Use cases help us tell the Evidence story by showcasing some of the innovative ways that people are already pursuing new opportunities. Each case is structured around our four use case dimensions: audience or user group, urgent education challenge, technology-enabled features, and research methods. Do you have a story we should include as a use case? Please share your story with us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Challenge: Provide best learning approach for each student
Stakeholders: Researchers, Developers, Teachers, Students
Tech Affordances: Rapid Prototyping
Methods: A/B Testing; Learning Analytics
Author: Barbara Means based on an interview with Ken Koedinger and references below.
The Challenge: Researchers at LearnLab, the Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center, set out to see whether they could improve the effectiveness of an online chemistry course by applying design principles based on research. Within a chemistry course developed by Carnegie Mellon University’s Open Learning Initiative (OLI), they identified the portion that deals with equilibrium as being particularly challenging for students. READ MORE
Challenge: Timely Feedback for Every Level of the Education System
Stakeholders: Developers, Corporate Decision Makers, Teachers, Students
Tech Affordances: Immediate feedback from end users at scale; Longitudinal measures
Methods: Controlled trials of new approaches
Author: Barbara Means based on a presentation by Bror Saxberg for the February 12 convening of the Next Generation Learning Challenges Wave 1 Grantees, Austin, TX.
The Challenge: Kaplan Inc. has grown from a small test preparation business to a major provider of online learning. Bror Saxberg, Kaplan’s Chief Learning Officer, points out that most commercial providers of services for K-12 and higher education face a “double-buyer situation” since they need to satisfy two kinds of stakeholders. READ MORE
UCLA’s Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Testing (CRESST), working with its partner organization, the Center for Advanced Technology in Schools (CATS), has developed an innovative approach to identifying the conceptual content for inclusion in instruction and assessment.
With funding from the Institute of Education Sciences, CATS is developing learning games focused on acquiring pre-algebra schema and skills. For this effort, CRESST designed approaches to build in valid outcome development and then strategies to compare means that lead to the most effective learning.
To develop the goals for the games and to make them congruent with Common Core State Standards, the R&D team used the design of ontology to translate the verbal standards statements into network representations that define the universe of content and cognition included in the standards. READ MORE
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) launched its ENGAGE research program to focus on the development of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills and social-emotional learning in a learning-game setting for early elementary-level students. DARPA usually focuses on the development of advanced technology and hardware for the military, but has teamed with the President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to work on STEM education because it is such an important national priority.
With funding from the ENGAGE program, UCLA‘s Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Testing (CRESST) is partnering with the game development firm Intific to teach 5- and 6-year-olds fundamental physics concepts and principles. These are generally force and motion; specifically, they are concepts drawn from the National Academy of Sciences Framework for K-12 Science Education that are targeted to fifth-grade students (e.g., friction and velocity). READ MORE
Fourth-grade teachers at Oakville Elementary School use a reading program that calls for 90 minutes of literacy instruction a day, with students rotating between using a reading software program, working with the teacher in a small group, and doing silent sustained reading, each for 30 minutes.
One of the school’s fourth-grade teachers, Ms. Griffin, looks at the student and class reports generated by the reading software every week. These reports give her a detailed view of the reading subskills that each student has mastered, attempted, and still not reached and a whole-class view of where her students stand. READ MORE
Like the sequencing of topics and subtopics in regular instruction, sequencing in online courses is usually based on the judgments of experienced instructors. Often times, online courses use a mastery-based approach, allowing students as much time as they need to learn a skill or concept to mastery before moving them to new content. This individualized pacing can be particularly helpful for learners who need more time, but there can be a downside to this approach; students can get stuck on a particular topic and become discouraged or bored if not allowed to move on.
The Kaplan Test Prep group decided to examine the validity of the sequence of topics and subtopics in their online MCAT preparation course. READ MORE
Educational accountability systems have focused the attention of schools and districts on students’ performance on end-of-year state achievement tests. Whether or not a student scores on these tests at a level that meets or exceeds the proficiency requirement has consequences for superintendents, principals, and teachers. A whole industry has grown up around the provision of assessments that can be administered during the school year to identify those students at risk of failing to score proficient on the end-of-year exam.
Critics point to the amount of time this interim assessment activity is taking away from instruction while advocates point to the usefulness of assessing during the school year when there is still time to give extra support to those students who need it. READ MORE
DreamBox Learning offers an intelligent, adaptive mathematics learning program for students in grades K-3. In 2011, they developed additional curriculum and a new intermediate learning environment for older elementary students (slated for release in early 2012).
The design process for the new curriculum began with determining the desired outcomes, in terms of both content and pedagogy. The choice of content and pedagogical approach was informed by research in a way that Dr. Tim Hudson, Director of Curriculum Design at DreamBox Learning, describes as “both rigorous and intuitive.” The DreamBox team wanted students to master math concepts defined in the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Focal Points and in the new Common Core State Standards. READ MORE