The Learning Companion is the result of a collaboration between the Center for Digital Education (CEDE) and the Teaching Support Center (CAPE) at EPFL, both members of the Center LEARN.
The Learning Companion allows students to self-assess on three levels. It invites them to reflect on their learning habits, problem-solving strategies, and their project management skills.
Based on the theoretical concepts and recommendations of the book “Learning to study” (Tormey & Hardebolle, 2017), the Learning Companion is a web-based tool developed for EPFL students in 2018 but available to all university students of Switzerland. It uses learning data collected to automatically generate personalized recommendations for each difficulty students encounter. This system also allows teachers to have access to the (anonymous) data of their class and to identify and address any relevant difficulties.
This tool offers a series of self-assessment questionnaires that allow students to situate themselves in relation to their learning habits. For example, by answering questions such as: “Do I manage my stress well?” or “Am I revising effectively?” “.
Students receive personalized recommendations and learning resources to improve their skills in the different areas.
Solving a problem in mathematics or physics requires a systematic approach that is new for some students starting their studies at EPFL.
The Learning Companion is designed to improve students’ problem-solving skills using a learning journal that they complete after working on their exercises.
The entries in the log are then visually summarized in a dashboard. This allows students to identify the areas in which they can improve, by giving leads such as “checking the calculations” or “persisting when it is difficult”.
This system allows the teacher to have access to the (anonymous) data of his class in order to identify and address the difficulties that require additional explanations.
Next step :
The Learning Companion is currently undergoing further development aimed at adapting it to the Secondary II level by the BeLEARN team.
This extension project will notably see the addition of a multilingual version, will make it possible to examine the differences between populations (compulsory school vs. university) and to prepare students to acquire self-regulation skills in anticipation of their entry into graduate studies.