How does a smart course differ from a traditional online course? It’s not just about adaptive unlocking and embedding multimedia elements. A true smart course integrates all these disparate elements into one seamless experience.
Think of your average online course or MOOC experience. It may involve watching videos or clicking through to another website or PDF. This may be followed by a trivia quiz that asks whether you recall superficial elements from the video or readings. If you’re lucky, you might have an interactive element that you can play with, but the system won’t know what you did with it or whether you even used it.
Is this the best we can do? We have what would have been considered supercomputers a few years ago in our pockets and backpacks, but in an educational setting, we don’t use these amazing tools to do anything much more complex than what we can do in a traditional classroom. We can model whole realities, but instead we create videos with trivia quizzes. We can do so much better.
Enter the Smart Course.
Typical online learning courses are developed in a content management system such as Blackboard, Moodle, or Canvas. These are good for managing and integrating existing content, but not particularly great for creating narratives or engaging game-like experiences. They simply help you manage and distribute existing content in a preset form factor and perhaps create some adaptive blocks based on whether students complete content or not.
Modern online learning experiences utilize what are known at intelligent tutoring systems (ITS). ITS systems give the instructor much more freedom when designing educational content. Imagine jumping from physical slides to Powerpoint. Physical slides limited the kind of content you could incorporate into your presentation. Powerpoint, meanwhile, allowed you to incorporate animations, video, and sound. ITS systems allow a similar leap in online teaching abilities. Rather than just creating static Powerpoint slides, you can create adaptive responses with alternative pathways. In more advanced settings, you can integrate interactive elements such as simulators and virtual field sites that the system recognizes and guides students through misconceptions.
Interested in teacher training or prototyping smart lessons or courses on ITS systems? Contact us!