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Month: July 2016

EverFi Expands Higher Education And Enterprise Focus With Acquisition Of Compliance Education Leader LawRoom
Posted by On Thursday, July 21, 2016

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Combination Creates One of Education’s Largest Players with Over 3,000 Major Customers and 6 Million Annual Learners

EverFi, the leading education technology company focused on critical skills and prevention education for K-12, higher education and adult learners, today announced the acquisition of compliance education leader LawRoom. With the addition of LawRoom, EverFi grows its customer base to 3,300 partners, including 2,000 corporations, foundations, and nonprofits and over 1,300 higher education institutions.

The acquisition includes LawRoom subsidiary CampusClarity, which together with EverFi forms the industry’s largest campus prevention education provider. The combination of EverFi’s proven efficacy in alcohol abuse and sexual violence prevention along with CampusClarity’s flexible platform and compliance expertise will help campuses more effectively deliver and scale prevention education for students, faculty, and staff.

Together, EverFi and CampusClarity will also form the Campus Prevention Network, a nationwide coalition of over 1,300 higher education institutions that are committed to student wellness and safety. Through the Campus Prevention Network, colleges and universities will have access to award-winning online prevention training, regulatory compliance expertise, dynamic tracking and reporting, and groundbreaking prevention research based on the largest global dataset of attitudes and behaviors related to sexual assault and substance abuse.

“Whether for a student on a college campus or an employee in a corporation, innovative and proven digital education can help shape how we engage learners to prevent sexual violence and harassment,” said EverFi CEO Tom Davidson. “We now have an opportunity to welcome every campus and employer into our magnified network and truly tackle these issues at scale.”

The EverFi Campus Prevention Network will reach over five million higher education students and staff across the U.S. annually, including public and private colleges and universities, community colleges, and state university systems. EverFi partners now include Boston College, Carnegie Mellon, Clemson University, Georgetown University, Harvard, MIT, the Montana University System, Princeton University, Oklahoma State University, Oregon State University, University of Michigan, Stanford University, Technical College System of Georgia, Tennessee Board of Regents System, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, the University of Texas System, University of Virginia, Villanova University, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

Among LawRoom’s corporate compliance education customers are Acxiom, Barracuda Networks, Cathay Pacific, Kimpton Hotels, Informatica, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Miami Heat, Patagonia, Samsung, SurveyMonkey, UFC Gym, and TIBCO. The combined company will not only ensure proven compliance training for enterprises, but also provide the additional cutting-edge skills that the next-generation employee needs to be successful across the globe.

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About EverFi, Inc.

EverFi, Inc. is the education technology leader that empowers K-12, higher education, and adult learners with the skills needed to be successful in life and work. With investments from some of technology’s most innovative leaders including Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, Twitter founder Evan Williams, and venture investors New Enterprise Associates and Rethink Education, EverFi has built the most comprehensive digital learning platform that serves K-12, higher education, and adult learners. EverFi partners with over 3,300 customers and 20,000 K-12 schools to bring its innovative learning platform to learners across the country. Learn more at everfi.com.

Media Contact: 
Brian Cooley
brian@ everfi.com
202-625-0011 x352

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Ethics and Aesthetics: Affordance Theory
Posted by On Tuesday, July 12, 2016

To kick off our Ethics and Aesthetics series we discussed the aesthetic-usability effect, and offered some theories on why beautiful things tend to work better. In our second post, we will examine J. J. Gibson’s theory of affordances, and how the animal propensity for action shapes our perception of objects and their function.

J.J. Gibson was one of the most influential psychologists in the field of visual perception. In his book “The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception,” he outlined his theory of affordances, which designers continue to rely on today. The theory of affordances states that we perceive objects in the world in terms of how their properties may enable actions, and not by the properties themselves. The movie 2001: A Space Odyssey has a great example of an affordance when a Paleolithic man-ape extracts a long, heavy femur bone from a dry animal carcass and realizes that it affords smashing, and proceeds to use it to beat and kill the leader of a rival tribe. Indeed, our earliest record of inter-group violence between humans indicates that club-like objects were employed to inflict blunt force injury, and prehistoric bone clubs have been excavated in the Pacific Northwest.  Long bones were therefore utilized as clubs because their shape afforded grasping, and their weight afforded causing bodily damage.

In our training courses, we use affordance theory to better engage our users. Like designers who make physical objects, interaction designers use affordance theory to ensure that users have an intuitive understanding of what objects on the screen do, even without explicit instructions. Unlike physical objects, digital objects don’t have predetermined weight, form, or shape. Therefore, designers give interactive elements properties that suggest an associated action. For example, a button shaded to appear convex affords clicking, since it resembles the shadow of physical buttons. Skeumorphism is a technique that uses metaphoric affordances to make conceptual connections between digital objects and physical ones. A digital dashboard that mimics the look of a car dashboard immediately clues users in as to its function (i.e.  a control panel through which you can access different instruments.)

We have historically gotten great feedback on the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Calculator in Think About It, our course on sexual violence and substance abuse prevention for college students. Students find it fun to input different values for gender, weight, number and type of drinks, and time elapsed into the calculator to see how it affects BAC. The apparatus is designed with looping tubes, sliders, and digital readouts. These exaggerated technological features make it reminiscent of a slightly kitschy retrofuturistic toy. It is one of the more popular features of the course.

Due to its popularity, we discussed the idea of making the BAC calculator into an app that students could download and use at parties so that they might have a better idea of their BAC “in the field,” so to speak. However, we realized that the toy-like nature of the interaction was more afforded to “having fun” than “accurately measuring BAC as a way to stay safe.” In other words, making the BAC calculator available as a portable app may actually encourage students to overdrink by making it into a party game. Competition is one of the top cited reasons for college students for playing drinking games. Like traditional breathalizers that have become party games, the BAC calculator spits out a number, which can appear score-like and encourage competition. So we decided to keep the tool located inside the course to increase its informative affordance and reduce its impetus-to-imbibe affordance.

When designing features for our courses, we aim to be thoughtful about the social, political, and ideological context for its use. Affordance theory gives us a useful tool to analyze how well we are doing. However, nothing compares to direct user feedback, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with your thoughts!

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