I'm starting to see a number of Windows 8 apps that are creating a personal experience for their users. And the latest, for Emirates - one of the world's fastest growing airlines- made me think about the parallels to education.

The Emirates KIS app for Windows 8

Emirates have just announced that they are using a custom Windows 8 application, and touch slate, to personalise the journey for their passengers.

They serve over 15 million passengers a year, on 125,000 flights to 74 countries. It's a pretty diverse customer base, and one of the challenges they will face is how to deliver a personal experience for their passengers – and to continue to improve already great experience for their First Class passengers. To help, the cabin staff will have a Windows 8 tablet, with the Knowledge-driven Inflight Service (KIS) app next year:

  The KIS app is a fully immersive crew and customer management solution that captures important passenger data around preferences and history. For example, details around previous trips, any issues a customer had during their travels, preferences (food, wine, seating, etc.) are stored in the app to help the crew better serve the needs of customers. Pursers use the app prior to each flight to brief the cabin crew, enabling them to provide an exceptional level of personalized service. The crew can also use the app to upgrade Emirates Skywards members while in flight to Business Class or First Class, as well as record customer feedback that is delivered straight to Emirates management once the flight lands.  

Over the next year, they will roll out 1,000 devices, so that the purser on every flight will have access to the app, and the customer data that they need to enhance the customers' experiences. Their goal is to increase productivity, enhance teamwork, help with performance management and improve customer service. You can see it in action in this video below:

So why do I think there are parallels to education?

What I find interesting is that the scale of personalisation needed here is massive – 15 million passengers a year – and the data that they have on their customers is relative light (even their good customers are only going to be giving them a relatively small number of data sets a year) compared to every day student interactions.

So with the depth and breadth of student data that is available to every principal, leader and teacher in education, what would the Knowledge-driven Learning Service app look like? What are the design principles that apply to make the right data available to the right teachers, at exactly the right time – and on the right device? I know that there are people working on this kind of problem right now – and some early models of what it looks like are around.

But going forward, I think that there are some lessons from outside of education that might guide us into the future.

We have the data across the education system, what we need are increasingly sophisticated – and simple – ways of making it immediately valuable for teaching staff.

Learn MoreYou can read the full Emirates KIS case study on the global Microsoft case studies website