We know a lot about how people learn. For example, new knowledge builds on existing knowledge. At the start of a new lesson, refreshing existing knowledge helps students link up new information. How do you refresh existing knowledge? Maybe with a short quiz.
Put research and experience together, and you get a formula that works:
Tasks + content + relationships = skills
- Tasks: A sequence of hands-on tasks, from simple to complex. Tasks are the backbone of a good skills course.
- Content: Explanations, worked examples, and other content. Tasks and content are mixed together, not separate.
- Relationships: Students need task feedback, personal help with concepts, encouragement, and a friendly face.
Skilling is a toolkit for making and running such courses.
- Tasks: Course authors write dozens of tasks. Each has a grading rubric. Students get personal feedback for each task, from a human grader. An efficient feedback system keeps costs low.
- Content: Authors write content that matches learning research guidelines. For example, students see how virtual "people" work on tasks, make mistakes, and figure out their errors. Authors can annotate worked examples, as in, "Uh oh, Bob just messed up, but doesn't know it yet."
- Relationships: Skilling helps instructors monitor individual student performance, and reach out as needed. Skilling makes it easier for instructors to be friendly, helpful, and approachable.
Making a great course is hard work. Skilling can help. However, course building will never be an easy plug-and-play task. Check Making a course for a typical course design process.