When it comes to raising the bar in the increasingly popular supplemental education industry, there’s one brand that consistently outshines the competition: Sylvan Learning. Backed by its mission to stay ahead of the curve, the brand has a long history of setting a new standard for integrating new and innovative programs into the classroom. And technology is no exception.
In addition to its focus on STEM, robotics and coding courses, Sylvan Learning also ensures that technology plays a major role across its entire franchise system. That starts with the initial assessment that students take when they enroll in one of the brand’s programs—every new student takes a computer adaptive test that’s designed to objectively show a more realistic look at their abilities and what areas they need to improve in.
According to Emily Levitt, Sylvan Learning’s vice president of education, that approach enables the brand to tailor an entire educational program around a student’s individual needs.
“When you’re working with paper-based assessments, you’re really only testing for one specific grade level. But by adding technology into the mix, Sylvan’s programs can be tailored to each individual student’s needs,” said Levitt. “Every new student who we serve takes a test that’s based on their ability level. Depending on whether or not they answer questions correctly, our programs are then able to adjust to match their current educational capabilities. That means that right off the bat, we have a better idea of what we need to do in order to improve their performance in the classroom.”
Students aren’t the only ones benefitting from Sylvan’s innovative approach to technology—the brand’s franchisees are also seeing the benefits of integrating technology into its system. When Peter Bartoli, a center owner and director in Southbury, Connecticut, first joined the brand’s system over two decades ago as a teacher, he was impressed with its commitment to being on the cutting edge. And now that the brand has created its unrivaled SylvanSync program, he says that its model is the best in the business.
“The SylvanSync platform allows us to be adaptive to students’ needs within an instructional hour. That’s a competitive advantage that we didn’t have when our programs were paper-based—introducing the iPad and a digital platform to the brand has absolutely been instrumental to my success as a franchisee,” said Bartoli. “Before, if a student took a test on paper in January, we were still teaching off of it in June. And it took a lot of labor intensive work to produce and evaluate a student’s work. But now, we have the ability to change our programs as students learn and grow, which really makes us stand out.”
Even though Sylvan Learning is actively incorporating the latest technological trends into its classrooms, the brand is still just as focused on establishing personal relationships with its students. The brand recognizes that no matter how advantaged technology becomes, it will always be essential for education to have a human element attached to it.
“While technology allows us to be cutting edge, maintaining a personal relationship with each child and family who walks through our doors is what ultimately allows us to take our educational courses to the next level. We’re never going to replace the human element of our programs, but we’re always going to be on the lookout for ways to enhance our model to help students see success both in and outside of the classroom,” said Levitt.
Today, with more than 750 locations currently operating across the country, Sylvan Learning is bringing its digitally compatible education programs to new consumers at rapid rates. And as the brand continues to expand in target development markets across the country, it’s commitment to raising the bar in the supplemental education industry will only get stronger.
“We’re on the cutting edge of education. As an educator, I would not be a part of this system for over 20 years if I didn’t believe in its product. Education means too much to me to sacrifice my own principles to make a dollar as a business owner. And I can honestly say that there isn’t another brand out there that can compete with Sylvan,” said Bartoli. “Between our emphasis on technology and focus on establishing personal connections with every one of our students, we have a winning combination that can’t be beat. I’m incredibly proud to be a part of this system, and I’m looking forward to growing alongside the Sylvan brand as we innovate even more.”