Harvard researchers: frequent tests increase retention in online learning — from elearningindustry.com by Andrew Winner

Excerpt:

A pair of researchers at Harvard University think they’ve got part of the answer. In a study run by Daniel Schacter, the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Psychology, and Karl Szpunar, a postdoctoral fellow in psychology, they found that interspersing short quizzes into online learning course can dramatically increase student retention of material.

 

My reflections on “MOOCs of Hazard” – a well-thought out, balanced article by Andrew Delbanco


From DSC: Below are my reflections on MOOCs of Hazard — from newrepublic.com by Andrew Delbanco — who asks:  Will online education dampen the college experience? Yes. Will it be worth it? Well…


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While I’m not sure that I agree with the idea that online education will dampen the college experience — and while I could point to some amazing capabilities that online education brings to the table in terms of true global exchanges — I’ll instead focus my comments on the following items:

 

1) Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are recent experiments — ones that will continue to change/morph into something else.
They are half-baked at best, but they should not be taken lightly. Christensen, Horn, Johnson are spot on with their theories of disruption here, especially as they relate to innovations occurring within the virtual/digital realm.  For example, the technologies behind IBM’s Watson could be mixed into the list of ingredients that will be used to develop MOOCs in the future.  It would be a very powerful, effective MOOC indeed if you could get the following parties/functionalities to the table:

  • IBM — to provide Watson like auto-curation/filtering capabilities, artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, as well as data mining/learning analytics expertise, joined by
  • Several highly-creative firms from the film/media/novel/storytelling industry, who would be further joined by
  • Experts from Human Computer Interaction (HCI)/user interface/user experience design teams, who would be further joined by
  • Programmers and interaction specialists from educational gaming endeavors (and from those who can design simulations), joined by
  • Instructional designers, joined by
  • The appropriate Subject Matter Experts who can be reached by the students as necessary, joined by
  • Those skilled in research and library services, joined by
  • Legal experts to assist with copyright issues, joined by
  • Other specialists in mobile learning,  3D, web development, database administration, animation, graphic design, musicians, etc.

It won’t be long before this type of powerful team gets pulled together — from some organizations(s) with deep pockets — and the content is interacted with and presented to us within our living rooms via connected/Smart TVs and via second screen devices/applications.

2) The benefits of MOOCs
  • For colleges/universities:
    • MOOCs offer some serious marketing horsepower (rather than sound pedagogical tools, at this point in time at least)
    • They are forcing higher ed to become much more innovative
    • They provide great opportunities to build one’s personalized learning networks, as they bring forth those colleagues who are interested in topic A, B, or C
    • They move us closer to team-based content creation and delivery
      .
  • For students:
    • They offer a much less expensive option to go exploring disciplines for themselves…to see if they enjoy (and/or are gifted in) topic A, B or C
    • They provide great opportunities to build one’s personalized learning networks, as they bring forth those colleagues who are interested in topic A, B, or C
    • They provide a chance to see what it’s like to learn about something in a digital/virtual manner

3)  The drawbacks of MOOCs:
  • MOOCs are not nearly the same thing as what has come to be known as “online learning” — at least in the higher ed industry. MOOCs do not yet offer what more “traditional” (can I say that?) online learning provides: Far more support and pedagogical/instructional design, instructor presence and dialog, student academic support services, advising, more student-to-student and student-to-faculty interaction, etc.
    .
  • MOOCs are like drinking from a firehose — there are too many blogs/RSS feeds, twitter feeds, websites, and other resources to review.

4) It would be wise for all of us to be involved with such experiments and have at least a subset of one’s college or university become much more nimble/responsive.

 

Also see:

4 tips for creating a Sal Khan-style instruction video…from Sal Khan — from fastcompany.com by Anya Kamenetz

Excerpt:

  • Keep things conversational. Emotionless is bad. Don’t talk over your audience’s head, or talk down to them either. “Not even a 6-year-old likes to be talked to like a 6-year-old.”
  • Use visuals and colors–but not too fancy. Khan favors hand-drawn diagrams.
  • Prepare carefully, then speak from your heart. Khan will sometimes write a script and throw it away. He’ll spend an hour walk figuring out how best to visualize a concept, then represent it in a quick sketch.
  • Keep it short. 10 minutes tops. Chunk down a larger concept into smaller pieces, to keep your audience hooked.

From DSC:
THIS is what it could look like if students OWNED their own learning and could pursue their own passions! — A powerful piece!
Well worth your time if you are involved with — or concerned about — education in any way, shape, or form.

The video starts off with this troubling/deep assertion by a student (which I’m sure varies in actuality across the board):

  • “It’s crazy that…in a system that is meant to teach…and to help the youth, there is NO voice from the youth at all.”

 

IfStudentsDesignedTheirOwnSchools-March2013

 

From DSC:
A few radical — but powerful ideas — to help students OWN their own learning (something that they will need for the rest of their lives):

  • More choice, more control
  • Research what you want to research — “The most important thing about your question is that you ACTUALLY  WANT to know the answer.”
  • Students pursue their own passions — be that an interest in music, art, science, aviation, or in another discipline.
  • Student present their findings to each other — which involves more of a team-based approach (i.e. peer pressure in a positive way here, strongly encouraging each other to do their best work so as not to let others down)
  • Peer evaluation
  • No quizzes
  • No grades
  • Often no adults in the room; if adults are there, they are acting more as guides and facilitators
  • Multiple types of “assignments”/activities — some individualistic, some group work, some long-term

A couple of questions kept running through the back of my mind:

  • Did they hand select these particular students for this program?
  • If so, what were the predominant characteristics of those students?

 

 

With that said, this is a very powerful piece — well worth your time to check out.

 

 

Instructional design: from “packaging” to “scaffolding” — from c4lpt.co.uk by Jane Hart

 

soccap

 

Excerpt:

In my recent posts, The changing role of L&D: from “packaging” to “scaffolding” plus “social capability building” and  Towards the Connected L&D Department I wrote about the need to move from a focus on “packaging” training to “scaffolding” learning,  and I said I would talk more about what “scaffolding” looks like. For me, this is the key way for workplace learning professionals to move the learning industry into the future. In this post I’m going to look at “instructional scaffolding” but in subsequent posts, I will consider “scaffolding performance support & team collaboration” in the workplace  as well as “scaffolding professional learning“.

From DSC:
Some very frustrated reflections after reading:

Excerpt:

Right now, boys are falling out of the kindergarten through 12th grade educational pipeline in ways that we can hardly imagine.

 

This situation continues to remind me of the oil spill in the Gulf (2010), where valuable resources spilled into the water untapped — later causing some serious issues:
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From DSC:
What are we doing?!!! We’ve watched the dropout rates grow — it doesn’t seem we’ve changed our strategies nearly enough! But the point that gets lost in this is that we will all pay for these broken strategies — and for generations to come!  It’s time to seriously move towards identifying and implementing some new goals.

What should the new goals look like? Here’s my take on at least a portion of a new vision for K-12 — and collegiate — education:

  • Help students identify their God-given gifts and then help them build up their own learning ecosystems to support the development of those gifts. Hook them up with resources that will develop students’ abilities and passions.
    .
  • Part of their learning ecosystems could be to help them enter into — and build up — communities of practice around subjects that they enjoy learning about. Those communities could be local, national, or international. (Also consider the creation of personalized learning agents, as these become more prevalent/powerful.)
    .
  • Do everything we can to make learning enjoyable and foster a love of learning — as we need lifelong learners these days.
    (It doesn’t help society much if students are dropping out of K-12 or if people struggle to make it through graduation — only to then harbor ill feelings towards learning/education in general for years to come.  Let’s greatly reduce the presence/usage of standardized tests — they’re killing us!  They don’t seem to be producing long-term positive results. I congratulate the recent group of teachers who refused to give their students such tests; and I greatly admire them for getting rid of a losing strategy.)

    .
  • Give students more choice, more control over what their learning looks like; let them take their own paths as much as possible (provide different ways to meet the same learning objective is one approach…but perhaps we need to think beyond/bigger than that. The concern/fear arises…but how will we manage this? That’s where a good share of our thinking should be focused; generating creative answers to that question.)
    .
  • Foster curiosity and wonder
    .
  • Provide cross-disciplinary assignments/opportunities
    .
  • Let students work on/try to resolve real issues in their communities
    .
  • Build up students’ appreciation of faith, hope, love, empathy, and a desire to make the world a better place. Provide ways that they can contribute.
    .
  • Let students experiment more — encourage failure.
    .

 

ASTD TechKnowledge 2013 Conference Backchannel: Curated Resources — from David Kelly

Excerpt:

I am a huge proponent of backchannel learning.  There are many conferences I would love to be able to attend, but my budget can only accommodate one or two each year.  The backchannel is an excellent resource for learning from a conference or event that you are unable to attend in-person.

Also see David’s posting:

What if the hokey-cokey really is what it’s all about? Social networking & psychology of learning — from Donald Clark

Excerpt:

Psychology of learning in 5 words
What makes good learning practice? Well, I always think the psychology of learning can be summed up in three wordsless is more’. You could add another two ‘…and often’. There’s a number of established and well researched ways to improve memory and therefore learning:

How NOT to design a MOOC: The disaster at Coursera and how to fix it — from onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com by Debbie Morrison

Excerpt/update:

Note: I’m also enrolled in Coursera’s E-learning and Digital Cultures, with University of Edinburgh, which is so far excellent.  What I wrote in this post is exclusive to the course Fundamentals  of Online Education: Planning and ApplicationI also completed Introduction to Sociology, through Coursera last year which was quite good.

Update:  This course is  now ‘suspended’. Participants received this email February 2,  at 4:17 pm (PST).  “We want all students to have the highest quality learning experience. For this reason, we are temporarily suspending the “Fundamentals of Online Education: Planning and Application” course in order to make improvements. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause. We will inform you when the course will be reoffered.”

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From DSC:
There will be many more disasters I’m sure. But as with learning, failure is to be expected (some would say mandatory) and learning is messy. This is especially true when technological change and innovation are moving at ever-increasing speeds.

The questions that comes to my mind after reading this are:

  • We still need to experiment — but how do we experiment with MOOCs on a smaller scale?
  • How can we keep things manageable?
  • Can bloggers help in sharing what’s working and what’s not? (Like Debbie did.)

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The pace has changed -- don't come onto the track in a Model T

 

 

Mayer & Clark – 10 brilliant design rules for e-learning — from Donald Clark

Excerpt:

Richard Mayer and Ruth Clark are among the foremost researchers in the empirical testing of media and media mix hypotheses in online learning. Their e-Learning and the Science of Instruction (2003) covers seven design principles; multimedia, contiguity, modality, redundancy, coherence, personalisation, and practice opportunities. Clear explanations are given about the risks of ignoring these principles – with support from worked examples and case study challenges. It should be a compulsory text for online learning designers.

ScreenChampsAwards-Techsmith2012

 

Excerpt:

Description:

Enter up to three (3) screencast videos. Videos will be assigned a category based on the information you provide (so please be as detailed as possible!). Categories are: Education (videos with a focus on teaching and/or schools, at any level); Tutorial/Training (videos with a focus on training or tutorial content); Sales and Marketing (videos made to sell or persuade); and Wildcard (videos that don’t fit in the previous categories).

Don’t throw the baby out with the multiple-choice bath water — from elearninguncovered.com by Diane Elkins

Excerpt:

Multiple-choice questions are often maligned by instructional designers. I’ve heard the following at conferences.

  • “Multiple-choice questions don’t measure anything.”
  • “It’s too easy to guess them.”
  • “Real life doesn’t have multiple-choice questions, so why should our course?”
Tagged with:  

From DSC:
I understand that Mr. George Lucas is going to express his generosity in donating the $4.05 billion from the sale of Lucasfilm to education.

Here’s a question/idea that I’d like to put forth to Mr. Lucas (or to the United States Department of Education, or to another interested/committed party):

Would you consider using the $4+ billion gift to build an “Online Learning Dream Team?”

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Daniel Christian -- The Online Learning Dream Team - as of November 2012

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 Original image credit (before purchased/edited by DSC)
yobro10 / 123RF Stock Photo

 

 

From DSC:
What do you think? What other “players” — technologies, vendors, skillsets, etc. — should be on this team?

  • Perhaps videography?
  • Online tutoring?
  • Student academic services?
  • Animation?
  • Digital photography?

 

ADDIE must die! — from knowledgestarblog.wordpress.com by David Grebow

Excerpt:

What’s Missing?
As I read over this list, I kept missing some simple questions. Here are just a few:

  • What is the real problem and will it still be a problem by the time we [are] finished with the training program?
  • Does this help produce a learning experience that is social?
  • Will the program enable a community of learners who can be in contact after the program?
  • What is the best solution? Are we taking ALL the ways people can learn into account?
  • Does the solution really call for a training program? Would other approaches work as well if not better?
  • Will a passing test score mean people really learned how-to do something?
  • Does the solution relate directly to my business goals?
  • How can I measure the results?  Improved performance? Faster time-to-performance? More sales? More successful innovation?

Using ADDIE the answer was more often than not a resounding “NO”.

There’s another model for learning that asks more appropriate questions, and works for Enterprise 2.0 programs.

I’ll cover it in Part Two: The Better Learning Model

 

From DSC:
David brings up some excellent points in his 10/17/12 posting above. 

What gets me here is why, after having just graduated w/ my Masters in Instructional Design for Online Learning in June 2011, was ADDIE the most predominantly taught Instructional Design (ID) model throughout the entire program?  What the (*@%^^?   How long does it take to get new thinking/new models into our education-related programs? (Sebastian Thrun asked a similar question in his recent keynote address at the 18th Annual Sloan Consortium Conference on Online Learning:  “Why haven’t Colleges of Education contacted him about what’s working with Udacity!?!”  Why did 170 of his face-to-face students opt to take his more game-like online-based course?)

Phrases popping into my mind:

  • Streams of content
  • Communities of practice
  • Communities of inquiry
  • Real-time, training on demand
  • Informal learning
  • Staying relevant
  • Reinventing ourselves
  • Engagement

 

 

 

 

Writing multiple choice questions for higher order thinking — from theelearningcoach.com by Connie Malamed

Excerpt:

One of the biggest criticisms of multiple choice questions is that they only test factual knowledge. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can also use multiple choice questions to assess higher-order thinking.

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Also see:

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