student dashboard to track progress and flag areas of required remediation; an equally usable administrative dashboard to monitor individual students and cohorts; as well as data security and student privacy.
Learners 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 consider current knowledge, aptitude, and progress to determine their own learning plans. While many would pursue the course digitally, others would opt for some classroom instruction, which would need to integrate with their digital experience. Finally, many students were identified as younger, digitally sophisticated and busy full-time employees, with constraints on their time. It was important to provide them with a user experience similar to the recreational mobile and web apps they use every day—intuitive, fast and built with their daily lives in mind.
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 drew on our expertise to imagine a custom learning experience built around their strategic vision. The result — Fitch Learning Cognition — is a next-generation solution with rich and robust functionality, along with a road map for expanding into new course areas in the future.
Our approach was to decouple the core capabilities of an open-source Learning Management System, then build out a custom user interface. This yielded features and functionality unique to Fitch Learning including:
- Customizable learning plans each student could tailor to his or her background, abilities, and needs.
- A recommendation engine to help students address learning areas that require additional attention.
- An information architecture to identify, classify and make enormous volumes of content 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 to track student progress through individual journeys
- A unified calendar, library and search function
- Gamification to maintain student engagement
- Analysis metrics to show students 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 students appreciate the interface, and find it easy to navigate their way through the enormous body of material.
Fitch Learning now has a powerful, adaptable platform that can accommodate future courses as well as new features yet to be identified. It’s a clear differentiator in the external-training marketplace and has created a distinct competitive advantage for Fitch Learning. 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 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.