Teaching analytics

Dec 08, 2011




To work out what works in teaching you cannot escape the need to measure learning. It is no use just using ‘Happy Charts’, feedback forms etc. You have to measure what works. Just like you have to measure things to see if a drug works (‘lies, damned lies, and clinical impressions’, as Sam Shuster said). Simple. Why do so few acknowledge this?

Khan (along with most of the general public, in my opinion) has this naive notion that teaching is really just explaining. And that the way to be a better teacher is to improve your explanations. Not so! Teaching is really about creating experiences that allow students to construct meaning.

“And I think frankly, the best way to do it is you put stuff out there and you see how people react to it…”

This is flawed. People’s reactions are not indicators of effectiveness. Pre/post testing is needed to indicate effectiveness. Ah, but perhaps there is a relationship between people’s reaction and effectiveness? The research indicates otherwise.

Agreed! [ from Action-Reaction ] (the topic under discussion is the Khan academy)

Post by Jonathan Rees

Clinical academic and skin watcher at the University of Edinburgh

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