Macmillan Learning, a privately held, family-owned education publishing and services company, and Packback, an education technology company, have recently announced a partnership that combines Packback’s AI-powered technology with hundreds of course materials available through Macmillan Learning’s Achieve digital learning platform. Both firms are committed to assisting educators in developing student critical thinking abilities, which are more necessary than ever in a world where generative AI is becoming more common.
Macmillan Learning’s digital learning solutions and Packback’s AI-powered conversation platform work together to develop critical thinking while increasing student engagement and cooperation. According to instructor comments, combining the two products enhanced student outcomes, with students being more engaged with the text and examinations.
Achieve is Macmillan Learning’s digital learning platform designed to support student success; the company’s IRB-approved and replicable research has demonstrated its efficacy in helping students learn and score better on exams. It offers powerful assessment tools and multimodal content to support students of all levels of preparation in an intuitive and user-friendly system.
Speaking on the partnership, Susan Winslow, CEO of Macmillan Learning, said:
This collaboration reflects Macmillan Learning and Packback’s dedication to improving the learning experience. Together, the platforms will ignite the curiosity that drives academic growth and encourage students to participate more actively in their learning journey.
Achieve was designed with features that support active learning, metacognition and evidence-based teaching practices. Some of the features include Goal Setting and Reflection Surveys, which support students’ metacognition with a series of actionable surveys that help students set goals for themselves and reflect on their learning throughout the semester; adaptive quizzing to personalize the learning experience for each student, where questions get more challenging as the student progresses; and a wealth of interactive content including graphs, videos, simulations, and animations that help students learn more engagingly.
Packback Questions is an inquiry-driven discussion platform that encourages students to achieve higher levels of critical thinking to discover real-life applications of course material via discussion questions in and out of class. The platform supports active learning by allowing students to develop their ideas, interact with their peers, and practice writing.
Additionally, the tech uses AI to act as a “digital TA” to help manage the discussion communities and evaluate the quality of student contributions, ensuring that discussions remain focused, relevant, and productive. The AI helps to drive instant feedback, and proactive coaching helps students make thoughtful, research-supported claims. The Packback platform uses a proprietary combination of AI models to provide feedback on the student’s grammar, assign students a “curiosity score”, advise when their posts may violate academic guidelines before they even press “submit”, and more.
Kelsey Behringer, CEO of Packback, commented:
Packback isn’t just a platform; it’s a catalyst for critical thinking and a force for academic achievement. Together with Macmillan Learning, we’ll help students engage with the high-quality, vetted course material and demonstrate mastery by producing their work in their voice. This allows students to build foundational and much-needed AI collaboration skills that will be a bridge to their success from the classroom to their careers.
The two companies are dedicated to providing educators with the most significant content and learning methods possible, and their technologies have been created with the help of learning research and continual feedback from instructors and students. Achieve encourages content mastery through active practice with content and tasks aligned to course outcomes. Packback’s pedagogy stems from the Self-Determination Theory, emphasizing autonomy and purpose to fuel intrinsic motivation.
With this new partnership, instructors can bundle Macmillan Learning’s content, assessment and other digital tools with Packback’s inquiry-driven discussion platform to further increase active learning and engagement while helping students achieve higher critical thinking and metacognition levels. Combining the two technologies helps make the student experience more cohesive and rigorous: Achieve content becomes more relevant to students’ lives through high-quality prompts that tie the two together, allowing students to receive more efficient feedback on written responses. The prompts help students think more deeply about the content when aligned with Achieve courses.
Macmillan Learning aims to inspire every learner to see what is possible. The organization believes that education opens doors for students and strives to envision a world where everyone succeeds. This conviction motivates its attempts to produce robust and engaging learning experiences. Students have a remarkable range of motives, ambitions, and lifestyles within and beyond the classroom. As a result, the platform develops adaptive solutions for students of different skills, backgrounds, and demographics, and it constantly seeks innovative methods to meet students where and how they study best. The company is dedicated to investing in excellent authoring and collaborating with educators, academics, authors, and technologists to increase classroom learning for all students.