Thursday, July 11, 2013

Is rewinding the answer?

“If you don’t get it, pause, rewind and listen again.” 

"Mastery is easy to achieve using a computer, because a computer doesn't get tired of showing you the same video five times."

Whether we are talking Khan Academy or Massive Open Online Courses, proponents nearly always get around to the power these resources offer the people watching their videos. The power is that viewers are given the chance to replay the video. So watching the lecture over-and-over again is the answer to learning with understanding?

If I am reading John Hattie correctly, the answer is no.

A strong message from the findings in Visible Learning is that, more often than not, when students do not learn, they do not need 'more'; rather, they need 'different'. p. 83
it will not be enough merely to repeat the same method again and again. pp 84-6 

But maybe I need to reread it to truly "get it".


  1. It's interesting because much of the time people think that when someone doesn't learn something it was because they weren't listening; when they, themselves, fail to learn something they say it was because the other person didn't explain it clearly...

    1. There is currently a culture of blame in education. This needs to change. Another point Hattie makes is that teachers and students need to work together to monitor progress toward an identified learning goal.

  2. The trouble with the educational theories, math education in particular, is that every one promotes a certain answer to a problem that may not exist as commonly perceived. Kids may not learn for various reasons: one was inattentive, the other innocently missed a crucial sentence, the third was unprepared, the fourth has a different learning modality - there may certainly be more reasons. In each case the solution - most helpful approach - is different. It may be rewinding, or offering a different explanation, or more examples, what not.

    For some computers are going to prove useful because of the ability to rewind, for others, as an opportunity to find an alternative approach.

    1. I agree completely. There isn't a single answer to supporting the development of understanding (this is a major point made in Hattie's book), and replaying a video because of inattention is reasonable. But that's not what Mr. Khan and Prof. Koller are talking about - not when they use words like "get it" or "mastery".

  3. Yea, I noticed the same thing and blogged about it ... even if the videos are *good* and you're flipping a class, you can't answer questions.
    Let's be honest. When I think I have found THE PERFECT way to teach something, somebody comes up with an interpretation of what I've presented, that is perfectly sensible from their perspective, but dead wrong. THere's that huge problem of being the teacher who already knows it, not the student building the concepts.
    I would also suggest that one huge problem with videos is that they seldom *automatically* pause (in MOdumath they do) and ask a question for the student to ponder, along the way, to have a chance to make the connections. ddEven when those are built in, we have to make assumptions about how to frame the questions and what the student is going to be thinking.