This commentary, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, is a must read for all educators.
The authors make the statement that there are “…unprecedented opportunities for technological support of learners…” and we have to “…make better use of our students’ time.”
Their solution, based on Heath’s book Made to Stick is to make ideas “stickier” by capturing curiosity and using stories to create an emotional response. (click here for a great review of the book by Michelle Lin, M.D.) The third part of their solution is to embrace a flipped-classroom model (see below).
This model, which uses digital learning outside of the classroom supplemented by active learning activities during class time, has already been adopted by many programs to varying degrees. For example, the University of Wisconsin’s EM program is currently producing content from their regular didactics to be released on iTunes U. This model also has some research support, as the article itself cites. According to a meta-analysis by the Department of Education, “on average, students in online learning conditions performed modestly better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.”
I use this article in almost all of the classes, lectures, and workshops I teach about presentation design, and integrating technology into education. The challenge for most of us will be HOW do we integrate these principles into our teaching. One of the things I warn my learners about frequently is:
CRAPPY LECTURE + RECORDING = CRAPPY RECORDED LECTURE
So, the goal isn’t to just start recording the lectures for students to watch at home. The goal is to create materials to promote learning. Presentation design principles are at the heart of this endeavor.
Embracing a flipped-classroom and developing high quality materials for learning both in the classroom and outside of class will change the educational process for the better.
“Teachers would be able to actually teach, rather than merely make speeches.”
Heath C, Heath D. Made to Stick: why some ideas survive and others die. New York: Random House, 2007
Evaluation of evidence-based practices in online learning: a meta-analysis and review of online learning studies. Washington, DC: Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development, 2010 (http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/tech/evidence-based-practices/finalreport.pdf)