Below is post I completed for a grad school class that takes a close look at two learning models/approaches and how they can be utilized in a multimedia environment: Personalized System of Instruction vs. Audio Tutorial Approaches
1. Similarities or differences between the theories/models? Do they share common foundations or principles?
The glaring similarity between the Personalized System of Instruction and the Audio Tutorial Approach is that most units are modeled toward mastery of specific objectives set forth by the designer or teacher. The learners have to be self guided and motivated in order to master the objectives and move on to the next section. Another similarity is that while these types of models do have a place in education, they are best suited for higher level education as they both seem to be difficult to facilitate in most K-12 public schools. They can both be very effective learning management systems if they are implemented with the right group of students who are highly motivated and self-directed.
The obvious difference is between the two models is that one uses a learning management system that is text based supplemented by additional materials and the other uses audio recordings supplemented by additional materials. Also, the Audio Tutorial Approach does allow for time when students and a teacher can meet to discuss face to face any issues that may be hindering their achievement of each objective. Likewise, the Audio Tutorial Approach creates a slightly more collaborative environment where students use jig-saw type activities to review and revise their understanding of the objectives.
Both systems are deeply rooted in common principles. The idea is that in both systems the more efficient, knowledgeable, skilled learner is not held “captive” because he/she has to wait for others to achieve or the teacher to allow them to move on. The models are set up to allow for self individualized instruction. Also, in my opinion, the systems are set up to overcome the fear of failure because you simply work to achieve before you can move on. The goal of each system is for the learner to achieve, and the learner must be motivated enough to continue to move forward even if it means re-learning and reviewing certain ideas a little bit longer.
2. Initial reactions to learning theories/models? Barriers to their use? Benefits to overcoming the barriers?
My initial reactions to both of these learning theories is that they will not work in a K-12 setting, especially at the middle school level. Then I realized that with the right students that aspects of these models could work well especially the Audio Tutorial Approach, which is very similar to the flipped model. If I asked students to listen/watch a recording of a short lecture such as this one then complete a set of tasks and a take quiz in class, the set up is very similar to the Audio Tutorial Approach where students listen, work, meet, assess, and move on.
The biggest barriers with both approaches at the K-12 level is that both models are designed for students who are self-motivated, and they require a lot of up front work that lacks the ability to build in differentiation. As a teacher, sometimes I have an idea of what I want to teach the next day, but my students needs may require re-teaching or me to go in different direction. The PSI and ATA models are very structured and do not allow for that type of flexibility. Likewise, I would probably have to add in additional motivating factors to get certain students to engage in either of these learning management systems.
However, if you are able to overcome the barriers, then most teachers would probably be able to teach many more students at a much more efficient pace. One teacher could teach many students at once that would allow for more students to enroll in the class. I’m still not sure how this would look at the K-12 level, but I know there are examples of this out there in today’s classroom, but until I see a successful model that reaches all types of students, then I’m not convinced either of these models are best suited for K-12 classrooms.
3. Would you attempt to use any of these theories/models with the students you are currently teaching or hope to teach in the future? Why or why not? Could elements of the theories/models be modified so that they would work with your current/future students?
I do not see myself using these models to replace anything that I already do in my classroom. The increased need for high motivation and a strong work ethic are so important in each of these models that not all of my students would respond well to either model. However, I could see myself using both of these models to help my students review towards the end of the year in just about any subject or grade level. If they know the material, they review and complete the assessment to move onto to the next objective. I could mix in elements of the ATA models with the PSI models to increase collaboration and mastery of the objectives.
As I stated earlier, I could see how elements of the PSI and ATA models could be modified to work with my current students. I am in the process of flipping my 8th grade SS classroom, and I am using some of the same principles that each of these models use. For example, I have my students watch a video, perform a task in class to apply the information they learned, and then they are tested to see if they are ready to move on. It’s the combination of motivational principles, self-guided work ethic, and objective based learning that makes ATA, PSI, and flipping very similar.
4. Since we’re taking learning theories/models that were not necessarily created with the Web in mind & turning them into Web modules, what Web-based tools/resources could be leveraged to carry out these learning theories/models online? Please spend some time identifying tools and resources for this last point, as this background research should help you complete your projects more efficiently.
To transition these models to web-based modules, my favorite tool of all time, WordPress, would be a great web-based tool to teach any content. There are so many plugins that allow you to manipulate the pages and posts within each blog that you would be able to create modules that students learn in, complete a task, and then are assessed before “unlocking” the next unit.
Some other great tools would be Google Sites, Edmodo, Glogster (for younger ages). Google sites would work very similarly to WordPress and many other blogging or website building platforms. Edmodo is similar to Facebook and has plenty of tools that teachers could use to create a web-based learning environment that allows students to master objectives as they move throughout the online module. Glogster would be neat – and unique – to try and attempt to create an online module for a younger audience if you are modeling your module after PSI or ATA models. You could simply create multiple, linked glogsters that allow you set up a learning management system similar to that of a web quest. Students would only be allowed to move onto the next glog after completing a series of tasks and mastering the set objectives.