March 25, 2020
Ensure your children are learning online with these six steps from the Bloom model.
To reduce the spread of the novel Coronavirus, schools across the U.S. have closed their doors, turning millions of families into “homeschoolers" overnight and leaving parents wondering how they can ensure their children succeed while learning online.
A gold-standard of instructional design, the Bloom model is an easy-to-apply process to evaluate topic mastery. In otherwords, it measures how well your child understands what they just learned. Students don't move forward with a lesson until they complete each of the six steps. By coaching your children up Bloom's mastery pyramid, you can feel more relaxed they are learning effectively.
Here's an overview of the six-step process to evaluate if your child is making the most of online learning:
Begin by discovering your child's baseline on each topic by simply asking what they remember from the last lessons. The act of remembering is a pivotal step in the learning process and the foundational building block towards meeting goals.
End online sessions with "exit slips" (aka quizzes). They are part of “formative assessment," a key concept of the mastery model that assesses how well the child understands the lesson. In mastery learning, quizzes or “exit tickets" aren't “do-or-die" but a tool to determine if more instruction is required. Edutopia.org offers a list of quick formative assessment tools, like using one-minute writing and open-ended assessment questions, like “What are three things you learned, two things you're still curious about, and one thing you don't understand?"
Reinforce and measure online learning by incorporating lessons into everyday activities, to see if your student can apply their new knowledge. For younger kids, projects can be as simple as counting the number of panes of glass or lamps in your house, or measuring ingredients for meals. For older kids, offer more advanced options like presentations, models or experiments to demonstrate they can incorporate lessons into the real world.
Holding a conversation or discussion is the best way to find out if a child can analyze an online lessons. Educational sites offer great questions to start post-lesson conversations, which can help you determine if it's time to move to the next concept. Questions test a student's ability to compare or contrast and solve problems using the concept or lesson. In addition to talking about the topic, parents can ask kids to write a letter to a friend (or an email) about the lessons.
Next to the top of the pyramid is the ability to evaluate the material presented. Through conversation, essays or other group discussion, encourage your student to explore open-ended questions like: “Is there a better solution?" or “What would you have done in this case?" Measuring, evaluating and re-framing are great metrics for recognizing if your child is able to truly own and engage with the material at hand.
The highest level of Bloom's Taxonomy is the ability to create something new from the knowledge gained. This is the perfect time to blend online and IRL learning and give your younger kids screen-free time to write, plan, invent, compose and assemble. For older kids, creating a podcast, wiki or online tutoring are engaging ways to demonstrate the ultimate level of mastery.
“Keep calm and study on" is the motto of students and families impacted by their new normal. With this six-step evaluation process, you can hopefully feel confident that your students have mastered their subjects and will be ready to return to school when the pandemic has passed.