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Posted: October 01, 2012

GenXYZ Top Five: Marc Crawford, Education Measures

His firm’s data crunching helps companies fine-tune their education programs

Nora Caley

Usually the way to make sure a student learned something is to give a quiz. Unfortunately this isn’t practical for continuing education for health-care professionals. Marc Crawford’s company, Educational Measures, helps companies capture outcomes, or the impact of educational programs.

Educational Measures collects data through electronic surveys and audience response system software. Crawford, 39, who founded the technology company with his brother Mike in 2005, says he soon realized that companies were collecting data with this technology but they weren’t using the data to its fullest extent.

"When we started I said they are collecting all this data and not doing anything with it to show a return on education," he says. "We help them get paper off the desk, so to speak."

Educational Measures creates customized applications for hospitals and medical associations to analyze the data they collected from live or enduring programming in a relational format to properly assess the return on education. Clients use the applications to measure, for example, whether a continuing medical education (CME) program was effective. The data can help a health-care system decide whether it needs to change its study design. It’s part of a continuing evolution in how health-care professionals learn.

"The old model was everyone flew the physicians and their families to Hawaii and attended lectures for three days," Crawford says. "The whole industry has changed."

The changes are due not just to budget issues, but also the fact that people in different age groups typically have different learning methods. The scenario of a roomful of baby boomers listening to a speaker and taking notes is a thing of the past in many industries. Many younger professionals prefer online instruction, and there are also differences among auditory, visual and kinesthetic learners.

In 2012, Educational Measures introduced ARRAY Learning, a technology platform and learning management system designed to address the needs of learners and improve the existing educational model. The software application is based on adult learning principles and provides an assortment of educational formats and media to address a range of learner styles. The user can view the program presentation content in real time, then answer polling questions and complete evaluation and outcomes assessments. The program stores the evaluation and outcomes data online, and the database is available immediately after the activity.

Crawford began his career with Medical Education Collaborative as a project manager, then earned his MBA from the University of Colorado at Denver. He worked for Keane Consulting, where he became interested in improving patient care, but he did not want to be a clinical health-care worker.

"My father is a urologist," he says. "I learned there are ways to be part of health care without being a doctor."

Today the Denver-based Educational Measures has 23 employees. Marc is president, and Mike is chief technology officer. The company works with 100 clients including hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and others, and is working on developing products for K-12 schools.

Crawford volunteers with the interfaith group One Simple Voice, the fundraiser Skate for Prostate, and Catholic Charities, where he mentors a middle-school student. He also led a company-wide initiative to help paint a low-income senior’s home in Denver for Brother’s Redevelopment Inc. Educational Measures’ pro bono work includes developing a mobile app for a Colorado school district that wanted to increase parent, student and community communication and engagement.

Sandy Haworth, a consultant partner who handles marketing and new business development for Educational Measures, says Crawford has passion, determination and empathy. "Marc is very passionate about his business and its mission to aid in the improvement of education, patient outcomes and audience engagement. He is also extremely committed to his role of an entrepreneur and the contribution he and his company can make to society."

Nora Caley is a freelance writer specializing in business and food topics. She can be reached at noracaley@comcast.net.

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