Millennials are more educated, but less employed

Studies about millennials (young people born between 1980 and 1995 or 2000, depending on whose definition you use) are revealing that many of them now have a high level of education. But rather than take their knowledge and skills into the workplace, many are choosing to put their time and talents into altruistic endeavors, and striving to make a difference in their world.

For more background on the Millennials and what they tend to believe and do, see my earlier post: What is is with our students? The Millennials are here!

Read the article from USA Today at this link: Millennials.

Watch this video from CBS News to get an update:

A whole new way of thinking

Author and speaker Daniel Pink has completed some very provocative work on trends in business and the economy. He is a hugely entertaining speaker, especially when he shares that he was a woefully unsuccessful student in law school. Dan shares three macro-level drivers of 21st century careers:

  • Abundance
  • Asia
  • Automation

This talk was delivered around 2006 while promoting his book, A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future. I have watched it multiple times, and it has profoundly affected how I think about how we should be planning our learning and our careers for the future. For us as educators, it should really spark discussion about what a higher education general education curriculum should look like. Ask yourself questions like these:”What types of careers will American students need to be prepared for in five or ten years?” “How do we identify the proper learning outcomes and the teaching methods to ensure our students are achieving them?” “What assessment methods and tools will allow us to measure student progress toward these outcomes?”

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Once you’ve finished the presentation, watch this ten-minute question and answer session with Mr. Pink:

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What is it with our students? The millennials are here!

I first saw this video a year or so ago and was intrigued. We are now having a conversation in our church board about how to relate to young people of the millennial generation. I have also been in multiple discussions with other faculty members about what “the millennials factor” could mean for our teaching and other interactions with this age group of students.

I wanted to share with you and document for myself (again!) this insightful piece that CBS 60 Minutes did about a year ago. Watch it and ponder!




Watch CBS News Videos Online

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.

The State of Creativity — OETA television series

The OETA educational TV network has begun airing a wonderful series on Creativity in the state of Oklahoma, entitled “State of Creativity.” It is of special interest to me because in episode 102, first aired last night (March 17), they highlight the providers of some exciting virtual reality business education curricula that I am currently using. Vertical Learning Curve is creating a full MBA curriculum using its virtual reality technology, which we are adapting for selected undergraduate courses in our online B.S. in Business Administration program.

You can learn more about VLC and the courses at www.vlcglobal.com.

This segment also features an intriguing approach to teaching creativity being used now at the University of Tulsa, called StudioBlue. You can get more information on the entire OETA series at creativity.oeta.tv, and about the Oklahoma Creativity Project at www.stateofcreativity.com.

Enjoy the video!

Quality standards for online courses

I recently attended the annual FUSION conference for users of the Desire2Learn learning management system. One of the gems I discovered is the Southern Regional Education Board. I picked up a really useful pamphlet entitled “Standards for Quality Online Courses.” It is a very succinct yet comprehensive framework for assessing online course quality.

You can download a .pdf version of the pamphlet at www.sreb.org

I encourage you to download and review it!

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!

Rethinking the old PowerPoint routine

I’ve discovered a couple of new approaches to preparing presentations. They are especially relevant to those of us who are deeply steeped in traditional bullet-point approaches using PowerPoint.

One approach and book that I’m really enjoying reading it Beyond Bullet Points, by Cliff Atkinson. Another is an online presentation titled Brain Rules: what all presenters should know, by Garr Reynolds. The second of these builds on a recent popular book entitled, Brain Rules: 12 Rules for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School, by molecular biologist John Medina.

Some companion web sites for these approaches are at beyondbulletpoints.com and brainrules.net. Be sure and watch the videos on the Brain Rules site!

Both approaches underscore the fact that we are all highly visual creatures, and that we normally can focus on only one or a very limited number of thoughts at any given time. They build on this understanding of how our minds work to create a fundamentally very different approach to presenting information. They emphasize engaging the listener/viewer with a cogent STORY rather than a blizzard of facts.

Interesting reading and discovery.

“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”!