21.01.2021 13:00

Azerbaijani Ministry of Education unlocks the power of data-driven education

For the Azerbaijani Ministry of Education, connected, data-driven education is the future of learning. With the aid of its recently launched online education platform, the Ministry is helping more than 1.3 million K–12 students advance their knowledge from wherever they study. Using Microsoft Teams for Education and Microsoft Power BI, the Ministry and teachers are equipped with key educational content, insights, and statistics. This helps improve teaching methodologies over time, ensuring students stay engaged with lessons. Teams enables students to connect to personalized learning content seamlessly, making exceptional education possible in any location.

The Ministry of Education (MoE) of the Republic of Azerbaijan has rolled out a new educational platform that it calls Virtual School. Based on Microsoft Teams, Virtual School reaches K–12 schools and higher education institutions and is reshaping the way both Azerbaijani students and teachers approach learning. The platform implementation, which was supported by Edumedia-Azerbaijan, BestComp, and Innovative Technologies in Education—all part of the Microsoft Partner Network—enabled the Ministry to quickly create online classrooms as a response to healthcare challenges. However, the platform also serves the larger purpose of constantly improving teaching methods and keeps students engaged with lessons. “We now have the tools we need to better identify subjects to be taught and methodologies to be used in different classes,” says Vusal Khanlarov, Head of Bureau on ICT at the Ministry of Education.


Delivering better education with data

“We created digital identities for our students and teachers, both across general and higher education,” shares Khanlarov. “By delving into how users interact with the platform, share and use content, it allows us to better understand and pick effective learning and teaching strategies so that we can support everyone effectively. Moreover, the platform is also designed to function as a content hub. Lectures recorded and uploaded via Microsoft Stream will remain accessible for years to come. And since about 80 percent of students use the platform on their cell phones, it means we are supporting anytime, anywhere mobile learning opportunities.”


Learning from the leaders, filling in the gaps

The Ministry gained new insight to identify the best-performing teachers and classes—enabling other schools to take advantage of the strategies that work best. For example, by exploring which grades and schools show the highest activity rates, and with which teachers, it’s possible to identify and roll out the most effective educational approaches broadly.

"We use Power BI dashboard visualizations to get rapid insights into how students are doing on their tests and which subjects are well perceived,” explains Khanlarov. "In each school, we can dive deep and see how active the students are in every grade and every class."

Another dashboard is helping determine how to best expand educational content Khanlarov explains, “By analyzing how students perform on their tests, it’s possible to find and fill in lesson gaps, making content richer where it needs to be.”


A vision for the future

Rounding out its efforts to serve a digital-forward generation of learners, the MoE is currently adding Microsoft Azure speech recognition technology for the Azerbaijani language. “This will help create an online index for dynamic content retrieval,” explains Khanlarov. "Our goal is to create a personal learning path for each teacher and student. The online tools that we have allow us to go in that direction," he concludes.


In each school, we can dive deep and see how active the students are in every grade and every class.


Vusal Khanlarov: Head of Bureau on ICT

Ministry of Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan