Every great teacher does them, and your learning app should too
Education technology will never replace great human teachers. But a great learning app can and should model the methodology of a great teacher.
What does a great teacher do? Well, a lot of things—depending on the subject and the teaching environment. But regardless of what’s being taught—or where—if you observe great teachers in action, you’ll see them consistently do three things:
A great teacher effectively demonstrates the subject matter being taught.
A great teacher breaks down each topic into its simplest parts and explains the what, the why, and the how of each part.
A great teacher asks relevant and incisive questions at the right time.
And here’s the key takeaway: they do these three things all at once. The best teachers know these things are not separate activities. Great teachers seamlessly weave the right amount of explanation into their demonstrations and ask the right questions—at the right time—to increase the probability that what’s being seen and heard is being understood.
That’s the art—and the magic—of great teaching. And that’s what your app should do.
An app built for learning should be designed for teaching
At Filmbook, we believe that learning apps should be built for learning—not just learning management.
In short, an app built for learning must be designed for teaching.
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Does your learning app really teach?
If the purpose of education technology is to extend the reach of teaching and learning, shouldn’t learning apps do these same three things in an integrated way?
Demonstrate, Explain, Question
Let’s start with demonstrate.
Of course, your app uses video. That’s baseline these days. Video is great when you need to demonstrate a procedure, so you’ve got the first essential.
But don’t assume that watching a video is the same as learning from it. Learning is more than simple media consumption.
Does the app break down that video into its simplest parts and explain each part? If not, then your app is missing the second essential—a clear step-by-step explanation of what and how, along with why. Knowing why something is important helps a student care enough to remember it.
And how about quiz questions? Questions are basic to any learning app, and they typically come in the form of an assessment at the end of a module.
Of course that’s important, but if the questions aren’t also integrated with the demonstration then you’re missing another essential of learning—the power of a question to focus the student on the most important idea being shown at each critical point in a demonstration. The right question at the right time helps a student filter out the secondary visual information in a video to focus on the key points.
The three essentials in action
So, what does this look like in an app?
Here’s an example demonstration from the Filmbook® State Board app:
At any point in the film, students can flip up the page to show the step-by-step explanation of what, why, and how:
Here’s a demonstration with an integrated question from the Filmbook State Board app:
The Filmbook mobile learning platform teaches by seamlessly synchronizing film demonstrations, explanatory text with images, and questions in a beautiful, functional mobile app.
The Filmbook methodology is most effective for teaching a performance-based skill. So, your astrophysics and history lecture videos are probably fine just where they are.
But if you’re involved in training a vocational workforce, you might want to look to the past—and the tried-and-true methods of great teachers—as you imagine the learning future.
—Neal Tillotson, Filmbook CEO