eLearning Technology – The Pace of Learning

By Carla van Straten - 3177 views

As individuals there are a variety of factors that influence our ability to understand concepts and these factors, whether it is poor attention span or unforeseen absenteeism, will influence our learning progress. Progress happens in time. To manage progress, we must manage the time that is granted to learners to make such progress.

eLearning Technology – The Pace of Learning

There are tools belonging to the eLearning methodology that accommodates individual learners in learning at their own pace.

Slow Does Not Mean Stupid

The ideas in this article are based on those revolutionary ideas of Salman Khan, as we find them written in his book The One World School House: Education Reimagined.

People learn at different rates. Some people seem to catch on to things in quick bursts of intuition; others grunt and grind their way toward comprehension. Quicker isn’t necessarily smarter and slower definitely isn’t dumber. Further, catching on quickly isn’t the same as understanding thoroughly. So the pace of learning is a question of style, not relative intelligence - Khan, Salman (2012:20).

What is Positive Progress?

Positive progress, defined for the purpose of this article, is the consecutive steps that a learner takes on the path to fully comprehend different aspects of one concept. The learner climbs these steps, progressing towards a goal, and the goal is to fully master the concept. One should not climb a step simply because time restrains forces one to, with only half an understanding of those concepts taught.

In muddling toward my own approach to tutoring… two of my first precepts were these: that lessons should be paced to the individual student’s needs, not to some arbitrary calendar; and that basic concepts needed to be deeply understood if students were to succeed at mastering more advanced ones - Khan, Salman (2012:21).

The Half Empty Glass – The 40% Pass Grade

The grade requirement to pass in a South African high school is 40%. You gain 45% for the year in average which allows you to pass and continue to the next grade. This means that you pass on to the next grade having a poor, or no understanding at all, of  more than half of the content that you were tested on, never mind the content that you were taught. How are you supposed to master advanced concepts in the next grade if you were unable to grasp the basic concepts in the previous? This is one situation where we cannot fool ourselves; the glass is not half full, it is half empty.

Online Learning Accommodating the Individual's Learning Pace

Thank goodness for eLearning and the pedagogies that online courses adopt into their methods. Let’s consider how the technologies inherent in learning management systems help to accommodate an individual’s learning pace.

The LMS technology employed by the Khan academy is incredibly sophisticated. It is the technology that puts Khan’s visions and ambitions into a practical reality.Through close monitoring and detailed figures of student progress the student and his or her coach are able to know in which areas one is to spend more time on practising reading or watching more videos on the topic.

The Khan academy captures every individual learner’s progress, step by step, exercise by exercise, even seconds spent on solving in specific problems.If you know where your comprehension is proficient, where it needs reviewing and where you struggle to comprehend subjects, you will know where time should be invested and where it is not necessary to allocate too much time to a subject.

Custom Pace, Custom Materials, Custom Goals

Mastery learning structured its curriculum not in terms of time, but in terms of certain target levels of comprehension and achievement - Khan, Salman (2012:38).

Khan speaks of target levels, and this idea is incorporated into the Khan Academy as a tool called “goal setting” – you are able to set your own custom learning goals. You set up your own learning program, choosing the exercises you mean to complete and group video lectures that are relevant to these exercises. The coach sees your goal and assists you in working out your own custom time table for completing the steps leading to it.

Coursera's "Late-Days Bank"

Coursera.com provides learners with a budget amount of “late-days”. These days can be assigned to various exercises or tests should a student feel that they need more time to get comfortable with the concept, watch a few more videos, read more of the recommended reading, or even discuss the specific area with peers on the class discussion forum.

In Conclusion

From everything discussed above it is evident that eLearning is paving the way to a brighter and more effective education system. Learning Management Systems cater to the needs of students and promotes learning instead of “pushing” pupils through to the next stage. Through using different methods, eLearning guarantees success and advancement under its students. Time is made to focus on relevant topics and ascertain knowledge – isn’t this what education is all about?

 

Sound Idea Digital specialises in Learning Management Systems and eLearning developments | soundidealearningmanagement.co.za
Carla van Straten is a Writer for Sound Idea Digital | Carla@soundidea.co.za

   

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