Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Ara first in NZ to adopt CognAsist for learning challenges

Neuroscience learning tool will enhance student achievement

Having a learning challenge need not be a barrier to study success. Ara Learning Advisors have helped hundreds of students to develop strategies for overcoming their individual challenges. Now the institute is the first in New Zealand to adopt an innovative framework for assessing and addressing learning challenges to ensure every student has the tools to finish their qualification and achieve their employment goals.

CognAssist is a UK-based organisation established to make the world a more inclusive place by identifying and supporting neurodiverse learners with innovative coping strategies. Founder and CEO Chris Quickfall overcame his own challenges with dyslexia to complete a Mechanical Engineering degree and is passionate about supporting others to succeed too.

The company’s Head of Client Experience Louise Karwowski is in Christchurch to train Ara’s Learning Advisors to use CognAssist.

“This is a first for New Zealand and a massive opportunity for learners at Ara. Everyone thinks and learns differently and we have seen many learners who had a tough time in education flourish with CognAssist tools.”

The 30 minute assessment investigates eight cognitive domains that affect thinking and learning. If a learning need is identified, the student receives access to specific CognAssist strategies, which are presented as animations, videos and interactive exercises, and accessed on a computer, mobile phone or tablet at the rate of one per week.

Each strategy takes up to five minutes to complete and is accompanied with tools to practice in daily life.

New awareness and understanding of individual neuroscience can lead to life changing improvements.

“For example, you have a student who is always late. You could become frustrated and conclude that that student is just not motivated. Through CognAssist, however, you discover that the student has a problem with executive functioning, or being able to manage and organise themselves effectively.”

“They have a learning challenge and they might not even know it. CognAssist offers strategies to support the student’s learning and achievement. For the executive function domain for example, using calendars, using checklists, sticking to fixed routines and prioritising tasks can make a huge difference.”

Karwowski was completing a PhD in theoretical chemistry at Manchester University when she began supporting students with learning challenges and discovered a passion for making a difference for those who were struggling with their learning.

“Initially it came as a surprise to us when we got feedback that CognAssist was not just leading to success in learning but was changing peoples’ lives. People who have always been stressed about learning can now find ways to make it easier to learn and are more confident in themselves.”

Karwowski was impressed with the calibre of knowledge about learning challenges at Ara. “I am delighted that the Ara team now has a sophisticated framework for assessing learners and providing strategies for coping with learning challenges. CognAssist will be a valuable supplementary tool in the advisors’ toolkits to support students even more effectively and to add to the fantastic work they are already doing to support Ara students.”

Caption: Louise Karwowski from UK-based company CognAssist was at Ara to train Learning Advisors to use the new framework to further support students with learning challenges.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis Review: Voulez-Vous Couchez Avec Moi? - C'est Chic, Ça Colette!

Starring the ravishingly vibrant Keira Knightley in the title role, Colette is a fairly pedestrian paint-by numbers biopic - which is a little disappointing, given that its cross-dressing and pansexual protagonist lead anything but a dull life. More>>

Wellington Repertory Theatre: New Season Includes Royal Hunt of The Sun

“The objective behind our ambitious 2019 season is to expand our offering to a broader range of Wellingtonians. It’s the first time in over a decade that we’ve produced four shows, and the first time we will be performing at the Hannah Payhouse,” says Oliver Mander, WRT’s President. More>>

Howard Davis Review: The Revenants - They Shall Not Grow Old

Jackson has toiled laboriously in the trenches of the digital revolution for decades, with his two turgid Tolkien trilogies constantly pushing the envelope in terms of computer-generated entertainment and providing his latest project with sufficient combat experience to warrant serious Oscar consideration for its remarkable technical achievements. More>>

Unseen Let It Be Footage: Peter Jackson Making "The Ultimate Beatles Film"

Jackson's new film will be compiled from fifty-five hours of never-released studio footage of The Beatles recording their final album Let It Be in January 1969. More>>

NZCT Grants More Than $150,000 to Community Sports

NZCT has approved grants to the Tauranga Boxing Academy, provided a new lease of life to old yachts, benefitted sports at Tiniroto School, and helped to upgrade Christchurch City BMX Club track. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland