In conjunction with these perspectives on how to create a highly effective online learning platform that aligns to the specific needs of students, there is a corresponding area of research that concentrates on teaching resiliency in the teaching process. The work of Dr. Carol Dweck of Stanford University underscores the need for leading students to continually challenge themselves to grow and have a very strong growth mindset vs. A limited on. She draws on an empirically-derived research study that shows the greater the growth mindset of even the most talented and gifted mindset, the greater the long-term performance gains they make in life (Dweck, 2006). Her book, Mindset, challenges both students and teachers to create a culture of continual focus on excellence and continual striving to improve, never taking a closed or limited mindset to improvement. It is an inspirational book and shows that there is hope for continual improvement and gains for the most challenged student and a call to continual effort and excellence for the most gifted. She also provides many examples of how the most challenged and failing students were able to transform their own academic performance with the right coaching and mindset around growth relative to limited or negative boundaries placed on performance.
4. Pedagogical Goal
In an era of Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and the many other social networks there is a healthy amount of skepticism relative to the use of the Internet as a learning platform. Using advanced teaching platforms that allow for scaffolding in conjunction with shared collaboration, instructors can see the value of enabling greater communication and collaboration throughout a class. When instructors rely on positive reinforcement to underscore the need for students to help each other the entire culture and morale of a class can be transformed as well (Ahlfeldt, Mehta, Sellnow, 2005). In conjunction with the group-based learning platform, the use of scaffolding technologies is also critical to the success of students as well (Najjar, 2008). In the case of advanced mathematical and science courses these techniques have shown to be highly effective in creating a culture of continual growth and the ability to shift the mindset of students to achievement over failure (Dweck, 2006).
After proposing the use of online learning tools to a course, the response was overwhelming positive. The immediate response was that the interface of the learning platform was that it emulate Facebook in design and performance. While this is difficult to predict based on the availability of applications within the school district, it is apparent that the direction of software design encompasses usability as a very high priority. When classes were queried as to how often they would use the online tools for team projects, all said nightly. It became apparent from these discussions that Facebook and the current base of social media applications has changed how students interrelate with each other, their parents, and extracurricular organizations including school clubs, church groups, and other social programs. The integration of a learning platform into this broader base of experience can lead to a greater level of autonomy, mastery and purpose being achieved in their work (Greenwood, Horton, Utley, 2002).
6. Impact on Student Learning
Creating learning platforms that enable greater aligning of individualized lessons to the needs of students shows significant potential to increase long-term learning effectiveness (Najjar, 2008). Making these platforms as easy to use and understand while providing immediate feedback of performance in the form of gamificaiton can also lead to greater adoption. In conclusion, using online learning platforms to enable greater levels of comprehension and generate higher levels of autonomy, mastery and purpose in all subject areas shows potential in helping underperforming students to improve and high performance students ot stay challenged.
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