Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Mastery-based Learning via @KhanAcademy #68

Salman Khan is a very inspiring educator who has made a difference to the lives of many people since he set up the Khan Academy in 2006. I have followed with interest his activities, and last year he spoke at a TED Talk on mastery-based learning. Khan asks the question: "Would you choose to build a house on top of an unfinished foundation?". When learning skills like judo and music, learners must master one level before they move on to the next - why not do this when learning skills like maths?

Khan uses a great analogy with comparing learning with construction. If we get 75% in an algebra test, that is considered good (despite not knowing 25%) - and we move on to the next level. If we only did 75% of the foundation of a house, and then moved on - eventually the whole structure would collapse. Despite identifying the gaps, we continue to build on learning in an old-fashioned way.

With "grit and perseverance" students can take better control of their learning to achieve mastery (or what Khan calls "agency over their learning"). Technology is the enabler of mastery-learning with  (for example) on-demand video and adaptive learning tools. It will take time, but I agree with Khan that mastery-based learning is closer with the use of technology - certainly in the future.

The video is almost 11 minutes long, take the time to hear this rock of sense tell us what the future in education is going to be like.

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