Just call it active learning!

Posted on March 1, 2016


I was cruising ALEKS info and tripped over this gem of a paragraph:

Explanations in ALEKS are different from what you will find in most textbooks, because they are always the step-by-step solutions of particular problems. They are designed for use when you are working on a particular problem and get stuck, or make a mistake. When you refer to an ALEKS explanation for help with a problem that you are working on, you can quickly compare it with the steps you followed and find where the mistake or misunderstanding occurred. You can then go back and try again with a new problem and a better understanding of the method you should use to solve it. Note that ALEKS is focused on **active** learning. It is not necessary for you to read the explanation before beginning to work on problems for a new topic; you can do that if you prefer, but most of the time you will know enough about the new topic to attempt it right away, and then go to the explanation for support and help as needed. Please note as well that the explanations contain links to the definition of key terms, and sometimes also “Quick Notes” that expand on the more interesting or important steps in the solution of the problem.

Okay, first, y’all don’t know from pronouns.   The “they” in the first sentence — to which explanations are they referring?  ALEKS, or “Most Textbooks”?

Infer that ALEKS is what you’re talking about… it is different from textbooks and how?   Well, because it (only) explains how to get through that problem that you’re stuck on, and the next problem will look just like it so you’ll be able to get it right.

And now… this is “active” learning!!!   “Most of the time you will know enough about the new topic to attempt it right away.”

Really? Why?   Well… because it looks almost exactly like the one before.   THere’s nothing in those explanations about what it *means.*   That’s, somehow, not “active” learning.   Active learning, it would seem,  is  getting your assignment done without having to *read* anything.

Wonder what these guys think “research-based” means 😉


Posted in: ALEKS, math, Uncategorized