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A New R&D Model for Continuous Improvement of Online Learning Resources
The introductory statistics project is part of a larger project with a mission to transform how we do R&D for improving education. The work is centered at the UCLA Psychology Department’s Teaching and Learning Lab, and funded in part by a grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
Under this new model, educational improvement is accomplished as a collaboration among researchers, designers/developers, and practitioners. Each leg of this three-legged stool is critical for success, and each brings considerable talents to the table. Yet, unless all legs work together, progress will be limited. In this project, we are working to develop a strategy, technologies, and protocols to guide and support this collaborative work.
Our approach is made possible by the internet, and by the rapid proliferation of instructional resources online. Research on teaching and learning is notoriously difficult to do. One major reason for this is the complex and contextual nature of teaching. Because most teaching has been carried out with large groups of students in classrooms, it has not been possible to easily share data or conduct experiments, which would require, for example, randomly assigning individual students to get different instructional interventions.
Putting materials online, and delivering them interactively to individual students using technology, is a game changer. It means that we can deliver different versions of instructional materials to randomly selected students. And because the materials are interactive, we can gather data on how students interact with and learn from the materials. If we are smart about it, we can then use this data to guide improvement of the materials, capturing incremental improvements in the materials themselves. We can create, in short, a continuously improving textbook.
Coursekata.org is made possible by the efforts and talent of our team at UCLA’s Teaching and Learning Lab (UCLATALL).