Stephen Wilks
CEO @ Seneca Learning
January 31, 2018
BETT Show 2018

This year’s BETT show was a great experience. We met a range of teachers, EdTech specialists and other businesses. After hearing so many buzzwords and “interesting” statistics, we thought it was worth taking some time to explain why a select number of those buzzwords are actually true about our platform, and how our product is differentiated from everything else out there!

What makes us different?

First, we’re free. This probably differentiates us from 90% of other attendees and hopefully offers some relief to stretched school budgets. We are a social enterprise and plan to use our software in lots of different markets, allowing us to cross-subsidise our GCSE and Schools content.

Second, we do rigorous research. A neighbour of ours at BETT was trumpeting that students who do more work in their system perform better than students who do less work in their system. Students who do more work do better than students who do less work... I also imagine that people who play more golf are on average better at golf than people who play less golf. This is not evidence tied to an intervention but something we all know instinctively. Seneca was designed with input from Neuroscientists at Oxford, Cambridge and UCL and has been tested in a Randomised Control Trial of 1,120 students. This trial found that the students using our system performed 105% better than their peers using what our study found were the most used revision techniques. This research is being published in IMPACT journal next month.

Third, we have original and high-quality content. The content in our GCSE platform is exam-board specific, written by senior examiners from across the exam-boards. It was all written specifically for Seneca, and follows the syllabuses of each exam-board. The Seneca revision platform does not need to be used in conjunction with other textbooks, revision guides or other resources.

What buzzwords are true of us?

Free – Our GCSE content and platform will be free for all students and schools. We want access to be universal and want no barriers to usage. There are no pop-up ads, data sales etc.

Double your performance – Although phrasing this is always tricky, our RCT found that students got 2x as many marks using Seneca as one of the control groups. Those using the system beat a spaced control group by 65%. All our research tells us that almost nobody manages to space their learning effectively and this is why we think the benchmark is doubling performance, rather than increasing it by 65% (although to be honest, we think that’s quite good anyway!)

Neuroscience – We aim to improve memory using techniques from Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology. We hope to do valuable research into issues such as Dyslexia and also want to explore the use of retrieval routes and different mental representations. We can’t promise that we will gather game-changing data, but our system is designed to do exactly this, improving learning for everyone as a result. We also want to improve students’ understanding and engagement, and our experiences in early pioneer schools have truly reassured us that we have succeeded so far.

Our platform is launching on March 5th