摘要:在Socratic公司,我们已经花费了三年时间开发出一款适合高中生使用的教育产品。本文会谈谈在这个过程中我们获得的经验教训。

在Socratic公司,我们已经花费了三年时间开发出一款适合高中生使用的教育产品。本文会谈谈在这个过程中我们获得的经验教训。

每天,美国的高中生会在学校待7个小时学习。几个小时做一些课外活动,然后回家花3个小时做作业。总而言之,学生三分之一的时间会用在学习上,而且他们成绩的很大一部分都决定于他们自己在课下的学习情况。

经过对数百高中生的采访和测试,我们总结一些学生们在做作业的时候的决策过程:

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看最后一步:抄答案!一旦走到这一步,这个学生啥也学不到,之后考试也不可能考得好,老师也没有认识到学生这个知识点是不会的,这个同学还能得到高分,这对其它辛苦写作业的同学是不公平的。

我们必须阻止学生走到第四步,但是我们怎样才能达到这个目标呢?

我们可以在前几个步骤就帮助到他,老师和家长还有制定政策的人都应该深刻的思索一下怎么样在教学和评估环节寻求改变,他们可以在步骤1和3进行改变。企业家呢,可以在步骤2帮助到学生们,那就是让学生能够自学懂材料

今天教育行业和2000年左右的娱乐行业很相似。因为下载更方便,所以电子音乐,电影和游戏的盗版猖獗。这个趋势在2010年得到了逆转,因为Pandora,Spotify和其他的机构让正版变得更加便宜和方便。

结果证明,盗版并没有给用户带来更好的体验。同样的,我们相信作弊也没有给学生带来更好的体验。

今天,学生们自学的资源分布是不太公平的:一些学生有家教,一些有可以帮上忙的父母,一些有聪明的朋友,但更多的学生周围没有可以帮助到他们学习的资源。尽管一个学生真的很想学,但是他很可能没有资源去学习。

不信的话,你大可以去问问老师们,有多少学生能够看课本自学。学生们用的最多的学习资料就是Google。而当学生们Google作业相关的问题的时候,他们往往会找到一堆看不懂又不可靠的答案,而这些答案往往又无法起到教学效果。

如果我们想要学生自学,我们必须做出更好的产品。我们已经认真思考过怎么开发出App帮助学生学习,而且浓缩成了三个要点:

 

方便使用

自己独立做作业已经是一项让人亚历山大的工作,更别提还要花很多时间去查资料了。因此我们必须要把APP做到更快,更灵敏。

速度就是力量。加载速度是非常重要的,尤其是在手机上。Google的一项调查显示,用户很快就抛弃了速度慢的网页,而在我们的测试中,40%的教育网站在手机上加载要超过5秒。

  • 支持图片和语音识别。AI技术的发展能够让语音和图片输入更加精准的被识别。这两项技术都能让学生们的问题更快的被系统识别,意味着寻找资讯的时间更少。
  • 设计支持移动端。显然现在的学生们都喜欢用移动设备上网,我们必须设计出基于移动设备的APP,并且让青少年乐于使用。

 

值得信任

学生们使用教育软件的时候,会评估它的投资回报率。他们会问自己:如果我投入了时间,我能学到我想学的内容吗?学生们应该能够迅速判断出这段内容对于他们学习的价值。

  • 读者的能够集中注意力的时间是非常短暂的,所以必须要即时吸引到读者。不幸的是,教学产品的设计常常假设学生们很热爱读书,能够很集中的去学习。
  • 将教学内容切分成小块。10个2分钟的视频效果远远比一个20分钟的视频好多的。而且取名字一定要足够吸引人。一个名字一定要尽可能的详尽。

 

易于理解

最后,文段内容一定要易于理解。学生们必须觉得这段文字简洁,吸引人而且有教育意义,而这些都是影响内容设计的重要因素。

  • 内容平实。尽量少用术语,冗长的语言去解释问题。要像跟5岁小孩解释问题去设计答案。
  • 保持简洁。当你将字数控制在150字的时候,会发现整个内容看起来完全不一样。如果把教科书上密密麻麻的字都移植到手机上来的话,没人会想看的。
  • 内容视觉化。最吸引人的内容往往都是高度视觉化的。图片可以成为有力的教学工具。如果可能的话还可以利用视频,但是有的时候学生不一定在可以看视频的地方。家庭作业有的时候会给学生带来很大的压力,但是我们相信能够让做作业变得更加有趣而且有价值。

学习内容可以通过加快加载速度,基于移动端的设计,搜索方式更灵活等来变得更方便。

如果你将文章细分,取更细致化的标题,并且用简单的语言,视觉化的内容和短小的句子,也能让学生们觉得你的内容更加可靠。

总而言之,帮助学生获得更好的成绩是一项长期又艰巨的任务。我们计划会花很长时间来研究这个项目。我们也很乐于和家长,老师和企业家一起沟通交流,共同让学习更加容易。

 

(本文来源Edsurge, 原文作者Christopher Pedregal和ShreyansBhansali,鲸媒体编译。)

 

原文如下:

How to Make Learning Easier than Cheating

 

This is a follow up to ‘Building an educational app? Read this first’. At Socratic, we’ve spent 3 years building educational products for high-school students. Here are some of the lessons we’ve learned.

 

Everyday, high school kids in the US spend 7 hours at school, a couple of hours doing extracurricular activities, and then go home to do 3 hours of homework.

In all, a third of a student’s total time spent studying, and often a meaningful portion of their grade, is based on self-directed, unsupported learning.

Over the course of hundreds of interviews and user-tests with high-school students, we’ve learned that while doing homework, students face the following set of decisions:

Getting to the last step, “Copy an answer!”, doesn’t serve anyone – the student fails to learn the material and will do poorly on a future test, the teacher isn’t alerted that the student needs help, and the student is awarded an inaccurate grade that is unfair to others.

We must stop students from hitting step (4), but how do we do that?

We can catch them on the previous steps. Educators, administrators, parents, and policy-makers are thinking deeply about changes to teaching and assessment, addressing steps (1) and (3). As entrepreneurs, we have an opportunity to affect step (2) – helping students learn the material they need on their own.

Today’s situation in education has a parallel to the entertainment industry in the 2000s. Piracy boomed as demand for digital music, movies, and games surpassed the options for convenient access. This trend eventually reversed in the 2010s, as Pandora, Spotify, and other services made it cheap and easy for consumers to legally access great content.

It turned out that “pirates [were] underserved customers”. Similarly, we believe most cheaters are underserved students. Students are living in the education equivalent of a pre-Spotify world.

Today, the ways students learn on their own is inequitable: some students have tutors, some have parents who can help, some have smart friends, many have no one. Even if a student is genuinely motivated to learn, it’s difficult to do this at home without help. If you don’t believe this, ask a teacher how many of their students can learn new concepts on their own from their textbooks. The most dominant educational tool for students is Google, and when students Google homework-related questions, the content they find is often hard to understand, unreliable, and not focused on teaching.

If we want students to learn on their own, we need to do better. We’ve thought hard about how student-focused apps and services could better serve struggling students, and have boiled it down to three key ideas.

 

Easy to access

Doing homework is stressful enough without having to spend hours looking for the right help. Help students get to content faster by making apps fast, intuitive, and flexible.

  • Speed is a feature. The importance of loading speed, especially on phones, cannot be overstated. According to Google, users quickly abandon apps that load too slowly. In our tests, 40% of educational pages take more than five seconds to load on phones!
  • Allow photo and voice input. Improvements in AI technologies are making voice and photo input increasingly more accurate. Both allow students to get their question into an app faster, meaning less time spent searching.
  • Design for phones. It’s clear that mobile phones are the device of choice for students. We need to design educational products that are native to mobile, and feel and work like the services teenagers use all the time.

 

Easy to trust

Students judge educational content by its perceived ‘return on investment’, and ask themselves: “Will I learn what I need from this content if I invest the time?” Students should be able to quickly judge the value of the content to their learning.

  • Don’t bury the lede. Newspapers have known for a long time that readers have short attention spans and need to be engaged immediately. Unfortunately, education content has often treated students as captive readers.
  • Put your content front and center. As an example of what not to do, try finding the answer to the question on this page.
  • Split content into small chunks. Ten 2-minute videos are better than one 20-minute video. And be thoughtful in how you name content. A title should give students as much context as possible: Finding the Inverse of a 3 x 3 Matrix using Determinants and Cofactors is a better title than Example of finding matrix inverse.

 

Easy to understand

Finally, content must be easy to learn from. A student reading the content should find it simple, engaging, and educational, all of which is affected by the design of the content.

  • Make content approachable.Avoid jargon, tangents, and lengthy explanations. Sites like Better Explained, the subreddit ‘Explain Like I’m Five’, and the Simple English Wikipedia all focus on simplicity and building intuition instead of presenting all the details.
  • Keep it short. Content needs to look different when you can only fit 150 words on the screen. A typical textbook would take 1,000 swipes to read on a mobile phone. No one wants to do that.
  • Make it visual. The most compelling experiences on phones are highly visual. Use images and animated gifs – they can serve as powerful teaching tools. If possible make use of video, but don’t always assume students are in a place where they can hear the audio.

Homework and other forms of self-directed learning can be stressful and challenging for students, but we believe there are many opportunities to make this process more engaging and valuable.

Content can be made more accessible by being faster to load, designed for phones, and flexible in how students can search for it. Content can be made easier to trust by putting the main points up front, and splitting up and naming content to be more specific to the student’s question. And finally content can be made better for learning by using simple language, visual aids, and keeping it short.

Helping students achieve better educational outcomes is a massive, long-term project. We plan to spend many more years working on it, and we’d love to hear from and engage in conversation with educators, parents, and entrepreneurs that are working to make learning easier.