Wait a minute! Another video lecture waiting for you to watch, followed by the test!

In this post on industrial-age-education by John Baker:

Life in the industrial economy was typically viewed as a series of discrete segments: school, work and retirement. But this thinking is no longer viable as we have entered the era of lifelong learning. Facts taught in school today can be obsolete within a few years. Employees must constantly reinvent their skill sets in order to stay employable. Employers recognize they need to be increasingly self-sufficient in helping their employees keep their skill sets up-to-date.

When the system compels K-12 teachers to pour facts into the heads of students and focus on memorization and understanding to ensure they pass a specific test, we are doing a disservice to students. Simply asking kids to read some text, memorize it and then regurgitate it on exams achieves little. I’ve seen it. We’ve all seen teachers assign texts and say, ‘There will be a test to follow.”

I was appalled at the over-relying of “teaching by professors” nowadays using video lectures, followed by assignments, examinations to test the competency of students.  It seems that we are only focusing on the content, by asking the students to remember the concepts and principles, so the students could regurgitate the right answers, through short answer questions, or multiple choice questions.

I have been doubting the use of multiple choice tests as a way to measure learning for decades.

In this post the-real-problem-with-multiple-choice-tests:

In the 21st century, networks are a kind of collective wisdom — or at least they can be. How you connect with others automatically informs how you’ll connect with their ideas. If digital interdependence doesn’t completely change both sociology and education over the next 25 years, we might need to go back and see what happened.

So let us look at multiple-choice questions in this light. More than anything else, when a multiple-choice question is given to a student in hopes of measuring how well he or she understands something, it manufactures the illusion of right and wrong, a binary condition that ignores the endlessly fluid nature of information.

Even when I was studying in the 80s, 3 units out of 4 that I did were all learning projects/individual/groups assignments even at a Diploma level (Diploma in Industrial Management – after my undergraduate and Cert studies).  I did research through “networked learning”, similar to the model of “Connectivism” and artifacts exploration, though internet wasn’t available. Lecturers were guides on the side, and there were NO LECTURES for those units.  Only mentoring was offered, and that took the form of a few meetings with the lecturer, discussing about progress of work.

So, at Masters and PhD levels, would it be overly “spoon feeding” or transmission of information with video lectures?  Should post-graduate courses be based more on a learner-centered approach where learners work on projects and problems, rather than going through basic principles in mass lectures.  Though I still attended mass lectures in my post-graduate studies (PGD, Masters), but it doesn’t mean that they are the best ways to learn, when there are so much technology, social media and COPs to support the learning.  I wonder if we are really going back with pedagogy when it comes to 21st century education!  May be, if that is what the educators and learners want, in one-size fitting all!

Are using mere video lectures doing students a good favor in their learning?  This is especially the case in xMOOCs?

Are using multiple choice, true and false sort of Mastery Learning tests helping learners at a graduate level to achieve 21st century skills and digital literacies?  To what extent is this methodology of assessing students adopted in MOOC (x MOOCs) in particular?  May be that is the only way to assess huge number of participants in MOOCs, with automated assessment and grading.  But is it really helping people to learn the contemporary digital literacies?

I may be making lots of assumptions – especially in making assumptions that MOOC students have already mastered the basic ICT skills and metacognition (learning how to learn) in MOOCs.  Video lectures would then be appropriate for these students to keep on viewing, reviewing and checking their basic understanding of concepts then.  Video lectures may also be a “convenience” for people who are too busy to read books, or to conduct research projects.  As shared here, some participants of MOOCs may also prefer to work through the course at their own pace, with personalized learning, and not to follow the instructivist/behavioral linear learning and fixed-schedule based approach as is typical in a structured formal education system.


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