The Inventorium was developed in response to the shocking statistic that between 25% and 40% of kids who start year 8 do not complete year 12! The statistic varies from State to State and how they counting is done, but on average, at least 1 in 4 kids are not completing high school. Not only is this devastating for the future of the Australian economy, but is a tragedy for the young people who are disengaging. This sparked a deep dive into the research on student disengagement by the founder of the company and in short, there are 3 key reasons that kids disengage from school:
1. The pace of the lessons is wrong for them (too fast or too slow)
2. They are not interested in what they are learning - they fail to see the relevance
3. Nobody knows who they are - they have multiple teachers for multiple subjects and nobody has a holistic overview of them as a student
There is also a plethora of research and publications on how the education system is failing to meet 21st century needs.
The Inventorium was therefore designed by a group of academics, teachers and corporate professionals to embody a major shift in the way we think about and deliver education, and address the root causes of disengagement in the curriculum design. The original design was to bridge the gap between disengagement and employability (as qualifications will not be important in the future), but we found that right now - for parents and schools - qualifications are still very important. Hence the second interation mapped to SACE.
We also looked at whether it was possible to design a self-paced curriculum that allowed students to focus their learning on what was relevant to them, and have one teacher cover everything. Maybe the reason that nobody had responded to the criticisms of the current education system were due to the fact that it just wasn't possible to produce what was needed and deliver it at scale? We've discovered that it is possible, and it can scale, but it impossible to achieve in a traditional school where time is organised by a school bell. It had to be online.
Our team were early adopters in the online learning space, so we had years of mistakes to draw on. From streaming to the classroom, to streaming from the classroom, we have done it all. We drew on all our lessons learned and a broad base of published research. You can read some of the research reports that inspired us in the Research page in this site. The Covid online learning experience that many have experienced over the last few years is not what we are about. We are about personalised, one to one learning, and we have a retention rate of around 95% with kids who would otherwise not be attending school.
The focus of all of our work is on growth, co-creation and transformation. Growth in terms of expanding an individual's horizon with regards to their future; co-creation in terms of personalising the learning journey to power the future they want; and transformation in terms of outcomes for individuals from where they start to where they go next.
One thing we have been very clear about from the start of the Inventorium is that we do not want to compete with anyone. We were seeking to fill a gap because a gap clearly exists when 25%-40% of kids are dropping out! Our student base consists of kids who, for whatever reason, choose not to go to a traditional school. This could be due to family circumstances, a disability of some kind, anxiety and/or depression, having been bullied, being excluded from school, or simply disengaging due to the three reasons outlined in the research summary above. We work in partnership with schools to teach the kids who are on their register but are either on FLO (or the post-FLO alternative), or simply are school refusers. We also run a cohort of homeschoolers through their SACE in partnership with Open Access College. We also sell subscriptions to the platform to homeschooling parents who wish to teach their kids themselves.
We work in partnership with schools to teach the kids who are on their register but are either on FLO (or the post-FLO alternative), or simply are school refusers. We also run a cohort of homeschoolers through their SACE in partnership with Open Access College. We also sell subscriptions to the platform to homeschooling parents who wish to teach their kids themselves. We are a social enterprise and commit over 50% of any profit we make to improving the curriculum, and also have a scholarship fund for homeschooling parents who need it. We work in partnership with schools to teach the kids who are on their register but are either on FLO (or the post-FLO alternative), or simply are school refusers. We also run a cohort of homeschoolers through their SACE in partnership with Open Access College. We also sell subscriptions to the platform to homeschooling parents who wish to teach their kids themselves. We are a social enterprise and commit over 50% of any profit we make to improving the curriculum, and also have a scholarship fund for homeschooling parents who need it.
Over 60% of our operating costs are directly related to the delivery of our education services (teaching) and most of the remainder is invested in the platform hosting and maintenance. While we are a 'for-profit' social enterprise, our whole raison d'etre is to re-engage the disengaged. Recently we expanded to offer a 'womens leadership development program' which is utilising the platform to support women back into the workforce after they have had a break of at least 6 months, as they face similar barriers to engagement and access. We measure our impact in terms of outcomes and inputs. In terms of outcomes, we focus on retention and engagement as we work with a population of young people for whom these two areas have been problematic. We do not focus on 'academic results' as we negotiate the outcomes our students want to achieve with them and so an external measure is not a valid measure of success.
However, if the young people stay with us and complete the pathway we agree with them, then that is success in our books. In terms of inputs, we consider the proportion of costs associated with running the Inventorium and the proportion of those that are directly attributable to serving our target populations. This keeps us very lean in terms of management costs, marketing and other business expenses and drives us to be as efficient and cost effective as possible, and ensures we provide value for money to all our partners, parents and customers.
Former full-time academic and teacher, Eddie is the brains behind the concept design and the curriculum writing in the Inventorium.
Professor Eddie Blass
Founder and CEO
UX, UI and game designer, Joel is the creative brain behind the user interface design and the light gamification of the avatar sitting in the Inventorium.
Tracey's our resident arts expert. As wella s teaching she is a reviewer for GlamAdelaide and is well connected in the arts and performing arts in Adelaide.
David is our Teacher Support Partner and provides system support to all the other teachers using the Inventorium, no matter what school they are in, or where they are based.
System Support Partner
Georgia is expert in work based learning and is a SACE moderator for workplace practices and so adds a deeper understanding of SACE assessment processes to the team.
Trisha is passionate about seeing her students succeed, possibly stemming from her previous career as a lawyer, and her maths and science background.
Teacher and Schools Liaison