By the time the average next generation student completes college, he or she would’ve spent more than 10,000 hours playing video games and 20,000 hours watching television, sent and received more than 250,000 e-mails and text messages. Can you guess how much time he or she would’ve spent reading? Less than 5,000 hours. In a world full of digital distractions, it is a challenge for educators to keep learners engaged. Traditional e-learning programs seem to have missed the boat on the engagement factor. Narrators are just talking heads. Avatars are plain boring. Sound effects are canned. It’s blah, blah, blah and click Next to yawn. Essentially “sit and get” (that too only if the student hasn’t zoned out after screen 3).
CompassLearning (a WRC Media group company) seeks to differentiate itself by offering programs that engage and educate. The company has created programs based on a concept called Interactive Conversation Interface (iCi), pronounced “icky.” This concept simulates a conversation with digital devices engaging the user in the content. Says Josh Braun, Vice-President of Product Development at CompassLearning, “You can have the best pedagogical approach you want, and can cover all the standards, but at the end of the day, if the students are going to zone out, it’s all for naught.”
Examples of iCi
Reading Grades 3 - 4
Synonyms: Interactive Guided Instruction
Synonyms: Quiz 1
Reading Grades 5-6
Greek and Latin Root Words: Interactive Guided Instruction
State Simulation Test 1
Idioms: Let Me Practice
State Simulations Test 2
Josh adds, “Interactive Conversation Interface has helped our customers’ students become engaged in the content, which from our perspective is essential to learning, because if you can’t grab them, you can’t keep them interested.”
“When we now go to a school district to present this product, and discuss what people have seen in the e-learning space for the last ten years, we can now say, ‘What would happen if we did things differently? What would happen if we used the power of conversation to convey meaning? What would happen if we used the power of story?’ You start to see people nodding as you’re talking to them about this, but usually that’s where the conversation stops. No one’s ever then taken the next leap like we have and said, ‘Let me show you the power of conversation in the context of presenting instruction on main idea. Let me show you what that looks like in the context of this standard.’ When the power of conversation and story are presented, people start to see the connections being made. It’s a very powerful way to differentiate CompassLearning.”
Disclosure: CompassLearning is a client of Tata Interactive Systems.
(Sriram Narayanan, the author of this post, is a senior instructional design professional with Tata Interactive Systems.)