Listen to instruction, practice exercises at home from a thick book. This is how a lot of teaching has been done for years.
But that traditional method of teaching is under pressure: the number of students has kept on increasing, with the internet you as a teacher are no longer the only source of knowledge, and nowadays every teacher has to compete for attention with mobile devices and highly addictive social media.
A wave of change is now sweeping through education: blended learning, personalised education, learning analytics. No shortage of buzzwords.
We do believe that this change is happening. It needs to.
Here is how we think about learning and teaching:
You might be surprised to hear this. Although we are an internet company, we do not believe that real learning can happen solely online. We believe that you need to combine the best of both worlds: online learning is best for direct instruction and practicing exercises. This opens up time in the offline meetings, which can be spent on motivating students, personal attention, putting ideas into practice, discussions and making the concepts relevant.
We want to support teachers with the online part, so that you as a teacher can spent your energy on all the important things that need to happen offline.
Learning by doing
One learns statistics by doing it. We believe that everyone can master statistics, as long as you practice enough.
Practicing from a paper book can be arduous. Often you only know the correct answer, not what you were doing wrong. If you think you cannot do maths, this is not very motivating.
We believe practicing is a major component of learning. Our exercises (called Challenges) start off easy and keep getting more advanced. This builds confidence. It shows students: everyone can master statistics. Just practice.
In an ideal world, you hear a concept once and remember it for the rest of your life.
This a nice fairy tale, but it is not how people work. One of the most well researched phenomenon in education is the Forgetting Curve. It shows: if we do not use knowledge, we tend to forget it.
You can learn to remember things forever. This just requires: repetition. We use the Testing Effect and a lot of repetition to help students cement the new knowledge into their brains. It might not be sexy, but it does work: repeat, repeat, repeat.
Ever played (or watched someone play) a video game? Noticed how concentrated people are? This is the state that Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi termed 'flow'. This state of intense focus, which people can maintain for hours also makes us really happy. Requirements: a clear goal, hard but not too hard, and direct feedback.
Ever imagined that your students can develop that same flow practicing statistics? Well, they can. Our program gives students direct feedback, a constant stream of new challenges (hard but not too hard) and clear goals (finish all the lessons on the lesson map for example). We see in the data: students sometimes spent hours in the weekends to practice statistics, even weeks before the exam! Now that is flow.
We spent a lot of time thinking about learning and teaching and discussing this with all the statistics teachers we support. Want to share your experiences or opinions? Please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org