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One of the topics we cover in E-Learning 3.0 us the transition from document-based culture to data-based culture. This article explores that transition. It identifies "seven of the most prominent takeaways from conversations we’ve had with these and other executives who are at the data-culture fore." It presents data as a trool for making decisions, the democratizing effect of data, data as an element in risk management, data as an enterprise's "crown jewel" asset, and the link between data and management and talent.Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]
Recently I’ve been doing both more thinking and more roll-up-your-sleeves working on continuous improvement of OER. Below I’m cross-posting two short pieces on this topic I recently published on Lumen’s site (here and here).
Improvement in post secondary education will require converting teaching from a solo sport to a community-based research activity. (Herbert A. Simon, 1986)
The faculty Lumen work with carry an enormous workload. Some have research, grant writing, and publication responsibilities in addition to teaching their courses. Some teach five or six courses per semester. Some have committee assignments and additional service responsibilities. Some drive across town several times per day as they try to string adjunct appointments at three institutions together into a career that pays the rent. All of our faculty have expertise in their discipline. Few have formal training in teaching or learning.
Herbert Simon, quoted above, was an “above average” faculty member. He won both the Turing Award for his work in computer science and the Nobel Prize for his work in economics. But even he realized that we can’t expect individual faculty to stay at the cutting edges of their discipline, teaching and learning practice, educational research, and the ever-changing technologies that can be used in the service of learning. This is why Simon called for us to come together as a community – there are countless ways in which education needs to be improved, and no one person, institution, or organization has the time or expertise to do it all alone. We need each other.
The role Lumen is choosing to play in the community working to improve education is to enable and empower learners and faculty with highly effective learning materials that become more effective every semester. And this process of making OER more effective every semester – also known as “continuous improvement” – is where we see some of the most exciting opportunities to collaborate with faculty.
Continuous improvement is an iterative cycle. In the case of OER, the continuous improvement cycle involves:
- Creating or selecting OER for use in your course,
- Instrumenting the OER for measurement,
- Measuring the effectiveness of OER in supporting student learning,
- Identifying areas where student learning was not effectively supported,
- Making changes to the learning design of the OER in those underperforming areas, and
- Beginning the cycle again.
Developed with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Lumen’s Waymaker courses are designed specifically to support this continuous improvement process, and we have been refining our process for several years in collaboration with a small group of faculty. You can see an example of the difference in OER before and after we applied this internal continuous improvement process here:
While we’re still refining the tools we’ve created to support this work, we are now eager to open our continuous improvement process to all faculty members, with the goal of making it a genuinely community-based research activity. Here’s what we’re doing this fall:
- We have analyzed data from Spring 2018 to empirically determine which learning outcomes students struggled with the most in five Waymaker courses. (Learn more about this process in this accompanying blog post.)
- For each course, we have published a collection of “Learning Challenges Leaderboards” listing the learning outcomes students struggled with the most, together with links to the OER that didn’t adequately support student learning.
We invite you to engage with us in a community-based continuous improvement process. We’re calling this initiative RISE & Shine. RISE is the analysis that identifies which content needs work (you can read more about RISE here). Once we’ve identified that content, we invite faculty to Shine by contributing their expertise to the improvement of OER.
You can participate by taking one or more of these steps:
- Raise your hand. Complete this form to let us know you’d like to be part of conversations about improving learning with OER. We’ll share Learning Challenges updates and include you in what’s happening in your discipline.
- Reflect. Look at the Learning Challenges Leaderboard in your discipline. Think about what you do to make learning better for your students as you’re tackling these challenging topics, and compare that with the approach taken in the aligned OER. How would you do things differently?
- Share ideas. Have ideas about how we should make the OER supporting these difficult topics more effective? Share them here.
- Share improvements. Do you have a short video, an interactive activity, an edited version of the existing OER, or any other improved content you’ve developed to improve your students’ understanding? If so, submit them using this form. Whenever your contributions are included in Lumen course materials, your work is attributed. And you’ll be able to see the effect your contributions have on student learning in the next semester’s Learning Challenges Leaderboard update.
At Lumen we’re serious about making improving education a community-based research activity. That’s why we collaborate with faculty throughout the course improvement process, openly license the improvements we make to content, publish our continuous improvement frameworks in open access journals, and open source many of the tools we create to support our continuous improvement efforts.
However, we’re just one company. Truly transforming education will require more people and organizations to adopt a continuous improvement mindset. Given the amount of effort and the range of expertise required to engage in continuous improvement, Simon’s admonition to do this work collaboratively resonates with us as being deeply true.
We hope you’ll become part of this community-based effort with us.
The potential of the “data revolution” in teaching and learning, just as in other sectors, is to create much more timely feedback loops for tracking the effectiveness of a complex system. In a field where feedback is already well established as a vital process for both students and educators, the question is how this potential can be realized through effective human-computer systems (Buckingham Shum and McKay, 2018).
Open educational resources (OER) are educational materials whose copyright licensing grants everyone free permission to engage in the 5R activities, including making changes to the materials and sharing those updated materials with others. Consequently, everyone who wants to continuously improve OER has permission to do so. (Not so with traditionally copyrighted materials, whose licensing allows only the rightsholder to alter and improve the content.) Permission to make changes is a necessary – but not sufficient – condition for continuous improvement.
In addition to permission to make changes, improvement requires a capacity for measurement. We can say we’ve changed OER without measuring the impact of those changes, but we can only say we’ve improved OER when we have measured student outcomes and confirmed that they have actually changed for the better.
Continuous improvement of OER, then, is the iterative process of:
- Instrumenting OER for measurement,
- Measuring their effectiveness in supporting student mastery of learning outcomes,
- Identifying areas where student mastery of those learning outcomes was not effectively supported,
- Making changes to the learning design of the underperforming OER aligned to those learning outcomes, and then
- Beginning the cycle again so we can:
- Measure the impact of those changes and determine whether or not they were actually improvements (not just changes), and
- Identify additional areas that need strengthening.
Engaging in the continuous improvement of OER in this manner allows us to make OER support learning more effectively each semester.Learning Design and Continuous Improvement
Lumen instruments OER for measurement at the individual learning outcome level. Outcome alignment is at the very core of both our learning design process and our continuous improvement process. The outcome alignment process has three parts.
A visualization of the relationships between the more than
250 learning outcomes in Waymaker Microeconomics
First, we collaborate with faculty to identify each of the individual skills we want to support students in mastering. These detailed outcomes are, like all the content Lumen creates, licensed CC BY. Second, we align each individual page of content with the one or more outcomes whose mastery it supports. Finally, we align each assessment item with the outcome it is designed to assess. In the case of Waymaker Microeconomics, for example, that means aligning over 2,350 individual assessment items appearing in pre-tests, interactive practice opportunities, self-checks, and end of module quizzes with the appropriate learning outcome.
If that sounds like an incredible amount of work, that’s because it is!
But it’s worth it. In addition to providing benefits in the learning design process that we don’t discuss here, outcome alignment is fundamental to the continuous improvement process. With assessment items aligned to individual outcomes in pre-tests, practices, self-checks, and end-of-module quizzes, we can model learning over time, from the beginning of the module (the pre-test occurs before students see any OER) to the second attempt on the end of module quiz (after students have used and reused the OER). Similarly, because all course content is outcome-aligned, we can examine how patterns of OER usage correlate with performance on aligned assessments.Analyzing the Effectiveness of OER
This process begins with a RISE analysis. I published the RISE framework last year with Bob Bodily and Rob Nyland, two amazing PhD students at BYU. Earlier this year I also published an open source implementation of RISE in the Journal of Open Source Software. RISE analysis divides performance on assessments into two categories, higher and lower, and usage of OER into the same two categories, higher and lower. These are matrixed to create four ways of diagnosing how OER are working in support of student learning.Higher Grades High student prior knowledge, inherently easy learning outcome, highly effective content, poorly written assessment Effective resources, effective assessment, strong outcome alignment Lower Grades Low motivation or high life distraction, too much material, technical or other difficulties accessing resources Poorly designed resources, poorly written assessments, poor outcome alignment, difficult learning outcome Lower Use of OER Higher Use of OER
Each outcome in the course is placed in one of these four categories, as in the visualization below. We focus first on those outcomes in the lower right corner, where usage of OER is high but performance on aligned assessments is low. These are places where effort invested in improving OER is most likely to improve student learning. Below we have drawn a blue diamond three standard deviations out from the origin (mean OER usage on the x-axis and mean assessment performance on the y-axis) to make it easier to visually identify outliers in need of immediate attention.
RISE analysis visualization of Introduction to BusinessMaking Targeted Improvements to OER
In the past, once the OER most in need of improvement were identified, we reached out to individual faculty to invite them to participate in the process of analyzing and improving course materials in collaboration with Lumen’s learning engineers and course designers. Moving forward, we will use the Learning Challenges Leaderboards to make this information public and invite the community to participate in the process of revising, remixing, finding, or creating new OER to better support student learning.
(In addition to continuously improving the OER based on outcomes data, we also make a wide range of other updates to our courses. For example, we update OER based on faculty feedback, current events, and the availability of new OER. We make improvements to assessments based on the results of item analysis, make improvements to features of the Waymaker platform (like faculty and student nudges) based on ways they correlate with student performance, and make improvements to supplementary materials based on faculty feedback.)The Role of Learning Materials in Education
It would be easy to look at the effort Lumen invests in improving OER and other courseware components and come to the conclusion that we think learning materials are the most important part of education. That would be a mistake. We believe deeply that the contributions made by the learner and the faculty both significantly outweigh the importance of learning materials. However, we also believe that highly effective learning materials can dramatically amplify the efforts of learners and faculty. For example, we know that highly effective learning materials can help learners reach the same levels of mastery in half the time compared to materials that follow a traditional textbook design (Lovett et al., 2008).
There are myriad ways in which education needs to be improved. The role Lumen is choosing to play in the community working to improve education (which extends far beyond problems relating to learning materials) is to enable and empower learners and faculty with highly effective learning materials that become more effective every semester.
We’re working to engage a broad community of educators and institutions in the work of improving education by continuously improving OER course materials. We’re trying to make this complex task more transparent, measurable, and participatory. Given the creativity and commitment of the community we serve, we have every hope of success.
From a cognitive constructivist perspective, learning is achieved through the twin processes of assimilation and accommodation. The latter implies that new learning is 'bolted onto', or constructed within, existing cognitive structures known as schemas. Learning relies on the individual construction of reality, according to Jean Piaget. Such construction of meaning is unique to each individual, and therefore centres on each learner's efforts to make sense of the subject.
In a sense, an algorithm has much in common with a schema, particularly because both have rules and sequences of instruction that can be followed to achieve a specific goal. Both are self contained but have the potential to be connected to larger sets of instructions. The computer algorithm is therefore a means of giving instructions to a machine that replicates the way we believe our minds function. Personal schema on the other hand, are often peculiar to the individuals that created them usually through solo exploration and discovery.
Alternatively, social constructivism - in Vygotsky's terms - is the construction of personal meaning within a framework of social experience. Lev Vygotsky stresses the importance of language and culture, and argues that learning is socially mediated. His notion of the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) is a model to describe the efforts and interaction between a learner and a more knowledgeable other person (MKO) to negotiate meaning within a realistic range of learning. The learner constructs his own meaning with the MKO as a guide in the process. The boundaries of the ZPD can be variable, but in most contexts, it is generally more extensive than learners can achieve on their own.
Jerome Bruner developed ZPD theory to include the concept of scaffolded learning. Scaffolding was a metaphorical representation of the many active ways in which teachers (or MKOs) focus their efforts and expertise to support of learners at the start of their learning, but gradually fade this support as learners become more independent and competent.
The idea of discovery learning also originates with Piaget, and has provided some powerful, but at times contentious pedagogical practices in primary education. It maintains a focus on personal construction of meaning through exploration and experimentation, and relies less on social contexts than ZPD theory.
Hypertext is non-linear and potentially chaotic in nature, drawing the user (learner) down through layers of meaning, to the endless possibilities of learning by discovering. It is ill-defined, driven by the learner, and has no boundaries or limits other than those the learner imposes upon herself. It is exploratory, rule-less and rhizomatic, where the learner discovers for herself any number of divergent nodes of knowledge, and random corridors of travel.
Learners with digital technology can discover for themselves, and drive their own learning, but it will be less structured than formal educational processes. They are able to explore avenues that may or may not be intended by the creators of the content, but in their nomadic exploration of hypermedia, learners discover for themselves the benefits and risks of autonomous learning. The initial digital space acts as a scaffold, but the farther away the learner wanders from this base - and the more mouse clicks he executes - the more vulnerable he may become to misdirection, misunderstanding, and a sense of isolation from his original aims and purposes. And yet this glorious freedom of knowledge excavation and the potential to synthesise disparate and previously dislocated concepts can be compelling.
Connected learning by Steve Wheeler was written in Plymouth, England and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.Posted by Steve Wheeler from Learning with e's
We're just in the process of the pre-launch week for E-Learning 3.0, the newest MOOC we are offering on the mooc.ca website. For now, you can read the course outline and synopsis, a fairly detailed description of the sort of things we'll be looking at over the next ten weeks. In a few days I'll post signup-forms so you can subscribe to the email newsletter and submit your blogs for inclusion (note, you do not need to register to enjoy this course). You can also read it as a single article.Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]
Oct 09, 2018
Creative Commons has thrown its support behind a Civil Society proposed treaty on copyright exceptions for educational and research activities. They argue, " Having clear international norms for exceptions to copyright for education allow OER authors and users to more confidently incorporate third-party materials for reference and illustration of OER content." The danger of such exceptions is that "educational uses" have historically been defined in terms of educational institutions, and not personal learning. The proposed treaty (Article 5) would exempt uses related to teaching, learning, creating educational materials, and research. The protections under 'learning activities' might be sufficient. But the danger is that this section would simply be dropped from the treaty, essentially cementing the exception as a commercial right and not a personal imperative.Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]
This is an update on a story cited here last week. The website iFixit looked at the story saying you can't repair your MacBook, tried it for themselves, and found that you atually can repair your computer. " While it's possible that a future software update could change things and make it require specialized software that only official Apple Stores and authorized service centers have access to, we're not there yet." It's always best to check things out for yourself rather than just taking someone's word for it.Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]
I hear a lot of educators talk about how stories are essential to learning, but I'm not sure I agree, and it's not clear they help. Indeed, according to this article, our preference for stories might be misleading us. "These historical narratives seduce you into thinking you really understand what’s going on and why things happened, but most of it is guessing people’s motives and their inner thoughts. It allays your curiosity, and you’re satisfied psychologically by the narrative, and it connects the dots so you feel you’re in the shoes of the person whose narrative is being recorded. It has seduced you into a false account, and now you think you understand." Real explanations "involve models and hypotheses that are familiar in structure to the kind that convey explanation in the natural sciences."Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]
A lot has been said about the fact that Canadian Nobel prize winner Donna Strickland was only an associate professor - not a full professor - at Waterloo. It's just a lot of paperwork for a limited benefit. As someone comments, "The raise is v v small & I could write a whole article in the time it would take to put together the promotion materials." I sympathize - I haven't put in for a promotion at NRC for, I don't know, a decade? and so never advanced to 'Principal Researcher'. It's backward, in m view; promotions should be given, not sought for. I think it's more telling, actually, that her Wikipedia page was deleted despite her obvious qualifications, even well before the Nobel prize. It's a sad commentary not only on how society regards women, but also on how it regards scientists.Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]
After the obligatory opening paragraphs offering a paean to teachers, this article cites to research that "points to relationships more broadly as core determinants of students’ chances of getting by and getting ahead. Research from an array of youth development and social capital scholars is clear: students will most benefit from a web of adults supporting their healthy development, academic success and access to opportunity." One study mentiones is the Search Institute’s work on what they call developmental relationships. Another notes that "74 percent of those who choose a career path immediately after high school secure their job through a connection they made as part of their internship." Yes, connections matter. Who knew/Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]
It surprises no one to hear that Google is finally announcing the end of the Google+ network. It never came close to being a Facebook rival, despite the effort Google put into it. That said, some parts of it - such as Hangouts - were significant successes in their own right. It's interesting to read that " One of the findings of the project team was that Google+ 'has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption' and that it 'has seen limited user interaction with apps'." This could have been done much differently - I've looked into it with respect to gRSShopper and it is not a trivial process to use the API. Ultimately, though, I think the reason Google+ failed was that it was always about Google, not individual people using the network.Web: [Direct Link] [This Post]