The last tip for online learning identified in a study conducted by the Marzano Research Laboratory (MRL) is also the only tip in the strategies addressing content category. Tip #13 is all about making sure students have the resources they need to succeed.
About the study
The study, A Study of Best Practices in Edmentum Online Solutions, evaluated the relationship between student learning and effective teacher pedagogical practices in online learning. The study specifically looked at Edmentum’s online solutions in three instructional settings—pure virtual, blended, and classroom/lab—across four purposes: original credit, credit recovery, intervention, and Advanced Placement®.
Tip #13: Adding external resources to assignments aligned to local objectives
There is no doubt that education has expanded in the past decade or so. Where it used to be that curricula was centered around a textbook which didn’t offer much in the way of real-world experiences, now the focus has shifted to immersive educational experiences that better reflect what students will see once they leave school. In this age of information, students are usually spoiled for choice when looking for resources other than what is provided in class.
Yet, some teachers still want to control everything that comes into their classrooms and the resources used to reach their educational objectives. This methodology simply doesn’t reflect the times.
What are the best ways to give students additional external resources?
However, it is to the benefit of both the students and the teacher for some filtering to occur when students are seeking outside resources for assignments and projects. If possible, the teacher should provide instruction not only in the curriculum but also in information gathering relative to their subject area.
Using a class website, blog, or other link-sharing strategy, teachers should provide acceptable online options for students to consult in the course of their work. It’s not censorship; it’s optimizing the information-gathering process.
Students, particularly those in online learning settings, also need opportunities to unplug. Pointing out the local real-world resources available to further their studies is a great way to get students to venture out. Even providing motivation in the form of extra credit or extra time on assignments could work to get students to experience the outside world.
When do students need to receive these external resources?
It’s best for students to be able to consult outside resources throughout the course of their studies. After all, in the “real world,” they will be able to research as widely as they want during the progression of career projects without such constraints.
What are the roadblocks to giving students additional external resources?
Some resources, particularly online ones, simply aren’t reliable enough to be consulted in an education situation. A good use of time for early in the school year might be to instruct students on how to discern reliable information and resources that their particular subject area considers particularly consistent.
Want to see the rest of of the instructional strategies the Marzano Research Laboratory determined in the study? See all 13 Marzano best practices in online learning here.
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