Milestone Peer Evaluation: Effective online strategy for student success with macro learning

Concurrent Session 4
Streamed Session

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Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Student learning retention may be much higher with micro learning, but it cannot completely replace macro learning, approach necessary in college setting as well as in the workforce, for building complex foundational knowledge. Successful online education strategy which aims for reconciliation of both learning approaches is the Milestone Peer Evaluation.

Extended Abstract

Milestone Peer Evaluation is emerging as an effective strategy to deal with the challenge of getting students to accomplish large and complex learning projects. It is especially relevant for K-12 and Higher Ed teachers, because its effective online design and application leads to student success in macro learning, necessary for building complex foundational knowledge.  

Research has shown that how a class is designed and how a class is facilitated is more important to learning outcomes than the use of any particular learning management system or technology. The online classroom must be a welcoming and encouraging place, designed to engage students in the learning process. In order to create a welcoming and encouraging online classroom, it is important to build a sense of community among the students, in which everyone should know each other and be comfortable interacting and sharing. Studies have found that students who experienced a higher sense of community in their online course were more likely to achieve the learning outcomes.

The most effective way to get the maximum engagement out of learners is to present content using a variety of media but getting learners to interact with the course content is even better. All studies are showing that the most effective practice for creating a higher sense of community and connecting with teachers and peers occurs in discussions. Discussions are usually the most dynamic and interactive part of an online course, and this is the place where we, teachers, can be incredibly creative.

In the age of modern technology, students no longer want to spend hours sitting at a computer working through a course. The short response to that is the bite-sized learning, which is about breaking up the course into a series of smaller, more manageable modules. The learning retention levels for bite-sized courses are much higher, due to the shorter length of the content and ability for learners to retain information, as they are not being overloaded with information in one sitting. As many studies have shown, micro learning makes the transfer of learning more efficient, addresses the needs of Millennial learners, and creates 50 percent more engagement.

However, students will encounter larger projects that they need to work on in college setting as well as in the workplace. That means that besides providing information and engaging students through micro learning, one of our tasks as educators should also be to teach them how to complete projects that need more time and effort for comprehension and completion (essays, articles, worksheets, etc.). This can be successfully achieved by breaking up the more complex assignments into a series of smaller, more manageable discussion milestones, which engage students to interact, give feedback to each other in the developmental stages of their work, build the sense of community, and achieve the learning outcomes. One of the successful practices in accomplishing these objectives is the Milestone Peer Evaluation strategy.

This presentation will uncover secrets to an effective online design and application of the strategy which leads to student success. It will encourage participants to interact throughout the session in order to facilitate the discussion around this important topic.