DRiVE: What motivates us (and our students)

I have become quite a fan of Daniel Pink. In an earlier entry here, I shared his presentations on his book A Whole New Mind: How Right Brainers Will Rule the Future. In this entry, I want to share a recent TED presentation he made about his newest book, DRiVE: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.

Here he shares what science has been telling us for years about intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation. Management science in business, at least until fairly recently, has focused mostly on reward-punishment extrinsic motivational approaches (bonuses, commissions, contingent salary raises, etc.) to try to coax better performance from workers — and we as teachers, I believe, tend to expect similarly motivated behaviors from our students.

However, Dan points out that decades of research proves that people perform best when they are intrinsically motivated — for the enjoyment and/or fulfillment provided by the activity itself. Three important components of intrinsic motivation are Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose.

I encourage you to watch the following presentation and read the book to learn more about this fascinating topic.

New DOE study: Online learning outperforms the live classroom

Well, a major study has formally analyzed and found out what a lot of us in online learning suspected or even thought we knew all along. This brand new study just released from the Department of Education is a comprehensive meta-analysis (that is, it is a comprehensive analysis of a large number of individual studies summarized analytically). The study started with 1,332 studies about online learning. They winnowed this set down to 46 rigorous studies that compared at least one element of online versus face-to-face learning, and from this group derived 51 effects.

Some of their key findings that I found most relevant are:

  1. For older (i.e. adult) learners, students who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction.
  2. Instruction combining online and face-to-face elements had a larger advantage relative to purely face-to-face instruction than did purely online instruction.
  3. Studies in which learners in the online condition spent more time on task than learners in the face-to-face condition found a greater benefit for online learning.
  4. Most of the variations in which different studies implemented online learning did not affect student learning outcomes significantly.
  5. The effectiveness of online learning approaches appears quite broad across different content and learner types.
  6. Effect sizes were larger for studies in which the online and face-to-face conditions varied in terms of curriculum materials and aspects of instructional approach in addition to the medium of instruction.
  7. Blended and purely online learning conditions implemented within a single study generally result in similar student learning outcomes.
  8. Elements such as video or online quizzes do not appear to influence the amount that students learn in an online class.
  9. Online learning can be enhanced by giving learners control of their interactions with media and prompting learning reflection.
  10. Providing guidance for learning for groups of students appears less successful than does using such mechanisms with individual learners.

The authors provide these comments in the Conclusions section of their Executive Summary:

In recent experimental and quasi-experimental studies contrasting blends of online and face-to-face instruction with conventional face-to-face classes, blended instruction has been more effective, providing a rationale for the effort required to design and implement blended approaches. Even when used by itself, online learning appears to offer a modest advantage over conventional classroom instruction.

However, several caveats are in order: Despite what appears to be strong support for online learning applications, the studies in this meta-analysis do not demonstrate that online learning is superior as a medium. In many of the studies showing an advantage for online learning, the online and classroom conditions differed in terms of time spent, curriculum and pedagogy. It was the combination of elements in the treatment conditions (which was likely to have included additional learning time and materials as well as additional opportunities for collaboration) that produced the observed learning advantages. At the same time, one should note that online learning is much more conducive to the expansion of learning time than is face-to-face instruction.

Read the full study. It is really fascinating and encouraging.

Technology for creating screen capture videos

I’ve been using screen capture software from TechSmith for several years to create videos, static graphic images, and more for sharing with students and colleagues. I have created whole courses built around creative ways of packaging narrated screen videos.

In this video, the makers of this software are interviewed about the latest developments in this technology arena. I thought it would help you visualize what the possibilities might be for using them in your own educational endeavors.

Podcast trumps lecture in one college study

In a recent study at the State University of New York at Fredonia, researches looked at whether experiencing a live lecture in the classroom or viewing a recorded version of the same lecture made a difference in learning.

The result? Students who watched a video podcast scored on average a letter grade higher (71 percent vs. 62 percent) on an exam over the material.

Researchers noted that the mediating variables seemed to be the use of the pause and rewind buttons, multiple viewings of the recorded version, and whether the students were actively taking notes or not.

This is an interesting study report you should read at www.eschoolnews.com/news/top-news/index.cfm?i=57612.

Bloom’s Rose: A tool for creating practical assignments at a different levels of learning

I discovered an entry on Wikipedia for Bloom’s taxonomy, called Bloom’s Rose. It was created by John M. Kennedy. The original version had a number of typos and was somewhat hard to follow. So I created an alternative version of it using Mindjet Mindmanager.

It provides, for each of the levels of learning described by Bloom:

  1. a list of verbs that might be appropriate to formulate assignments at that level
  2. a list of types of assignments that might be appropriate for that level of learning

The PDF file is available for download at www.oruonline.net/files/BloomsRose2.pdf. Enjoy!

“Chunking” your online course content

In an earlier post I introduced the notion of “chunking” your course content. What this means in a practical sense is that you should think of your course materials in terms of bite-size segments that your students can digest easily. For example, if you’re using a typical textbook, the chapters are probably subdivided by subheadings into sets of information that “hang together” for the learner to consider.

When preparing your content, you should consider how to create your content “chunks” in the same manner. Rather than thinking in terms of a monolithic classroom lecture (e.g., “I have to cover one and a half chapters of the textbook in this 1 hour, 50 minute course meeting”), think about smaller segments that can more or less stand on their own, or be sequenced in a meaningful way.

This is especially important when creating video content for your course, using tools like Camtasia Studio. When creating video segments of, say, a PowerPoint presentation, I like to limit the individual pieces to no more than ten or fifteen minutes, and then provide some type of table of contents or other structure to guide the students through the material in a logical fashion.

The latest version of Camtasia Studio provides some help with creating and managing your “chunks” of course materials. We have a limited number of licenses at ORU, so please contact me if you’d like to use it. You can download a fully-functional, 30-day evaluation copy at www.techsmith.com/download/camtasiatrial.asp.

For some ideas about how to create educational “chunks” using Camtasia Studio, check out the long list of tutrial videos at this link: www.techsmith.com/community/education/education_solutions.asp.

To see another component of Camtasia Studio, the Camtasia Theater, for arranging the set of “chunks” with a useful interactive table of contents and navigation structure, please see this tutorial video: Camtasia Theater.

Think “chunking”!

Tips for no-fail online course production

A recent article in Campus Technology provides some really good tips for creating high-quality, successful online courses. You should read the article to get all the fine points, but below are the 5 tips:

  1. Create a plan.
  2. Embrace “chunking.”
  3. Emphasize quality.
  4. Make it interesting!
  5. Keep it relevant.

Be sure and read the entire article at http://campustechnology.com/articles/61521_1/