In January 2020, Canopy Ed was primarily a consulting company specializing in instructional design and strategic planning for public sector organizations.
We were good at this work but the technology we had to use was fragmented and ultimately limited the depth of learning that could be achieved.
Navigating multiple tools made content creation onerous and led to learning that felt distracted and shallow. It worked fine for compliance trainings, but meaningful learning and development was more difficult.
We knew that this wasn't right. Technology shouldn't constrain what's possible. Technology should enhance what's possible. And it should be easy to use.
So we began to build Canopy.
We took what we knew about the science of learning and how organizations use online learning strategies and developed initial designs and feature lists. Then we engaged with over 1,000 learning designers, non-profit leaders, educators, and administrators to refine these designs and develop new features.
The result is a comprehensive learning and development platform that makes it easy for anyone at an organization to develop and manage online learning strategies.
Not only is the learning easier to develop and manage but learning experiences in Canopy are more effective as well. This is because Canopy's one-tab organization system keeps learners focused and the suite of multimedia tools makes it easy for learners to engage with content and demonstrate learning in multiple ways - all from a single platform.
We know that the expectations for online learning are increasing dramatically. Organizations & educators no longer see online learning as a ‘something extra’. Online learning, whether it is live, blended, or entirely self-paced, is now a core component of most learning and development strategies.
But organizations trying to execute on these new strategies are finding themselves limited by the technology available. Creating effective solutions with fragmented tech is time consuming, expensive, and often overwhelming. As a result, many orgs are still just posting 90 min. webinar recordings as their solution to ‘making the training available online’.
We built Canopy as a response to these needs and stressors.
We believe that technology is best when it allows us to do more with less.
That's why it’s important to us that learning experiences in Canopy are both more effective AND easier to create.
Canopy is different in four key ways:
1) Meaningful engagement:
Canopy offers learners over 20 unique ways to engage with content and demonstrate learning including.
When a learner is asked to engage with content and demonstrate learning in multiple ways, it builds more complex connections in their brain, which leads to more meaningful learning, and makes it easier to transfer that learning to a real-world scenario.
2) Intuitive user experience for learners and instructors:
In Canopy you can create and embed a Google Slides presentation, embed a video below it, add questions to that video, insert an editable PDF, add a discussion thread, and attach audio to each of these elements - all in just moments.
This frees up your own cognitive load to focus on the experience being designed.
Learners can then access all of the resources and engagement activities in a single screen and use progress bars to track their progress through the course.
3) Improved analytics:
Consolidating engagement features into a single platform also allows for simplified access to analytics. The person responsible for facilitating or managing the learning experience can easily view all responses or submissions for any particular question and provide feedback.
They are also able to view progress by cohort through any particular module and look at individual learner progress at the ‘lesson’, ‘unit’ and ‘course’ levels. They can even expand these progress bars to view and give feedback on the responses each learner made to all of the questions they engaged with.
Organizations with enterprise accounts can design custom data dashboards as well.
4) New possibilities for collaboration and resource sharing:
Consolidating engagement features also means that Canopy can help organizations do revolutionary new things with collaboration and resource sharing. For example, through the private communities feature organizations can share entire courses between different facilitators.
Once copied, the courses can be customized for different audiences.
This means a school system could develop one core version of a curriculum for students that every teacher in the district could copy and then customize to their own class. The same can be done for professional development so that it can be tailored to teachers in different subjects or across different grade levels.
Consultants use this feature to copy and customize courses for different clients.
Individual courses can also have unlimited co-teachers, making it easy for a variety of people to contribute to different parts of a course