Friday, 11 February 2011

Does blended learning increase student results? Yes, a case from the Tilburg University

During the innovation day at the university of Ghent, one of the speakers got my attention. Bob van den Brand from the Uni of Tilburg spoke about his experience in increasing student success thanks to blended instruction that was researched at the university of Tilburg.

The Uni of Tilburg (netherlands) had a challenge: big aula's who were populated with learners that were sometimes interested and showed attention, but most of the times the aula's were populated with a vast amount of bored learners. So Bob started looking for solutions that could get students interested again, and... if possible increase their grades while implementing the new techniques. And... it worked, after embedding web-lectures, web-excercises and video's into his lectures, an additional 15% of the students passed their exams.

His topic: accounting (no wonder students fall asleep! *joking, sorry nephew of mine*)
They tried out several strategies and looked at the results
First strategy: record everything and stream it.... it was okay, but this does not change the actual learning problems students can have.
Second strategy: only deliver movies from MAX 10 minutes, this had a positive effect.
Third strategy: he wanted to capture the attention of the students by using examples outside of the course, providing them to the students for individual or peer learning, and then focusing on questions and problems during the face-to-face sessions. And this strategy got 15% more students succeeding the exam.

Some hints he gives:
He is a firm believer in variation! Only with true variation (not simple details that change, but complete rethinking a concept angle).
The learning blocks need to be short as possible (which is liked by the students).
Give the students an extra if they create something: the students also had the possibility of getting bonus points/grades if they provided examples themselves (original examples).

Students could also access the exams afterwards, and look at them, which created an extra learning moment.

He suggests to start with small bitesize content: short, efficient and with a variety.
His format was a variety of online delivered content and actions, his blended approach:
live streaming

All of these five different stages got students more actively involved in the courses.

As an example of being creative and use variety, he mentioned that he did a bit on accounting while using Manchester United as the company to analyse.

Web-lectures e.g.:
All the movies were to the point (no polite intro's), integrated in LMS, with slides or relevant graphs.
In some web-lectures, the teacher wrote (digital pen) on the documents, to increase actual learning/teaching feeling.

web-consulting sessions: freely knitted with the other content. These sessions are meant to get questions and synchronous discussions going.

As a result of this research, he got an award in excellence in innovative learning award.

Tried to find some lecture content, but could not find it.