Government Elearning! Magazine

FALL 2016

Elearning! Magazine: Building Smarter Companies via Learning & Workplace Technologies.

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40 Fall 2016 Government Elearning! 2 sigma sigma educational educational institution. is form of teach- institution. is form of teach- ing ing was established as the baseline control was established as the baseline control group group for his study. for his study. Mastery learning is a bit different than than typical classroom training. This typical classroom training. This method method of instruction was first defined of instruction was first defined by by Bloom in 1968, and it was used in Bloom in 1968, and it was used in class class sizes of 20 to 30 students. It speci- sizes of 20 to 30 students. It speci- fied fied that the students as a group must that the students as a group must achieve achieve a level of mastery of 90-percent a level of mastery of 90-percent on on a knowledge test, before the class a knowledge test, before the class moved moved on to subsequent topics. on to subsequent topics. Tutoring is a one-to-one teaching method method where a good tutor is assigned to where a good tutor is assigned to each each student (or in some cases, the tutor student (or in some cases, the tutor is is assigned to work with a small group of assigned to work with a small group of two two or three students, who are then taught or three students, who are then taught simultaneously). simultaneously). ese students were ese students were individually individually taught, and measured with taught, and measured with formative formative tests and feedback-corrective tests and feedback-corrective procedures procedures similar to the tests and pre- similar to the tests and pre- scriptive scriptive solutions used in mastery learn- solutions used in mastery learn- ing ing classes. It should be noted however, classes. It should be noted however, that that the need for corrective work was the need for corrective work was minimal minimal using this teaching methodology, using this teaching methodology, according according to Bloom. to Bloom. When compared with the control group — the conventional classroom — the re- sults were very significant. e average student who was taught using the tutoring method performed higher than 98 percent of the students who were trained via the conventional classroom. at was two stan- dard deviations, or sigmas, higher. us the naming of the "2 Sigma Problem" came into being. But it is also noteworthy that even the average student taught using the mas- tery learning methodology performed one standard deviation above those students taught in the conventional classroom environment. That was still 84-percent above the students in the conventional classroom. So armed with the knowledge of the ab- solute best way to teach, we're now turning to EdTech in our search for solutions to the 2 Sigma Problem. In turn, that search is fueling a lot of investment speculation but not with the inside knowledge that Bloom's study provides. Many educational outliers have already started to solve the problem with technol- ogy — many with only their gut instinct leading the way. When one thinks about mastery learning and the use of educational mastery learning and the use of educational technology, he or she should think of Sal Khan and the Khan Academy. Khan was the evangelist who pointed to the short- comings of the "keep-on-going" classroom model. Sal knew intuitively that students learn at different rates, so why should every student be expected to keep up with on predefined learning pace? Khan Academy's video learning snip- pets help to solve that problem. If a student doesn't understand a lesson, he or she can continue to retake that lesson, until he or she finally masters that particular topic. is teaching methodology continues to be a very successful approach for millions of Khan Academy students, and it approxi- mates the mastery learning teaching meth- odology. Perhaps the only missing piece is to provide each student with a forum where to provide each student with a forum where additional clarity on a specific topic can be found. If the same video is watched four or five times, chances are that a fih review is not going to help the student understand the concept being covered. at's why tu- toring has an advantage over both the con- ventional ventional classroom and mastery learning classroom and mastery learning teaching methods. Many people have come forward to tell how their lives were changed by Khan Academy's approach to learning. In turn, e "keep on going" conventional classroom pace [is] too fast for one-third of the class, too slow for another and about right for the remaining third.

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