Helping institutions improve course completions, particularly in high enrolling general education gateway courses, is at the core of what we do. Our robust, online learning environments, grounded in the science of how people learn, use real-time student activity data to generate fine-grained predictive estimates of student learning performance against outcomes. The benefit is threefold; faculty get deeper, and more accurate and timely insight into student learning without having to generate and grade numerous, periodic summative assessments; students get a richer, more active and engaging learning experience that helps them learn more effectively, often in less time, with better knowledge retention and transfer rates (measured by pre and post testing); and course developers get unprecedented insight into curriculum effectiveness by ensuring the tight alignment between content, activities and assessments and desired learning outcomes.
Our curriculum development and continuous course improvement process is illustrated below:
Until now, an Acrobatiq team of learning engineers, subject matter experts, data scientists, and technical professionals facilitated this process. And, once the curriculum was developed and “tuned” to the statistical model generating the predictive learning estimates, making changes to the curriculum risked negatively impacting the model and resulting learning analytics. Thus, faculty empowered with teaching these courses had to take the curriculum “as is” with only limited and periodic ability to customize or make changes.
I share this as preface to our exciting road map news: we’re very close to beta on our new authoring environment for adaptive curriculum. In many ways, we’re again breaking new ground with this capability. Nothing exactly like this tool exists in the marketplace, and the demand for it is high, in large part because institutional leaders and faculty are looking for cost effective and high ROI strategies to improve learning outcomes. Developing adaptive, personalized learning solutions that generate meaningful data about deep learning is one strategy showing great promise.
So let me highlight some of our key goals in developing the new authoring environment, illustrated with screen captures pulled from the dev environment.
Simple and intuitive design: First and foremost, (and not unlike most new technology applications), our goal is to develop an authoring application that is simple to use, with intuitive navigation.
Imbedded learning science: Developing highly effective online learning experiences proven to help students learn is made easier when you have the benefit of learning science to guide curriculum design decisions. Imbedded in our forthcoming authoring environment is the evidence-based design methodology from CMU’s Open Learning Initiative including tips and suggestions that helps faculty, curriculum developers and instructional designers use learning science research to create exemplary online learning experiences.
Integration of dynamic media: Adding engaging and dynamic media often means opening custom applications like Captiva, PowerPoint or others. Now, it’s a click away using pre formatted templates. Just select the kind of dynamic media activity you want to add, customize the content, and publish it to your page.
Skill Graph Development: Having clear, measurable outcomes in any course is important, but particularly in online courses, as it helps guide and organize student learning. In Acrobatiq courseware, the Skill Graph also forms the basis for how what’s measured gets measured. The underling Skills Graph (or Knowledge Graph as it is sometimes called), connects learning objectives and skills. Every learning objective is tied to component skills, and each component skill is then tied to practice. As students complete the practice, the Acrobatiq inference engine analyzes the activity data and produces a learning estimate for each LO.
The authoring environment will help courseware authors develop a Skills Graph, tied to the inference engine so good student learning estimates against outcomes can be effectively measured.
Adding activities and assessments: Developing good practice questions often takes practice. Embedded in the authoring environment is multiple activity type templates that save time by essentially functioning like mini-forms. Simply select the activity type and enter content in the fields.
Managing media: Engaging online courses often include a range of static and dynamic images, videos, and other types of media. Included in the authoring tool is a robust Media Manager that helps curriculum developers manage and organize all their media elements.\
The new authoring environment is currently in private beta with selected partners. In the coming months, I’ll share more updates and screen captures as development progresses. We’re tremendously excited about this initiative and welcome feedback and input. If you’re interested in learning more about the authoring tools, or would like a demo, please contact us.