Tuesday, February 23, 2016

CMU's Simon Interactive Online Learning Approach

September 14, 2015
Carnegie Mellon University

However, a study published in the Proceedings of the Second (2015) ACM Conference on Learning @ Scale shows that  interactive activities advocated by Carnegie Mellon University's Simon Initiative helps students learn about six times more than watching video lectures.

CMU's Simon Initiative approach uses CMU's Open Learning Initiative (OLI) courses, which are built to mimic intelligent tutors and they provide adaptive feedback and hints during learning by doing.

Learning by doing gives students deliberative practice opportunities to address a course's objectives students get immediate feedback. If they do not master a concept, they have to go back to re-watch or re-read and then demonstrate they have learned before they are able to move on.

A study  compared two uses of an Introduction to Psychology as a Science class: 18,645 students took it as a MOOC only, while 9,075 enrolled in it as a combined MOOC and Simon OLI course. Eleven weekly quizzes and a final exam were given to all students.

First, the researchers compared how each group's students performed on the final exam. MOOC-only students had an average score of 57 percent, and the MOOC and OLI students averaged 66 percent. The difference is  significant and the difference remains after adjusting for other contributors to student success including their prior educational background and their incoming psychology knowledge.

Then, the team investigated how different patterns of student use corresponded with different student learning outcomes. They found that while more watching, reading and doing all predict better learning outcomes, the amount of learning associated with each activity done was six times greater than for each video watched or page read.

Most of MOOCs' attention has been on scaling teaching -- making lectures available to more people,  More attention needs to be now  placed on  learning by doing that is well-aligned with outcomes and assessments.

Carnegie Mellon University. "Learning is not a spectator sport: Students learn 6 times more with CMU's Simon Initiative approach than with MOOCs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 September 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150914220526.htm>.

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