An innovative digital learning platform is set to be piloted in schools across three Scottish local authority areas after a £2 million grant funding round.

E-learning specialist ITZA will roll out its platform in West Lothian, Dundee and Aberdeenshire after securing research and development (R&D) support from government and investors.

The grant and equity funding comes from Scottish Enterprise, Alba Equity, and private investors to grow the firm’s digital learning, production and AI analytics hub in Scotland.

In the pilot it will integrate with the GLOW national learning platform at secondary level, aimed at engaging primarily 10-16-year-olds.

If successful, the plan will be to roll out ITZA’s technology next year across Scotland to support independent learning for young people.

ITZA’s web platform empowers young people to learn independently using curated content and personalised analytics. The company’s team of filmmakers, cognitive scientists, educators, and game designers collaborate with world-class brands and organisations to produce engaging film, games, and other interactive content to complement and extend the school curricula. 

To support ITZA’s growth plans, the company expects to increase its Edinburgh headcount from 15 to over 50 in the next three years.

Anthony Bouchier, CEO and founder of ITZA, said: “Scotland has a longstanding reputation around its pioneering introduction of digital learning into schools, and we thank Scottish Enterprise and Alba for their dedicated support. We’re excited to be here – ITZA plans to go global from a base in Scotland.”

Jane Martin, managing director of innovation and investment at Scottish Enterprise, said: “It’s great to see ITZA choose Edinburgh as the location of its new digital hub. The city is home to hundreds of ambitious technology companies, leading academic institutions, and a deep pool of tech talent, making it the ideal place in which to scale up a digital technology business.”

Martin added: “If Scottish Enterprise is to help increase the number of scale-up businesses in Scotland, create high-value jobs and drive increases in turnover, it’s critically important that we continue to encourage companies like ITZA to anchor their research and development projects here and support investment in innovation.”

John Duncan, founder and director, Alba Equity, said: “Anthony and his team at ITZA are delivering a platform that we believe has the potential to offer improved learning experiences for many young people and we’re delighted to be able to support this. The use of emerging technologies to complement and enhance the in-school learning experience is something that should benefit all stakeholders, and we look forward to working with ITZA through this exciting stage of the development.”

In June 2023, the Scottish Government published the ‘It’s Our Future – Review of Qualifications and Assessment’ report which highlighted the skills and knowledge  learners need to thrive in the modern economy, the role of technology, the culture of education in Scotland, and international comparisons.  

Bouchier added: “The timing could not be better for ITZA in Scotland when you consider the focus and work of the Scottish Government, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, Education Scotland, and the Education Reform Directorate. Our aim is to be a trusted partner to all stakeholders as the sector evolves at pace.”

“In the world of AI, all the data from experts in the education field points to the need to encourage young people to be confident independent learners, using large language models and other digital tools to enhance and extend their school curriculum.  ITZA evaluates and rewards this self-directed learning and helps teachers support and encourage this key skill.  ITZA will be at the forefront of change as we reach a crossroads in the way we educate our young people.”