Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Death Knell for the Lecture

Daphne Koller article

Our education system is in a state of crisis. [..] As a society, we can and should invest more money in education. But that is only part of the solution. [..] We need to significantly reduce those costs while at the same time improving quality [..].

How can we improve performance in education, while cutting costs at the same time? In 1984, Benjamin Bloom showed that individual tutoring had a huge advantage over standard lecture environments: The average tutored student performed better than 98 percent of the students in the standard class.

Until now, it has been hard to see how to make individualized education affordable. But I argue that technology may provide a path to this goal [..].

At Stanford, we recently placed three computer science courses online, using a similar format. Remarkably, in the first four weeks, 300,000 students registered for these courses, with millions of video views and hundreds of thousands of submitted assignments.

What can we learn from these successes? First, we see that video content is engaging to students — many of whom grew up on YouTube — and easy for instructors to produce.