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Meeting the modern learner’s needs—an Insurance Institute of Ireland case study

Key benefits

The specific business objective, goal, and desired outcome of incorporating the educational app Quitch into the delivery of our foundation regulatory module, The Nature of Insurance, was to: 

  • harnesses mobile technology to engage students, 
  • improve progression and
  • boost performance through game-based techniques. 

In addition to enabling learners to: 

  • Break down new learning material into bite-sized chunks
  • Allow learners to revise regularly through short bursts of rapid-fire gaming 
  • Gradually increase the interval between revision sessions committing the syllabus information to long term memory through the practice of active recall.

What makes this app so innovative is that with gamified elements integrated into its design, in addition to facilitating learning, it further engages and motivates students (Hamari, Koivisto, & Sarsa, 2014). Research shows that students generally hold positive perceptions of gamified learning and appreciate social interaction, engagement, and immediate feedback it affords (Cheong, Filippou, & Cheong, 2014). 

The Insurance Institute of Ireland harnessed this mobile technology to engage students, improve progression and boost performance through gamification. Learners have welcomed the mobile app and, to date, has raised both engagement and learner success rates.

Digital strategy

In 2019, there was a ‘root and branch’ review of all the elements of the teaching and learning of the Institute’s programmes to ensure they were student-centric and reflected best practice. The education team was acutely aware that digital learning had become a central aspect of higher education, inherently affecting all aspects of the student experience (Bond et al., 2020). 

The initial work involved the Certificate in Insurance Product Advice (APA), which has the largest Institute student cohort of 5,000 candidates per year. As student engagement has been linked to improved achievement, persistence, and retention (Finn, 2006; Kuh, Cruce, Shoup, Kinzie, & Gonyea, 2008), the Institutes education team focused on innovative ways to scaffold student learning by adding motivational touchpoints throughout the student journey. 

After earning the APA qualification, graduates are compliant with the Central Bank of Ireland’s Minimum Competency Code (MCC) 2017 and they can work unsupervised in the insurance industry in the product area in which they qualified. As the education providers of insurance qualifications for the industry, it is paramount that the III ensures that these new entrants meet the Central Bank’s minimum requirements at the earliest possible date. 

On meeting Grainne Oates and receiving an introduction to Quitch, a gamified mobile learning platform, the education team saw the perfect opportunity to enhance the learning experience of its students.

Implementing the educational learning app was considered crucial to support students in their engagement with the content and, ultimately, their success in exams.

Pilot stats and feedback

The pilot launched in September 2020 with an intake of 365 students on the module. 65% of the class signed up after receiving the introductory email. 

A bank of 121 questions using various formats was uploaded over 8 Chapters of the textbook. A weekly notification was sent via the app to remind students to log in to test their knowledge after completing their chapter, with questions relating to that content released weekly to support the scaffolded approach to their learning.

From a systems implementation perspective, the back-office interface is very easy and straightforward to use, with excellent visual dashboards and a great variety of formats of questioning available. The ability to build feedback, context and references to the section of the chapter within the answer explanation was an excellent way to complement our primary learning resource, our textbooks.  The support we received from the team at Quitch throughout has been fantastic.

The engagement was strong from the start, with students also utilising the useful resources section we populated with their handbook and induction video. The engagement measure was based on the increased numbers of direct emails received during term from students on this module. The numbers attending tutorials increased based on last terms numbers and the engagement on the end of term survey was much higher on this module compared with all other modules.

At its peak, 41,000 questions were attempted/answered by 237 students on Quitch in the week leading up to the January 2021 exam sitting with an 85% accuracy. 

74% of students sitting the exam in January 2021 passed. The following is the breakdown of students’ results that engaged with the app, based on their percentage completion rate on Quitch.

Completion rates on appSuccess rateAverage gradeHighest gradeLowest grade
100% completion96%71%100%40%
99% – 64% completion85%66%96%41%
Less than 63% completion50%58%85%41%
Less than 38% completion50%58%83%40%
Failed to pass the exam across the above completion % bands15% overall28%37%15%

As evidenced above, students with 100% completion rates had a success rate of 96% compared to the overall success rate of 74%. This dropped to 85% in those that completed up to 64%, which is still significantly more than the overall rate.

The data generated by the app has helped the programme team allocate resources and supports to areas of the curriculum that need additional emphasis. Question-prompting and immediate automated feedback has allowed the students to see how well they are doing instantly. The ‘push notification’ technology has also proved valuable when tasked with encouraging immediate learning and helping learners stay up-to-date with content (Garbrick & Clariana, 2015; Kudo et al., 2015). The feedback from learners has been exceptional with requests for “Can we have more like this?” and “It is a great way to learn and practice in an easy manner.”

Next steps

Quitch has proved to be a particularly successful tool in engaging students on our entry-level module with content that can be difficult to assimilate. To date, the Institute has seen both an increase in engagement, pass rates and grades since its introduction. The pilot group has been extended to each intake of students on the first module, the Nature of Insurance, in 2021, extending its exposure to over 1,500 students per year with further plans to roll out the app to additional modules.


ABOUT THE INSURANCE INSTITUTE OF IRELAND

The Insurance Institute of Ireland (III) was established in 1885. Its mission, as the education arm for the insurance industry, is to educate, inspire and connect its members, who currently number over 20,000 countrywide. The Insurance Institute is the leading provider of insurance qualifications, executive education, training and continuing professional development (CPD) in the general insurance sector. It is a not-for-profit organisation committed to the learning and development of its members working in insurance and financial services worldwide. Headquartered in Dublin city centre with local Institutes in Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Sligo. The Institute employs 36 people spread across five departments, Member Services, Marketing, Corporate Management & Apprenticeship, Accounts and Education.