Build great skills courses

First release planned for May, 2019.

Skilling is open-source software for making and running skills courses. Skills are things like programming, auditing, and mathematics.

We know a lot about how brains learn. For example, new knowledge builds on existing knowledge. At the start of a new lesson, triggering knowledge from prior lessons helps students remember new information. How do you prime existing knowledge? Maybe with a short quiz.

Skilling is a toolkit for making courses that use high-impact practices, like priming existing knowledge with a quiz. Other high-impact practices include giving personal formative feedback, and encouraging metacognition.

Here are some practices that course designers might think about. Skilling can help with all of them.

Prior knowledge

New learning builds on existing knowledge. Activating existing knowledge at the start of a lesson improves memory of new knowledge.

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Schemas

Schemas are patterns that help solve problems. They're central to human expertise. Skilling helps authors make schemas explicit.

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Metacognition

Thinking about what you have just learned can yield new insights.

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Personal formative feedback

Feedback can be more than a grade. It can be a list of things to improve. It can be personal. Skilling makes this practical at scale.

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Worked-example effect

Worked examples are particularly helpful when learning skills. Skilling helps authors make worked examples with characters, annotations, and more.

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Different needs

Skilling lets authors vary content according to student attributes (e.g., disability status), student progress, which campus they're on... anything you can record data about.

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Help students keep up

Students sometimes fall so far behind that it's impossible to catch up. Skilling has a course timeline on every screen, and an emoji reacting to student progress.

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Design for assessment

Often, the core of a Skilling course is a sequence of hands-on exercises. Each one has a rubric. Authors can design courses around exercises, and their assessment.

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Personal engagement

Usually, instructors are responsible for all aspects of a course. Skilling breaks that up, with authors responsible for content, and graders responsible for feedback. That leaves instructors free to focus on students.

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Matches university practices

Personnel

Skilling helps universities be flexible in their use of lower-cost personnel.

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Scaling

Skilling helps universities adapt to changing demand for skills courses.

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Branding

Skilling website can reflect your university's brand.

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Open to inspection

Skilling can help universities give accreditors and government agencies what they are looking for.

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Low cost to students

Skilling helps you make you own course material. Unlike most textbooks, your content can match the way people learn. You can give students access to your content for free, or at low cost.

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Course assessment

Skilling gathers a lot data about student behavior and performance. Authors can use the data to improve courses over time.

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Solid technology

Secure

Protection against XSS, CSRF, URL guessing, SQL injection, and other attacks.

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Private

Protects student data from unauthorized access.

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Accessible

Skilling is designed for WCAG 2.0 AA accessibility standards, and to comply with section 508.

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Open source

Based on Drupal, a popular open source system. Code is open to inspection. And free.

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Customizable

Add in Drupal modules for forums, social media, you name it. Change content, and look-and-feel.

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Mobile

Skilling helps students make the best use of whatever screens they have available. .

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