Online Classes, Obtain By Doing Instead Of Watching

Photo: http://www.minotstateu.edu/profiles/profile_122.shtml

People everywhere are questioning the true effect of online learning and if the students are able to truly obtain and comprehend the information that is given to them.  Thanks to Georgia Institute of Technology and their blog, regarding a test they ran in order to determine the amount of information students could obtain/comprehend two different types of online learning. MOOC was put to the test against a version that combined the MOOC along with the interactive materials that were produced by Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative. When students enroll into MOOCs, it is expected for them to continuously watch  large amounts of video lectures. According to a study run by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, students watching low engaging or low interactive videos is considered to be a very ineffective way to learn. To truly find out who’s way was better a test had to be created.

The test started with a large amount and variety of students that were all assigned up to eleven weekly quizzes and one final exam. The students that were in only the MOOC course, ended up scoring an average of %57 on the final exam. The students that were in the combined MOOC course scored an average of %66 on the final exam. Though, that is not the only area where the true difference between the two was shown. The students from both courses completed an interactive activity, producing results much greater than expected. The students in the combined course were able learned six times as much as those who were left to only read the material or watch videos.

The question was raised, what is it that really caused difference between the two? The answer to that is quite simple. According to Mr. Koedinger, “when students listen to a lecture or read text, it is easy for them to feel confident that they know the material.” But, without even trying to replicate what it is that they learned in the lectures or receiving feedback on the work the have produced, they won’t ever know when they are making a mistake.

According to Anant Agarwal, chief executive of  online-education company edX, said that its courses already have the types of interactive activities along with instant feedback that was described by the researchers. A green check mark will appear whenever the students, in edX courses,  complete interactive exercises so they know that they have done everything correctly. But Mr. Koedinger thinks differently and that online-education companies such as edX and Coursera could be doing a lot more. To find out what recommendations Mr. Koedinger has for these companies and how you can improve your online course experience, click 0n the link at the top.