Government Elearning! Magazine

FALL 2016

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

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Government Elearning! Fall 2016 41 this this is a great testimonial for how we can is a great testimonial for how we can use use simple, existing technology to help simple, existing technology to help solve solve at least the first leg of this battle, at least the first leg of this battle, the the mastery learning teaching methodol- mastery learning teaching methodol- ogy. ogy. Kahn's work has helped to throw the Kahn's work has helped to throw the whole whole e-learning industry into high gear. e-learning industry into high gear. Kahn Kahn understood the mastery learning understood the mastery learning pedagogy, pedagogy, intuitively, and he used You- intuitively, and he used You- Tube Tube technology and simple e-learning technology and simple e-learning teaching teaching and illustration tools to enable and illustration tools to enable his his solution. solution. is same level of mastery would be very very difficult in a conventional classroom, difficult in a conventional classroom, without without the use of technology. You would the use of technology. You would have have to focus your pace on the slowest to focus your pace on the slowest learner, learner, by topic, to avoid leaving learners by topic, to avoid leaving learners behind, behind, which isn't fair to fast learners. So which isn't fair to fast learners. So the the solution has always defaulted to the solution has always defaulted to the "keep-on-going" "keep-on-going" conventional classroom conventional classroom pace pace that's too fast for one-third of the that's too fast for one-third of the class, class, too slow for another third, and about too slow for another third, and about right right for the remaining third. for the remaining third. ese classroom shortcomings have caught caught the attention of many political lead- the attention of many political lead- ers ers and that added attention and discus- and that added attention and discus- sion sion is also fueling the EdTech investment is also fueling the EdTech investment space, space, as the industry seeks to find better as the industry seeks to find better answers answers to improve teaching and learning. to improve teaching and learning. Better solutions can be created if we think think through our solutions a bit more through our solutions a bit more carefully, carefully, armed with work like Bloom per- armed with work like Bloom per- formed. formed. Just because we can do something Just because we can do something with with technology, doesn't mean that it's go- technology, doesn't mean that it's go- ing ing to work immediately. to work immediately. Consider how a live MOOC (Massive Open Open Online Course) operates. Isn't that Online Course) operates. Isn't that simply simply the classroom model on techno- the classroom model on techno- logical logical steroids? One-to-thousands seems steroids? One-to-thousands seems to to completely sidestep the need for the completely sidestep the need for the one-to-one one-to-one tutoring that really helps stu- tutoring that really helps stu- dents dents thrive. Could this lack of individual- thrive. Could this lack of individual- ized ized attention be one of the elements that attention be one of the elements that added added to the high dropout rate? at's to the high dropout rate? at's likely likely the case. the case. MOOC providers and proponents are are figuring it out. Micro-credentialing figuring it out. Micro-credentialing is is probably the biggest incentive for a probably the biggest incentive for a student student to continue in a MOOC course. to continue in a MOOC course. That That credential is useful for résumés and credential is useful for résumés and lays lays the groundwork in case a series of the groundwork in case a series of MOOC MOOC courses can be used toward an courses can be used toward an eventual eventual degree. If the student signs up degree. If the student signs up to to learn a particular skill that propels learn a particular skill that propels him him or her into a new career, like the or her into a new career, like the initial initial app development courses offered app development courses offered in in MOOCs, then the need for credential- MOOCs, then the need for credential- ing is not as strong. But what we have observed is that the industry is adding hundreds of courses, just to show that they have a full and robust set of offer- ings. That is where the micro-credential can play a role. Otherwise, a student is likely to drop a course if he or she doesn't likely to drop a course if he or she doesn't feel it's germane to their personal needs. If they at least can point to a certificate, then that might be worth keeping up with it. Another solution is the notion of massive Another solution is the notion of massive office hours. Although this can be a very effective approach, there are other options. Udemy, uses a large base of instructors to teach an equally large range of courses. ese courses run the gamut from photog- raphy to web development, languages, and even so skills like management best prac- tices. ere are practically no restrictions on topic matter, so Udemy is addressing the general marketplace for consumers and professionals. Udemy puts a lot of the responsibility on the instructors to provide that one-to- one support when a student gets stuck. It utilizes a text-based question and answer capability throughout each course that directs questions to the instructor for that particular course, which can put a lot of pressure on instructors. But the in- structors actually do take on that added role, to avoid receiving a bad course rating from a student. Several bad rat- ings will ultimately affect their sales for any given course so there's an inherent reward for doing the extra one-on-one mentoring. That coupled with the fact that the course is already developed and delivered electronically, the instructor's time is actually freed up to provide that additional tutoring. As more questions are asked and answered, they become a database of knowledge that the rest of the students can access. The more savvy instructors use those questions to revise their courses going forward, thus pre- venting venting the same questions from being the same questions from being asked. It can take students 24 to 72 hours to receive an answer, and it may not be one that clicks immediately. The notion starts to change the in- structor's role: "If I don't have to teach every day, then I guess my role is going to move more toward the tutoring and mentoring side of the equation." But as instructors, we like that scenario — right? Consider the flipped classroom where students listen to recorded video lectures at night and then spend the class time implementing and discussing what they learned. That has proven to be an excellent teaching methodology, more fun for everyone, and a good use of video technology (read EdTech) to help address technology (read EdTech) to help address the one-on-one tutoring benefits. It looks like Udemy and Udacity are both trying to improve on the one-to-many model by using partners and formal call-in centers that are continuously staffed. Ud- emy announced in December 2015 that it was creating a partnership with Codemen- tor to provide one-on-one live tutoring for its coding classes. Udacity had already introduced a call center team to provide coaching for their technical offerings back in 2013 and even relied on text chat, video calls, and even phone calls to solve the one- to-one tutoring problem. e downside of the call center approach to tutoring will be whether the people providing that coaching understand the course's content, as well as the instructor's method of teaching. at becomes part of the requirement to provide this type of tu- toring solution. ere are a lot of other solutions starting to take shape in the peer collaboration, re- Micro-credentialing is probably the biggest incentive for a student to continue in a MOOC course.

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