Introducing several new ideas to provide personalized, customized learning experiences for all kinds of learners! [Christian]

From DSC:
I have often reflected on differentiation or what some call personalized learning and/or customized learning. How does a busy teacher, instructor, professor, or trainer achieve this, realistically?

It’s very difficult and time-consuming to do for sure. But it also requires a team of specialists to achieve such a holy grail of learning — as one person can’t know it all. That is, one educator doesn’t have the necessary time, skills, or knowledge to address so many different learning needs and levels!

  • Think of different cognitive capabilities — from students that have special learning needs and challenges to gifted students
  • Or learners that have different physical capabilities or restrictions
  • Or learners that have different backgrounds and/or levels of prior knowledge
  • Etc., etc., etc.

Educators  and trainers have so many things on their plates that it’s very difficult to come up with _X_ lesson plans/agendas/personalized approaches, etc.  On the other side of the table, how do students from a vast array of backgrounds and cognitive skill levels get the main points of a chapter or piece of text? How can they self-select the level of difficulty and/or start at a “basics” level and work one’s way up to harder/more detailed levels if they can cognitively handle that level of detail/complexity? Conversely, how do I as a learner get the boiled down version of a piece of text?

Well… just as with the flipped classroom approach, I’d like to suggest that we flip things a bit and enlist teams of specialists at the publishers to fulfill this need. Move things to the content creation end — not so much at the delivery end of things. Publishers’ teams could play a significant, hugely helpful role in providing customized learning to learners.

Some of the ways that this could happen:

Use an HTML like language when writing a textbook, such as:

<MainPoint> The text for the main point here. </MainPoint>

<SubPoint1>The text for the subpoint 1 here.</SubPoint1>

<DetailsSubPoint1>More detailed information for subpoint 1 here.</DetailsSubPoint1>

<SubPoint2>The text for the subpoint 2 here.</SubPoint2>

<DetailsSubPoint2>More detailed information for subpoint 2 here.</DetailsSubPoint2>

<SubPoint3>The text for the subpoint 3 here.</SubPoint3>

<DetailsSubPoint3>More detailed information for subpoint 3 here.</DetailsSubPoint1>

<SummaryOfMainPoints>A list of the main points that a learner should walk away with.</SummaryOfMainPoints>

<BasicsOfMainPoints>Here is a listing of the main points, but put in alternative words and more basic ways of expressing those main points. </BasicsOfMainPoints>

<Conclusion> The text for the concluding comments here.</Conclusion>

 

<BasicsOfMainPoints> could be called <AlternativeExplanations>
Bottom line: This tag would be to put things forth using very straightforward terms.

Another tag would be to address how this topic/chapter is relevant:
<RealWorldApplication>This short paragraph should illustrate real world examples

of this particular topic. Why does this topic matter? How is it relevant?</RealWorldApplication>

 

On the students’ end, they could use an app that works with such tags to allow a learner to quickly see/review the different layers. That is:

  • Show me just the main points
  • Then add on the sub points
  • Then fill in the details
    OR
  • Just give me the basics via an alternative ways of expressing these things. I won’t remember all the details. Put things using easy-to-understand wording/ideas.

 

It’s like the layers of a Microsoft HoloLens app of the human anatomy:

 

Or it’s like different layers of a chapter of a “textbook” — so a learner could quickly collapse/expand the text as needed:

 

This approach could be helpful at all kinds of learning levels. For example, it could be very helpful for law school students to obtain outlines for cases or for chapters of information. Similarly, it could be helpful for dental or medical school students to get the main points as well as detailed information.

Also, as Artificial Intelligence (AI) grows, the system could check a learner’s cloud-based learner profile to see their reading level or prior knowledge, any IEP’s on file, their learning preferences (audio, video, animations, etc.), etc. to further provide a personalized/customized learning experience. 

To recap:

  • “Textbooks” continue to be created by teams of specialists, but add specialists with knowledge of students with special needs as well as for gifted students. For example, a team could have experts within the field of Special Education to help create one of the overlays/or filters/lenses — i.e., to reword things. If the text was talking about how to hit a backhand or a forehand, the alternative text layer could be summed up to say that tennis is a sport…and that a sport is something people play. On the other end of the spectrum, the text could dive deeply into the various grips a person could use to hit a forehand or backhand.
  • This puts the power of offering differentiation at the point of content creation/development (differentiation could also be provided for at the delivery end, but again, time and expertise are likely not going to be there)
  • Publishers create “overlays” or various layers that can be turned on or off by the learners
  • Can see whole chapters or can see main ideas, topic sentences, and/or details. Like HTML tags for web pages.
  • Can instantly collapse chapters to main ideas/outlines.

 

 

Reflections on “Are ‘smart’ classrooms the future?” [Johnston]

Are ‘smart’ classrooms the future? — from campustechnology.com by Julie Johnston
Indiana University explores that question by bringing together tech partners and university leaders to share ideas on how to design classrooms that make better use of faculty and student time.

Excerpt:

To achieve these goals, we are investigating smart solutions that will:

  • Untether instructors from the room’s podium, allowing them control from anywhere in the room;
  • Streamline the start of class, including biometric login to the room’s technology, behind-the-scenes routing of course content to room displays, control of lights and automatic attendance taking;
  • Offer whiteboards that can be captured, routed to different displays in the room and saved for future viewing and editing;
  • Provide small-group collaboration displays and the ability to easily route content to and from these displays; and
  • Deliver these features through a simple, user-friendly and reliable room/technology interface.

Activities included collaborative brainstorming focusing on these questions:

  • What else can we do to create the classroom of the future?
  • What current technology exists to solve these problems?
  • What could be developed that doesn’t yet exist?
  • What’s next?

 

 

 

From DSC:
Though many peoples’ — including faculty members’ — eyes gloss over when we start talking about learning spaces and smart classrooms, it’s still an important topic. Personally, I’d rather be learning in an engaging, exciting learning environment that’s outfitted with a variety of tools (physically as well as digitally and virtually-based) that make sense for that community of learners. Also, faculty members have very limited time to get across campus and into the classroom and get things setup…the more things that can be automated in those setup situations the better!

I’ve long posted items re: machine-to-machine communications, voice recognition/voice-enabled interfaces, artificial intelligence, bots, algorithms, a variety of vendors and their products including Amazon’s Alexa / Apple’s Siri / Microsoft’s Cortana / and Google’s Home or Google Assistant, learning spaces, and smart classrooms, as I do think those things are components of our future learning ecosystems.

 

 

 

From DSC:
Ever notice how effective Ted Talks begin? They seek to instantly grab your attention with a zinger question, a somewhat shocking statement, an interesting story, a joke, an important problem or an issue, a personal anecdote or experience, a powerful image/photo/graphic, a brief demonstration, and the like.

Grabbing someone’s attention is a key first step in getting a piece of information into someone’s short-term memory — what I call getting through “the gate.” If we can’t get through the gate into someone’s short-term memory, we have zero (0) chance of having them actually process that information and to think about and engage with that piece of content. If we can’t make it into someone’s short-term memory, we can’t get that piece of information into their long-term memory for later retrieval/recall. There won’t be any return on investment (ROI) in that case.

 

 

So why not try starting up one of your classes this week with a zinger question, a powerful image/photo/video, or a story from your own work experience? I’ll bet you’ll grab your students’ attentions instantly! Then you can move on into the material for a greater ROI. From there, offering frequent, low-stakes quizzes will hopefully help your students slow down their forgetting curves and help them practice recalling/retrieving that information. By the way, that’s why stories are quite powerful. We often remember them better. So if you can weave an illustrative story into your next class, your students might really benefit from it come final test time!

Also relevant/see:

Ready, set, speak: 5 strong ways to start your next presentation — from abovethelaw.com by Olga Mack, with thanks to Mr. Otto Stockmeyer for this resource
No matter which of these five ways you decide to launch your presentation, ensure that you make it count, and make it memorable.

Excerpts:

  1. Tell a captivating story
  2. Ask thought-provoking questions to the audience
  3. State a shocking headline or statistic
  4. Use a powerful quote
  5. Use silence
    When delivering a speech, a pause of about three or even as many as 10 seconds will allow your audience to sit and quiet down. Because most people always expect the speaker to start immediately, this silence will thus catch the attention of the audience. They will be instinctively more interested in what you had to say, and why you took your time to say it. This time will also help you gather your nerves and prepare to speak.

 

 

 

100 things students can create to demonstrate what they know — from teachthought.com

Excerpt:

[Here] is a diverse list adapted from resources found at fortheteachers.org of potential student products or activities learners can use to demonstrate their mastery of lesson content. The list also offers several digital tools for students to consider using in a technology-enriched learning environment.

 

 

 

What is a learning ecosystem? And how does it support corporate strategy? [Eudy]

What is a learning ecosystem? And how does it support corporate strategy? — from ej4.com by Ryan Eudy

Excerpt:

learning ecosystem is a system of people, content, technology, culture, and strategy, existing both within and outside of an organization, all of which has an impact on both the formal and informal learning that goes on in that organization.

The word “ecosystem” is worth paying attention to here. It’s not just there to make the term sound fancy or scientific. A learning ecosystem is the L&D equivalent of an ecosystem out in the wild. Just as a living ecosystem has many interacting species, environments, and the complex relationships among them, a learning ecosystem has many people and pieces of content, in different roles and learning contexts, and complex relationships.

Just like a living ecosystem, a learning ecosystem can be healthy or sick, nurtured or threatened, self-sustaining or endangered. Achieving your development goals, then, requires an organization to be aware of its own ecosystem, including its parts and the internal and external forces that shape them.

 

From DSC:
Yes, to me, the concept/idea of a learning ecosystem IS important. Very important. So much so, I named this blog after it.

Each of us as individuals have a learning ecosystem, whether we officially recognize it or not. So do the organizations that we work for. And, like an ecosystem out in nature, a learning ecosystem is constantly morphing, constantly changing.

We each have people in our lives that help us learn and grow, and the people that were in our learning ecosystems 10 years ago may or may not still be in our current learning ecosystems. Many of us use technologies and tools to help us learn and grow. Then there are the spaces where we learn — both physical and virtual spaces. Then there are the processes and procedures we follow, formally and/or informally. Any content that helps us learn and grow is a part of that ecosystem. Where we get that content can change, but obtaining up-to-date content is a part of our learning ecosystems. I really appreciate streams of content in this regard — and tapping into blogs/websites, especially via RSS feeds and Feedly (an RSS aggregator that took off when Google Reader left the scene).

The article brings up a good point when it states that a learning ecosystem can be “healthy or sick, nurtured or threatened, self-sustaining or endangered.” That’s why I urge folks to be intentional about maintaining and, better yet, consistently enhancing their learning ecosystems. In this day and age where lifelong learning is now a requirement to remain in the workforce, each of us needs to be intentional in this regard.

 

 

U.S. L&D Report – Benchmark Your Workplace Learning  — from findcourses.com, via Alexander Caplan

Topics covered include:

  • L&D Benchmarking Survey: 2018
  • Virtual Reality: A New Reality for L&D
  • How to Promote a Learning Culture in Your Organization
  • How to Calculate Meaningful ROI for Workplace Learning

 

types of training offered to entry level, mid- and senior- level employees

 

 

types of technologies the learning and development group will use in 2018

 

Key takeaways from the U.S. L&D Report

 

 

Also see:

 

 

 

6 Reasons Blended Learning Works — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly

Excerpts:

6 reasons why blended learning is so effective in higher education:

  1. Improved instructional design
  2. Increased guidance & triggers
  3. Easier access to learning activities
  4. Individualized learning opportunities
  5. Increased engagement through social interaction
  6. Time on task

 


From DSC:
Notice the use of teams of specialists in the improved instructional design section:

  1. Improved instructional design. Blended courses (like online courses) may be more intentionally designed than face-to-face counterparts, if only because institutional initiatives for blended courses often involve instructional designers or educational technologists who support the faculty in a scheduled redesign process.

 


 

 

 

 

“Retrieval practice” is a learning strategy where we focus on getting information out. Through the act of retrieval, or calling information to mind, our memory for that information is strengthened and forgetting is less likely to occur. Retrieval practice is a powerful tool for improving learning without more technology, money, or class time.

On this website (and in our free Retrieval Practice Guide), we discuss how to use retrieval practice to improve learning. Established by nearly 100 years of research, retrieval practice is a simple and powerful technique to transform teaching and learning.

In order to improve learning, we must approach it through a new lens – let’s focus not on getting information “in,” but on getting information “out.”

 

 

What is retrieval practice?
Retrieval practice is a strategy in which bringing information to mind enhances and boosts learning. Deliberately recalling information forces us to pull our knowledge “out” and examine what we know.

For instance, recalling an answer to a science question improves learning to a greater extent than looking up the answer in a textbook. And having to actually recall and write down an answer to a flashcard improves learning more than thinking that you know the answer and flipping the card over prematurely.

Often, we think we’ve learned some piece of information, but we come to realize we struggle when we try to recall the answer. It’s precisely this “struggle” or challenge that improves our memory and learning – by trying to recall information, we exercise or strengthen our memory, and we can also identify gaps in our learning.

Note that cognitive scientists used to refer to retrieval practice as “the testing effect.” Prior research examined the fascinating finding that tests (or short quizzes) dramatically improve learning. More recently, researchers have demonstrated that more than simply tests and quizzes improve learning: flashcards, practice problems, writing prompts, etc. are also powerful tools for improving learning. 

Whether this powerful strategy is called retrieval practice or the testing effect, it is important to keep in mind that the act of pulling information “out” from our minds dramatically improves learning, not the tests themselves. In other words retrieval is the active process we engage in to boost learning; tests and quizzes are merely methods to promote retrieval.

 

 

Also on that site:

 

 

Learn more about this valuable book with our:

 

 

Also on that site:

 

 

Excerpt from the Interleaved Mathematics Practice guide (on page 8 of 13):

Interleaved practice gives students a chance to choose a strategy.
When practice problems are arranged so that consecutive problems cannot be solved by the same strategy, students are forced to choose a strategy on the basis of the problem itself. This gives students a chance to both choose and use a strategy.

Interleaved practice works.
In several randomized control studies, students who received mostly interleaved practice scored higher on a final test than did students who received mostly blocked practice.

 

 

 



From DSC:
Speaking of resources regarding learning…why don’t we have posters in all of our schools, colleges, community colleges, universities, vocational training centers, etc. that talk about the most effective strategies to learn about new things?



 

 

 

Research roundup: 4 new reports on what’s working for blended-learning practitioners — from christenseninstitute.org by Luis Flores

Excerpt:

At the start of the year, we published a blog post on interesting research from 2017 related to innovative approaches to school design. Even though we aren’t even half-way through 2018, there are already several insightful reports on blended and personalized learning from this year that are worth highlighting.

These reports examined various tools and approaches to implement blended and personalized learning models, as well as the potential impact these models could have on students and teachers. From examining how schools implemented their models sustainably to recommending methods to best support teachers, these are informative reports for anyone interested in implementing blended and personalized learning models in their schools.

1. Digital math tool produces gains in student achievement
2. Personalized learning can be implemented sustainably
3. PD-rich blended-learning plans increase chances of success
4. Ensure that teachers create, and design strategies for, their goals

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
The simpler something is, the greater chance that it will be adopted. Think of HTML and how simple it was years ago for people to create and post their own web pages. I would argue that it was that level of simplicity that lead to the explosive growth of the World Wide Web. 

So when we look at what the term “flipped learning” or the “flipped classroom” is all about these days, I think we need to be careful that things don’t get too complex. Consider the growing complexity of the flipped classroom out at flr.flglobal.org/?p=417

Version 1.0 was easy to understand and therefore to implement. But Version 3.0 looks far less clear as to what we’re even talking about now. We need to find ways to keep it simple, if that’s possible. I realize that teaching and learning is messy, so I’m not sure it’s always possible to practice the KISS principle when we’re talking about pedagogies. But if we don’t try, we’ll have a harder time getting adoption in the future — because Instructional Designers, Teachers, Trainers, and Professors won’t even know what we’re talking about.

 

 

 

Robert Talbert gets at some of this too in his posting entitled, “Four challenges for flipped learning for the next five years.”  Below is an excerpt from that posting:

1. Build a standard operational definition of flipped learning.
One of the biggest challenges facing flipped learning is simply defining what it is. Several competing definitions, all with some overlap but also with nagging differences, are in use today, and this is making it all but impossible to conduct or interpret research on flipped learning or practice it with students. It’s to the point that if you hear an instructor say she uses “flipped learning”, you have to dig deeper to know what she really means.

So as the first challenge, and as a prerequisite to the others, I propose that somehow, we all come up with an operational definition of flipped learning that can serve as the standard for research and practice. I’ve already proposed my own. I’m not saying this should be the standard, but I think something like this could be the starting point. How will “we” decide on a standard, and who’s the “we”? I don’t know, but I think it will involve some group of people a high profile to lead the discussion and decide on one, and then start using it and labeling it as “the standard definition”.

Can other people use models of flipped learning, such as the in-class flipped model, that don’t conform to a standard definition? Sure. Who’s going to stop them? But we need a starting point

 

 

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