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  • A man is sitting within his home office, interacting on his laptop while writing down information.

    Getting to the heart of great courseware

    By Pearson

    For instructors and students alike, the path to success has become far more challenging. Students are arriving with different life and learning priorities, and varying levels of preparation. Everyone’s working harder, in the face of greater obstacles and deeper uncertainty. Instructors and students both need more effective support, in an era where resources are scarce. Courseware has always been a key resource, but today it needs to deliver more than ever. This makes your courseware decisions even more crucial. 

    Great courseware doesn’t just happen: everything about it is intentional. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how we're delivering on three of Pearson’s core priorities for building courseware that helps instructors and learners thrive – outcomes, equity, and accessibility.  

    Achieve the outcomes that matter

    The most important outcomes are those that learners and instructors want, to help them realize the lives they imagine. Our outcome-based design processes help us understand and identify those upfront, as a “north star” to keep all of us aligned and on track. 

    When we say “all of us,” we’re talking about a wide array of world-class, cross-disciplinary experts all working together, including: 

    • Learning scientists who ensure our products reflect the latest, best evidence on what helps students learn, helps instructors teach, helps people effectively use technology, and helps promote career progress 
    • User experience and content professionals who build and evolve engaging and personalized digital learning platforms, maximize relevance, and present material in powerfully compelling ways
    • Assessment experts who embed opportunities for continual student progress assessment, and identify opportunities to improve our products
    • 6,000+ trusted authors who bring their unique voices and cutting-edge knowledge -- so students never forget they’re learning from other remarkable human beings.

    All this expertise translates into real effectiveness and strong outcomes. Take, for example, the experience of The University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC), which serves 305,000 online students worldwide, many non-traditional or not fully prepared for college-level work.

    Responding to a goal of reducing developmental prerequisites in college-level math and statistics, UMGC faculty assessed Pearson’s MyLab® and an OER alternative through a 2.5-year pilot encompassing 12 instructors and 6,500 students. Based on the pilot’s remarkable results, UMGC has rolled out MyLab widely. That’s translated into dramatic improvements: from 60% to 80% student success in statistics and from 50% to 80% in algebra compared with OER.

    Faculty evaluations have improved, too. Freed from grading, instructors had more time to guide individual students, and they also had richer data to tailor courses around their needs. 

    UMGC’s experience is just one example of how Pearson’s outcome-based design is rooted in superior learning science is helping real learners. Outcomes like these thrill us – they’re why we do what we do. 

    Extend great learning to everyone

    At Pearson, the words “diversity, equity, and inclusion” aren’t cliches or trendy buzzwords. They’re a way of life deeply grounded in beliefs we’ve held for generations: Every individual can benefit from learning, and learning is a powerful force for positive change. Everyone should be welcomed into learning. Everyone should have a fair opportunity to learn, and learning should work for all students.

    What matters more than our beliefs is what we do about them. We’ve built, and we enforce, comprehensive policies for making sure we authentically, inclusively, and respectfully represent people of all kinds. We are committed to minimizing bias. Our content celebrates diverse identities and lived experiences (see some complimentary examples here). We draw on many best practices and frameworks to provide high-quality inclusive content. We offer practical ways to report and dialogue about potential bias in our products.We do all of this so that our products are more inclusive, more relevant, and more accurate. Our DE&I approach to content development results in better products that center learners and increase student engagement.

    Finally, we understand that effectively embedding diversity, equity, and inclusion in our work is a journey. We honor and promote DE&I internally, to ensure that our offerings are created by teams who reflect those we serve. We’re proud to have earned the Human Rights Campaign’s “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” award, inclusion in Bloomberg’s Gender Equality Index, and a top grade in the Disability Equality Index, the most comprehensive benchmark for disability inclusion.

    By doing all this, we’re serving learners’ demands. Our 2021 Global Learner Survey found that 80% of learners were trying to educate themselves about issues related to social justice, diversity or gender equality, rising to 84% among millennials and 85% among Gen Z.

    Ensure accessibility to meet everyone’s potential

    For too long, people were excluded from full access to education based on disabilities that were irrelevant to their potential. We’re determined to overcome that, one individual at a time. Our commitment is woven into our learning materials, development processes, innovation efforts, employee culture, and partnerships.

    More specifically: We follow Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 guidelines and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act for products copyrighted 2022 or later. We’ve established comprehensive accessibility standards for creating products that are perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. We’ve built a roadmap for addressing accessibility issues in our existing MyLab and Mastering courses, and we’re doing extensive audits to remove barriers elsewhere. Our teams participate in rigorous, ongoing accessibility training. As of this writing, we offer nearly 900 accessible eTextbooks, and we’re working with T-Base Communications to accelerate delivery of top-selling Pearson titles in braille and reflowed large print.

    Finally, to make sure we truly understand what learners need, we work closely on an ongoing basis with key members of the disability and advocacy community, and with organizations such as W3C, DIAGRAM Center, DAISY Consortium, Benetech, and the National Federation of the Blind.

    Get what your learners deserve

    Delivering on these commitments to outcomes, equity, and accessibility requires extensive resources, skills, and commitment. Not all of the world’s courseware reflects these values. But we think today’s learners should expect no less – and neither should you.

    Explore new ways to help your students succeed.

  • Male student gazing into a desktop computer with a pen in hand.

    ChatGPT, YIKES!!!

    By Dr. Terri Moore

    Preventing cheating is a challenge we all face today given not only students’ ingenuity, but also the available student tools on the internet that publish tests and answers from many, many courses. And now there is... ChatGPT!!!

    Although it may be difficult to prevent cheating entirely, there are steps that can be implemented, reducing the impact of cheating for the student learning assessment process for online courses. 

    I’d like to share with you the practical tips I found from Northern Illinois’s Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning. These tips may help reduce cheating for the two most common uses of online learning assessments, which are testing and homework assignments.

    Tips for testing – using learning management systems

    Purposefully select assessment methods

    Use online objective tests like multiple choice, multiple answer, true/false are best implemented for lower stakes assessing student learning. In fact, these types of quizzes are often best used as student self-checks in preparation for higher stakes assessments. 

    When assessing student mastery of course goals and objectives, objective tests may not be the best option considered among a range of methods. While an objective test can measure a student’s ability to recall or organize information, other methods are far preferable for assessing the higher order/critical thinking skills including understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating.

    Mix objective and subjective questions

    Online testing using multiple choice, multiple answer, true/false, fill in the blank might be a part of a summative assessment of mastery that also includes short answer or essay questions. 

    These types of questions are more subjective in nature and demand a deeper understanding of the subject matter. Consider questions that allow students to demonstrate higher order thinking skills with the application of principles learned for unique situations. While mixing objective and subjective questions does not stop information sharing, it can limit the impact on the student’s final grade.

    Create your own question pools

    Rather than using a fixed number of items that remain unchanged for each administration of the test, consider creating a question pool using any institution’s learning management tools.

    Group questions by any number of criteria including topic, subject matter, question type or difficulty of the question. I would also suggest grouping questions according to the learning outcome associated with the question. 

    A pool will generate an assessment with randomized questions selected by the faculty member. Pools can be created from new questions or those in existing tests or pools. Pools are most effective when there are large numbers of questions in one particular group. For example, one might have a pool of true/false questions, another of multiple choice and a third for fill in the blank. 

    You might create an assessment drawing a specific number of questions from each of those pool categories. Faculty can also add new questions to pools each time the course is taught to expand the variability of questions. Conversely, older questions can be removed. 

    Randomize questions

    When creating a test using a learning management system, you are often given the option to randomize the selection of test questions as well as the order in which they appear. The benefit is that students are unlikely to get the same questions in the same sequence when taking a test. 

    This strategy addresses the issue of students who take a test at the same time in order to share answers. This is also relevant if faculty allows students to repeat the test. Each time this occurs, a test will be made up of questions that are randomly selected and ordered.

    Limit feedback

    When possible, you should limit what types of feedback are displayed to students upon completion of a test. Providing test scores is important feedback that indicates how well students have performed and should be made available. However, through a process of elimination, students may be able to determine the correct answer for each test question if their submitted answers are identified as incorrect. Or if the correct answer is provided.

    Students could lose the incentive to both prepare for testing or to seek correct answers by reviewing lecture notes, assigned readings, or through a group discussion after completing tests. Thus, faculty might reconsider whether to include ‘Submitted Answers’ as an option to be displayed to students. 

    This is especially relevant if faculty have allowed students to repeat tests. Each time a test was taken, students could attempt a different answer for a test question that was previously graded as incorrect. Correct answers to all test questions could eventually be accumulated and passed on to other students, or to students of future classes. Or answers could be posted to some online site where students can access exams from a vast number of courses and subjects.

    Set timer

    We have to recognize that students taking an unproctored exam are free to use open book/notes. So you might decide to use time limits if allowed in the learning management system. Students who adequately prepared for a test may well be less likely to rely on open book/notes compared with students unprepared for testing. By setting a test with an expected completion time, unprepared students could have the most to lose as they spend time going over material, and risk not having sufficient time to respond to all the test questions.

    Display questions one-at-a-time

    If a test has more than 5 questions, do not choose the ‘All at Once’ option for displaying all the questions on the same screen. It is quite easy for students to take a screen capture of the displayed questions and share them with other students. While students can still screen capture pages with single questions, or even type them into a document, it is more time consuming and unwieldy.

    Tips for homework assignments: assessing student progress and mastery

    Create application assignments

    Create assignments that require students to apply essential course concepts to a relevant problem. This encourages students to seek relevant information beyond the assigned readings and lectures and conduct independent research by identifying credible sources to support the development of their assignments. 

    Students can be required to report their progress on a regular basis through email, or through the journaling assignments offered in any Revel titles. This documentation makes it easier for faculty to see the development of a student’s work from inception to completion. In addition, it may possibly identify unexplained gaps that could occur if students used the work of others and claimed it as their own. 

    Faculty can add input at any point in this process to provide guidance, and perhaps suggest new directions for students. Both documentation of progress through regular status reporting and occasional faculty input can add a greater level of scrutiny to students. This can make it more difficult to pass off the work of others as their own. I use this method in my psychology courses by using my learning management system’s Discussion Forums. I require responses that use proper APA and documentation as well as student to student comments.

    Create group assignments

    Create group assignments that require students to interact with group members regularly. Groups can be made responsible for determining the functional roles for each member, establishing a mechanism for accountability (i.e., submitting weekly progress reports), and sharing drafts of individual progress on a group project. For a project to be truly collaborative, each group member should be familiar with everyone else’s work, and be able to describe how every group members’ contribution supports the whole group assignment. 

    Students who are using the work of others may not be able to adequately describe the significance of their ‘own’ work, or how it contributes to the group’s overall project. Group projects for me have been improved with online students using the Revel tool, Shared Media. I’m able to group students and have them submit a shared document or recording for evaluation. 

    Create assignments that require presentations

    Conduct asynchronous online assignments for class presentations. This is easily accomplished with the same Shared Media tool in Revel. I have been using this video upload tool for over 13 years with my public speaking students. 

    Students may be asked to submit a progress report or use a Journal to reflect on what they have learned in the past week that supports work toward the presentation. You might consider using a discussion forum for these progress reports where classmates can contribute to one another. 

    To further scrutinize work on the presentation, students may be asked to include time for questions and answers. Students who have developed the presentation should be comfortable answering a range of topic-related questions from an arranged audience. I required my speech students to have an audience of 7 adults and include a Q&A that is captured on video as well as their speech presentation.

    Check for plagiarism using SafeAssign

    SafeAssign is a remarkable plagiarism prevention tool that detects matches between students’ submitted assignments and existing works by others. These works are found on a number of databases including ProQuest ABI/Inform, Institutional document archives, the Global Reference Database, as well as a comprehensive index of documents available for public access on the internet. 

    SafeAssign can also be used to help students identify how to attribute sources properly rather than paraphrase without citing the original source. Thus, the SafeAssign feature is impressive and effective as both a deterrent and an educational tool. 

    Using any of the Writing Assignments in the Revel tool can have this Safe Assign evaluate any submission for plagiarism.

    Use discussion assignments

    Creating Discussion Board assignments require students to demonstrate critical thinking skills by responding to a relevant forum topic. 

    You may also design a rubric that is specific to the Discussion Board assignment and develop questions that require students to respond to every rubric category. 

    Having assignments that are very specific makes it more difficult for students to use portions of a previous term paper or other sources. 

    Include academic integrity policy statement in the course syllabus

    As faculty we need to include a policy statement regarding academic integrity in the course syllabus. 

    In addition, reiterate academic policies for students taking an online course and clarifying guidelines for completing tests and assignments so that students are not confused about what they can and cannot do.

    While this, in and of itself, may not be sufficient to change behavior, its acknowledged presence in the syllabus acknowledges a commitment to honesty in the academic arena. It also establishes the clear expectation that academic integrity is an important principle to live by. 

    Faculty may also choose to mention this policy using the ‘Announcements’ feature in any of your learning management systems, or while conducting a live web conference session.

    Learn More

    Preserving academic integrity is an ongoing challenge for traditional face-to-face, blended, and courses that are entirely online. While a number of expensive technology solutions, such as retinal eye scanners and live video monitoring have been developed to prevent cheating in online courses, the practical recommendations above can reduce the impact of cheating on assessing student performance online. 

  • A group of students talking at a table.

    How To Make Group Projects More Valuable (and Less Terrible!)

    By Cathy Evins

    Admit it, group projects can be a drag--not only for your students, but also for you as the instructor. So why do we do them? To quote one of my class alums, “Life is one big group project.” Working with others in an academic, professional, and personal settings is unavoidable. We as instructors know there is inherent value for students in doing group work, but too often a poorly designed project allows for the negatives to overshadow the benefits.

    Let’s first acknowledge the most common complaints we hear from students about group projects.

    “Why are we doing this?”

    “I do all the work.”

    “I don’t have time for this.”

    “My partners ghosted me.”

    “Why does he also get an A when I contributed more?”

    “I just want to do my own thing in my own way.”

    “This topic is not what I want to do nor the group I want work with.”

    Frankly, given the design of many group projects, these are often valid complaints. No student wants to feel burdened by a seemingly pointless and time-consuming project that has unfair grading. How can we design group projects that will be a positive experience for students (and for us), show them the benefits of collaboration, and give them to tools needed to deal with challenges that may arise? I’ve included a data analysis group project in my Quantitative Literacy course for 20 years. Having redesigned, revised, modified tweaked, adjusted, and adapted it many times over those years, let me share with you what I’ve learned.

    How To Make Group Projects More Valuable (and Less Terrible!):

    • Transparency. Take the time to explain the intention, purpose, and objectives of the project, specifically the benefits of collaboration as well as the potential challenges and how you will deal with them. Have a clear grading rubric for each part of the project.
    • Incorporate low stakes group work throughout semester. Smaller, “one off” group experiences, even just “compare your answer with your neighbor” or “think, pair, share,” prepare students for the larger project to come. Once the larger project begins, they will have built rapport with their fellow students and seen some of the benefits of collaboration.
    • Give students some choice in topic and/or group members. In my course, I give students a few topics to choose from. The students who choose the same topic constitute the group. By choosing the same topic, group members start with something in common.
    • Start with individual work. Start the project early in the term with a few building block assignments that students complete on their own first. Give a grade, feedback, and the opportunity to revise that work before the group portion begins. This guarantees each student has something to contribute to the final product.
    • Provide time for group work during class. Scheduling time to meet with other students outside of class can be a big challenge, especially for students with heavy class loads, jobs, and/or family responsibilities. Schedule some time during class for the group, even it is just time to assign tasks to be done by individuals between class meetings or time to check in on progress. This can keep members on task and on schedule. Also, it gives you the opportunity to monitor participation and progress among the group members. When all work is done outside of class, you have no idea who has done what and how much each member contributed.
    • Use technology. Utilize Google docs, messenger apps, or Groups on your learning management system. These are great ways for students to communicate, share work, give and receive feedback, and edit work between in person meetings.
    • Follow up with individual reflection. After submission, ask students to reflect on the experience—what went well, what was challenging, how well did they work with others, what did they contribute to the final product, what did they learn, what will they take to their next group project experience, any suggested changes to the project.
    • Not same grade for all group members. For example, 25% of final project grade is based on the individual assignments, 10% based on participation in group portion, 10% on individual reflection, and 55% of grade based on final product produced by the group.

    A well-designed project can mitigate the common complaints about group work and enhance the benefits. By giving students a choice and a voice, opportunities to help and be helped, flexibility and agency, and support and freedom, you just might find out how to make group projects more valuable.

    Share your thoughts and ideas on group projects in the comments.

  • Young woman with glasses, sitting outside with a laptop, smiling at her phone

    The top 5 Revel features you should be using

    By Pearson

    Looking for an easier, more dynamic way to inspire your students’ learning? Revel® teaching and learning platform from Pearson will feel like a joy compared to textbooks as it integrates videos and dynamic interactives into compelling digital narratives.

    The platform keeps your students on pace, provides a clear view of their engagement and performance, and is easily accessed from the first day of classes. It puts them in the digital driver’s seat and on a smoother road to success.

    Revel improves students' course grades and exam scores. In our numerous research studies, the data show that students who engage with Revel are more prepared for class and get better grades. In addition, instructors benefit when they use Revel performance data to identify struggling students.

    Taking a moment now to learn about Revel’s top features can help improve the learning experience for your learners of today and tomorrow.

    Revel’s top 5 features —

    1. Educator Dashboard: offers an at-a-glance look at overall class performance. It helps instructors more easily identify and contact struggling and low-activity students, ensuring that the class stays on pace. By identifying at-risk students you can implement early intervention strategies to help them succeed in the course.

    2. Embedded Assessments allow for practice and review, improving comprehension, filling learning gaps, and providing feedback. Students can practice and quiz themselves to review concepts while easily assessing their understanding to better prepare.

    3. Shared Writing Assignments foster critical thinking through writing without significantly impacting your grading burden. Throughout each narrative, self-paced journaling prompts encourage students to express their thoughts without breaking stride in their reading.

    Assignable shared writing activities direct students to share written responses with classmates, promoting peer discussion. Essays integrated directly within Revel allow you to assign the precise writing tasks they need.

    4. Shared Media Assignments enable instructors and students to post and respond to videos and other media. Students can also record and upload their own presentations for grading, comments, or peer review.

    Video quizzes engage students while checking their understanding of concepts. Instructors can share videos accompanied by time-stamped multiple-choice questions.

    5. Instructor App enables instructors to easily view performance insights and contact struggling and low-activity students to help them get back on track – anytime, anywhere.

    Teaching tools to love —

    Inspiring active learning enables students to explore, contextualize information, and apply concepts as they read. It unlocks students’ curiosity and immerses them in subjects, reading and practicing in one continuous experience. Research shows this approach leads to higher recall of key concepts versus passive engagement alone.

    Notetaking, highlighting and more make learning fully digital and highly engaging, providing students everything needed for a course — through one continuous, integrated learning experience. Highlighting, note taking, and a glossary let them read and study however they prefer. Instructors can add notes, too, including reminders or study tips.

    Monitoring student progress allows educators to monitor student progress on assigned reading, which is a good indicator of how the class is doing. By tracking reading and having the option to make it a percentage of the final grade, they can hold students accountable and keep them on track.

     

    It's a smooth ride to the future with Revel. Read how from other instructors and the impact Revel has had in their classroom and the lives of their students:

  • Man with dark hair and glasses using a laptop while sitting on a couch

    The top 7 Mastering features you should be using

    By Pearson

    Upon mastering a course, it’s etched in our minds along with much satisfaction and pride. That’s what happens for faculty and students alike using Pearson’s Mastering® platform. It supports active, engaging, and immersive experiences while lightening the teacher’s workload.

    You will see its interactive tutorials, real-time analytics, and tailored feedback become indispensable tools as you help prepare students for their academic journeys.

    We’ve rounded up seven of Mastering’s best features that are sure to help the way you teach, engage, and ensure your students success.

    7 Mastering features you can start leveraging today —

    Dynamic Study Modules pose a series of question sets about a course topic that adapt to each student’s performance and offer personalized, targeted feedback to help them master key concepts. They can use their computer or the MyLab and Mastering app to access Dynamic Study Modules. Available for select titles.

    Early Alerts help identify struggling students as early as possible — even if their assignment scores are not a cause for concern. With this insight, you can provide informed feedback and support at the very moment students need it, so they can stay — and succeed — in your course.

    Gradebook records all scores for automatically graded assignments. Struggling students and challenging assignments are highlighted in red, giving you an at-a-glance view of potential hurdles students may face throughout your course.

    Performance Analytics track student performance against specified learning outcomes at both the individual student and class level. Mastering problems are tagged to publisher-provided learning outcomes or added to course-specific, department-wide, or institution-wide learning outcomes.

    Learning Catalytics allows you to pose a variety of questions to help students recall ideas, apply concepts, and develop critical-thinking skills. Students can respond using their smartphones, tablets, or laptops.

    Pearson+ Channels feature an interactive hub of expert-curated short videos and practice materials providing best-in-class content for any student seeking more knowledge in a specific topic or subtopic. In addition to testing their knowledge with practice questions created by Pearson experts, users can visit the social community and discuss certain topics in message threads, ask for help with practice problems, and rank the videos and practice materials.

    Scheduled Reading assigns a chapter or specific section to hold students accountable for their reading and help them prep for lectures, homework, and quizzes. Scheduled Readings populate to each student’s assignment page, and you can now link readings directly to Mastering assignments.

    With real-time insights from Mastering’s analytics dashboard, you can personalize your lectures and labs, keeping pace with student life today while helping to boost student performance.

    By putting more Mastering tools to work, you can help develop more confident, competent learners eager to embrace complex scientific challenges through mindful, meaningful ways and help them improve results.

    See for yourself just how purpose-built Mastering truly is.

     

  • Instructor engaging with class

    The top 6 MyLab features you should be using

    By Pearson

    As an instructor, shouldn’t you have the flexibility, ease, and control to customize your own courses? That’s what MyLab® from Pearson offers as a teaching and learning platform. It’s purpose-built to help advance the way you teach through a robust set of features while transforming the way students learn.

    Yet, with so many available features and so little downtime, it can become quite challenging to stay apprised of lesser-known or newer features, many that help you better engage with students, improve your pedagogy, and drive academic success for all students. That’s why we’re here to help.

    We've compiled a list of the top six MyLab features we suggest incorporating to level up your MyLab course, boost student success, and maximize your time in the classroom.

    6 MyLab features you can start leveraging today —

    Freehand Grader

    Freehand Grader enables you to gain deeper insight into your students’ thinking with Freehand Grader. This new assignment type creates an authentic assessment experience for both instructors and students.

    With Freehand Grader, your students can upload their hand-written assignments, illustrate their thought processes, and receive meaningful feedback on their approach. Because it's not simply about how they arrived at the answer but the process.

    Dynamic Study Modules

    Dynamic Study Modules help your students stay on track and achieve a higher level of subject-matter mastery. Each module poses a series of questions about a course topic that adapts to each student's performance and offers personalized, targeted feedback to help reinforce their mastery.

    With real-time feedback on their performance, you can adjust your lectures to meet learners where they are and where they’re headed. In addition, students can use their computers or learn on the go with the MyLab app. Available for select titles.

    Pre-built Courses and Assignments

    Pre-built Courses and Assignments ease your workload, save time, and increase efficiency with MyLab’s pre-built courses and assignments. Each course has a foundation of interactive course-specific content — by authors who are experts in their field — to tailor and adapt as you see fit.

    Now, whether building your course from scratch or leaning on our pre-built collection, your lessons are in your control.

    Early Alerts

    Early Alerts help you identify students who may be struggling or falling behind in your course sooner with Early Alerts. This feature leverages an algorithm within MyLab that projects risk levels, and alerts you when a student may be falling behind.

    With these insights, you can intervene, provide support, and help keep students on track to complete the course.

    Learning Catalytics

    Learning Catalytics help to increase student engagement and enhance their learning in the classroom. This interactive student response tool allows you to deploy questions and surveys, and assess student comprehension. It also equips you with real-time data to help adjust your instructional strategy on the fly.

    Plus, Learning Catalytics automatically groups students for discussion, team-based learning, and peer-to-peer learning.

    Pearson+ Channels

    Pearson+ Channels feature an interactive hub of expert-curated short videos and practice materials providing best-in-class content for any student seeking more knowledge in a specific topic or subtopic. In addition to testing their knowledge with practice questions created by Pearson experts, users can visit the social community and s discuss certain topics in message threads, ask for help with practice problems, and rank the videos and practice materials.

     

    Whether a novice or a MyLab expert, you’ll find much more to benefit and learn from with this teaching and learning platform — one that advances the way you teach and transforms the way learners learn.

    See for yourself just how purpose-built MyLab truly is. Learn more about MyLab.


  • A woman is sitting on some stairs outdoors, wearing headphones and looking at a tablet she is holding.

    They Might Not Read It, But They’ll Always Watch It!

    By Dr. Terri Moore

    The COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 revealed challenges for students and teachers worldwide. By the end of the 2021 school year, students in K-12 were months behind in math and reading. Students and teachers had faced changes in schedules, new teachers midyear, internet challenges, and Zoom exhaustion.

    These changes forced a sudden change in traditional teaching and learning styles. The digital transformation in education advanced exponentially, creating new opportunities for students to learn through video rather than solely for gaming.

    The value of video

    Teachers learned how to use videos to keep their students engaged. Video provides the much-needed flexibility and personalization to individualize learning experiences for specific student needs. Students benefit by watching at their own pace, anywhere, anytime, allowing them to stop, rewind, and play again to meet their needs.

  • Improve learning by adding video

    Improve learning by adding video

    By Pearson

    Video is everywhere. With more than a billion hours of video footage viewed on YouTube every day,1 it is a medium that most students are both familiar and comfortable with. The question is not whether to use videos in higher education, but how to use them to improve learner outcomes.There is plenty of research that touches on the role of video in learning, and there are even some studies that specifically examine the different ways of using video in university or college courses.

    After reviewing and analyzing this research, we’re confident that most higher education courses could improve learner outcomes by supplementing instruction and other learning content with relevant educational videos.

    Here are three reasons why.

    1. Students want to learn from videos

    Video is part of higher education even when it’s not officially part of the learning experience. Some higher education students prefer videos to written sources and many will seek out subject-related videos on YouTube, even when they’re not assigned.

    In a survey of hundreds of business students:

    • 71% said they used YouTube as part of their academic learning
    • 70.5% believed they could learn a lot about a subject by watching related videos instead of reading a book2

    In a 2020 study, a group of higher education students was given 30 minutes of online research time to learn enough about a topic to write a brief summary. On average, the students spent 8.5 of their 30 minutes watching videos. Only 15.7% of the students watched no videos at all.3

    Studies also seem to show that the appeal of video is not limited to particular subjects or learning preferences.4 Whatever the course, and whatever the makeup of the student body, including videos can engage students in learning.

    2. Supplemental videos improve learning

    Videos clearly appeal to students, but do they actually help them learn? When combined with other learning methods, there is evidence that they can.

    A 2021 study looked at different ways of using videos in higher education courses. The researchers found that pivoting the course to video — dropping existing teaching methods and having students watch videos instead — did improve learning somewhat.

    But the biggest improvements came when video was added to the existing course content, rather than replacing it.5

    This may be because adding video gives students more ways to understand the content. If the learning didn’t take hold from a lecture or a written text, maybe it would from a video. Whereas when video replaced other methods, if a student didn’t grasp the content from the video, they had no alternative ways in.

    3. Videos can directly affect learning

    Does including videos improve learning by making the course more engaging, or do the videos themselves help improve learning? Understanding this helps determine the best types of video to include in higher education courses.

    A 2014 study experimented with integrating different types of videos into lectures. When the videos were mainly entertaining, students’ motivation and engagement improved. Higher motivation and engagement are associated with better learning outcomes.

    But when the videos were mainly educational and directly relevant to the lecture topic, students performed better on post-lecture quizzes than those who attended a lecture without videos.6

    This shows that while videos can affect learning by engaging students, they can also have a direct effect on students’ knowledge.

    Improving learning for students at all experience levels

    To summarize, based on a range of studies:

    • higher education courses should include videos
    • videos should supplement, not replace, existing course content and instruction
    • videos should be educational in nature and directly relevant to the subject

    When videos are integrated into higher education courses in this way, students — whatever their previous academic history — are more likely to outperform their predicted grades.7

  • How unlimited information actually limits learning

    How unlimited information actually limits learning

    By Pearson

    Once, students looking to supplement their knowledge of a topic had to rely on the limited selection of books in their college library. Today, college students have nearly unlimited information at their fingertips. But does more information always equal better learning?

    A number of recent research studies suggest that in fact, providing students with a more limited set of high-quality resources chosen specifically for the course can lead to better outcomes than when students supplement their knowledge using the internet. Importantly, it may also help to level out inequities in the learning environment.

    It’s true that there is a large amount of high quality information available online, on nearly every topic imaginable. It’s also true that searching, assessing, filtering, and making use of online resources are valuable 21st-century skills. So it’s understandable when higher education courses call for students to look online for sources to cite, or to supplement their knowledge of the course subject.

    But that’s just the thing: finding information online and judging its reliability are skills in themselves. This complicates learning, because:

    • not all students in the course will have those skills to the same degree
    • they’re not usually the skills the course is teaching (or assessing)

    Reliable, or just familiar?

    As you may expect from a group of people who have largely grown up with the internet, higher education students know that not everything they find online is reliable. They do think about the origins of the information they find, and judge whether they are credible.

    However, students don’t always know how to make these kinds of judgments accurately.

    In one 2020 study, higher education students were provided with several items from different sources and prompted to write about the items’ perspectives. More than 2 in 5 of the students (41%) assumed that certain items were credible because they recognized the source.1 They thought they were judging the reliability of the information, but were really rating the familiarity of the sources.

    Another study, also published in 2020, asked economics students to use a search engine to investigate the truth of several claims. Again, these students ended up relying heavily on sites they were familiar with, rather than truly valid or reliable sources. Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of their most cited sources was Wikipedia.2

    Of course, not all students make the same mistakes. For example, a 2017 study found that students who score higher for reading comprehension are also more likely to find relevant, valid results when using search engines.3 Students with previous experience of searching for academic sources may also be more accurate judges of the information they find.

    But this presents another challenge to learning. It means that in courses that ask students to supplement their subject knowledge by searching the internet, those with lower reading comprehension and less academic experience are at an unfair disadvantage.

    Best use of effort

    Even with sophisticated search engines, sifting the vast quantities of information on the internet for relevant sources takes time and effort. So does assessing the reliability of each source.

    These activities also add to students’ cognitive load: the amount of brainpower needed to complete a task.

    Students’ time, effort, and cognitive load are all finite resources. What they expend on finding and assessing sources, they aren’t using to actually increase their knowledge.

    All of this means that providing students with a hand-picked suite of high quality resources, chosen specifically for the course, is better for learning than leaving them to find their own online.

    Providing learning resources as part of the course levels the playing field. Students with different levels of reading comprehension and academic experience will all have equally valid, reliable materials to learn from.

    And because students tend to trust material provided as part of the course, they won’t use up time, effort, or cognitive load gauging whether the material is reliable.

    All in one

    This isn’t a call to send students back to the college library. Even if the world wide web isn’t the best environment for learning, there are still clear benefits to digital learning.

    In fact, digital platforms allow us to free up even more of students’ cognitive load for learning: by providing suites of reliable resources under the same roof as learning and assessment.

    _____________________________________

    This is the thinking behind Pearson+. No switching, searching, or wondering where to look. Everything needed for the course, all in one place – leading to better, more equitable outcomes for all.

     

    Sources

    1 Banerjee, Zlatkin-Troitschanskaia, & Roeper, 2020

    2 Nagel et al., 2020

    3 Hahnel et al., 2017