How Cognassist helped open doors, inform Trainer conversations and deliver unbeatable learner support outcomes.

Jill Thornton, Learning Support Coordinator at Realise, and Matt Smith, Learning System’s Manager, talk about their partnership with Cognassist to align and deliver high impact support for their learners. 

Realise Learning & Employment operate in the apprenticeship field across multiple sectors, from business and management to health and social care, including early years and education.  

Their team operates in other educational spaces as well, supporting devolved areas with alternative education strategies, such as short courses and diplomas.  

Across the business, Realise works with around 5,000 learners at any given time, so ensuring they understand their learner’s needs from the start is crucial for success. 


The context: How important is neurodiversity to Realise? 

Jill: It’s always been a consideration, but more recently, within the past four to five years, it has been imperative. 

Matt: We want and need to understand our learners better. Cognassist enables people to understand themselves better. They’re the catalyst in enabling us to achieve our goal. 

We started using Cognassist, as although we had assessments in place for our learners to understand certain needs like English and math, we knew we needed to “recognise” neurodiversity.  

It’s so much more to us than that now.  

Through a robust business-wide roll out, from junior to senior level, thorough integration, plus a concerted and thought-out delivery of the Cognassist assessment, it has become invaluable to us. 


The challenge: What do you think stands in the way of learner success within the apprenticeship sector? 

Jill: Without the initial assessment, we’re working aimlessly with our learners. If we don’t understand how they learn, how are we supposed to teach them? How can we best support them? We can’t.  

Without the assessment they’re at a disadvantage from the get-go. 

Matt: Anybody can claim that they support their learners, but we have the evidence and proven outcomes of supporting ours. 

Through Cognassist we’ve transitioned to ensuring we’re putting the learner first. 


And that’s exactly how one of Realise’s learners describes it too… 

The solution: What has been your experience of working with Cognassist? 

A former colleague at Realise managed onboarding and the initial engagement journey with Cognassist, but both Jill and Matt have seen continued benefits… 

Matt: We have benefitted from continued training webinars and the fantastic Customer Support Team at Cognassist.  

Jill: Once our team started utilising the assessment and analysing it’s results with our learners, the impact was huge and the reaction was amazing.  

We have learners working in ways they’ve never worked before. 

They come to us and say, “I wish I had known that at school, life would have been so much easier.” 

At present I’d say 70-80% of our trainers have completed the assessment themselves. The impact on them personally, plus the ongoing impact on our learners has been amazing. As a business, we want to support their neurodiversity as much as we do for our learners. 

The open conversations around neurodiversity as a whole, and that of individual, is greater than ever before. The benefits have been profound.  


The outcomes: what has impressed, surprised and impacted you most about Cognassist? 

The most important outcomes are those for the learner themselves. We heard from another Realise apprentice about their experience… 

Jill: Cognassist has had such a big ‘door opening’ effect.  

It has given us and our learners an educated starting point for conversations around their neurodiversity and the support available. Many of these conversations wouldn’t have happened before Cognassist.  

Not only that, it provides us with continued scientifically-backed guidance and resources throughout the learner journey. Our learners take the information and knowledge they gain from the assessment and continue to use it to their benefit inside and outside of the workplace.  

Without it, we and many of our learners wouldn’t be in the positive positions they’re in today. 

The platform is extremely user friendly and easy to navigate; However, the main thing is the flexible learning plans 

They have been a game changer for us.  

We’re getting increased engagement from learners because of this and enabling our tutors to build out an individualised plan for each learner has been fantastic. 

The platform is continually developing and the customer support team are incredible. 

Matt: Huge Kudos to your Customer Support Team. They bend over backwards for us. They listen, gain an understanding of what it is that we need as a business, and implement where required. As Jill said, they’re incredible. 

Cognassist can help your learner enjoy their experience and be successful. The power of self-awareness and understanding it creates is huge. 


The Realise learner support journey 

Jill: We are highly focused on the learner – Are they utilising their bespoke plan? Are we supporting them correctly? What’s their understanding, development and retention? Could we be supporting them better? 

We have weaved Cognassist into our full learner journey (as below) – it has brought us to the forefront of our industry. 

  • Pre-start

    Learner completes Cognassist Assessment as part of Enrolment and insight used to support programme individualisation and learner support, including possible reasonable adjustments required. 

  • Month 1

    Where agreed with learner, monthly interventions commence and where appropriate, reasonable adjustments for programme and EPA raised.  

  • Ongoing

    Monthly Cognassist intervention completion and discussion to review adapt and implement strategies into learner’s journey.

  • Ongoing

    Learner reflects on Cognassist strategies and their impact in Learning Journal.

  • Ongoing

    Learner involved in decision to continue using Cognassist interventions.

  • EPA

    Reasonable adjustments discussed and implemented for EPA. 



Learner engagement


LDD learner success rate


Comprehensive learner support journey

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