Category: Teaching

Understand in learning objectives – it’s the forest, not the trees

If you’re a faculty member, you can probably tell me all about the first time an instructional designer said to you “You can’t use the word ‘understand’ in a learning objective.” And it probably made you mad. The oft-cited reason to avoid “understand” is because “You can’t measure it.” And this is where I’d like to take issue with Instructional Design 101.  Can you always measure an “understand” learning objective? No. Can you sometimes measure an “understand” learning objective? Yes. And it really comes down to the definition you use. understand: mental comprehension of a topic understand: demonstrated comprehension...

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Group Exploration in Math

I am often asked how to get learners to spend more time “exploring” in their learning rather than just recalling or responding to specific prompts for information. Exploration of the learning space is particularly important because learners find the interesting nooks and crannies of the concepts that they would not otherwise discover. Let me share an example. Yesterday in class we needed to spend more time on exponential functions. I began class by displaying a graph of y=2^x and asking the class specific questions like “The graph of an exponential function has an asymptote, where is it?” Only to...

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Learning at Scale Slides from ICTCM

Learning at Scale: Using Research To Improve Learning Practices and Technology for Teaching Math In the last 5 years, there has been a rise in what we might call “large-scale digital learning experiments.”  These take the form of centralized courses, vendor-created courseware, online homework systems, MOOCs, and free-range learning platforms. If we mine the research, successes, and failures coming out of these experiments, what can we discover about designing better digital learning experiences and technology for the learning of mathematics? Learning at Scale: Using Research To Improve Learning Practices and Technology for Teaching Math from Maria Andersen   Possibly...

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Clickety Click Click: Awful Measures for Learning

I feel a little inspired by Sam Ford’s post The Year We Talk About Our Awful Metrics. Ford writes about the need for change in metrics of online media publications, but we could just as easily be discussing the metrics of learning management systems, ed-tech vendor platforms, and institutional analytics. Ford argues that we need to “get serious” about better forms of measurement in 2017. As long as we are measuring metrics with little meaning, we aren’t really improving learning. Let me give you a few examples to illustrate the similar problems in education. Page Clicks As in, how many pages...

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The Importance of Findability for Learners

How do you feel when you go to find information on a website, and you just can’t find it? This happens to me all the time when I want to find out what some new ed-tech wonder product does, and I visit the website and can’t see any screenshots, any descriptions, or any videos of the product in action. I find it incredibly frustrating and this story generally ends by me giving up on even signing up for a trial. The same thing happens to students when they go to find information and it is buried in a non-sensical...

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