It’s common to have several sections of the same course running simultaneously. They can vary widely in quality, depending on who is teaching each section. Students tell each other who to take, and who to avoid, but it’s often a case of roll-the-dice.

Can we do better? We can never make sections identical, if they have different instructors, but maybe we can make them all reach a decent standard.


Skilling lends itself to standardization. Make one Skilling website, and use it in every section. Every student gets the same exercises, and the same lessons. Exercise submissions are assessed using the same rubrics. The quality of personal help will be different, but quality variance will be less, compared to the one-instructor-does-everything approach.


Some people would call this McDonalds education. The same meal for everyone. What do you say to that?

A couple of things. First, we’re not giving students Big Macs. We’re giving them something good. Skilling is all about quality, defined by the tasks students can do independently by the end of the course. Skilling and SCDM ensure that average students who do the reasonable things they are asked, will learn skills.

McDonalds is not the right metaphor for Skilling courses. Instead, we standardize on giving every student a meal from Le Brouillarta. Standardization is just fine, if you standardize on something good.

Second, there are ways to give different students different experiences with Skilling. For example, there’s conditional content. The core of a course would be the same, but:

  • Students with different native languages would get extra explanations, in their own tongue.

  • Color-blind students would get different images.

  • Students interested in sports would see one set of worked examples. Students interested in shoes would see different examples.

  • Students who aren’t keeping up with exercises will get special advice.

If you want to continue the restaurant metaphor, it’s like give students different side dishes, and desserts. Something chocolatey, for me.

Further, you could use Skilling for part of a course. Take a qualitative research methods course, for example. You could have, say, six weeks of standardized content in a Skilling website. The rest of the semester, students design their own research project. A core of standardized goodness, then individual student work.

Learning skills is the point. Whatever meets your course goals best, do that.