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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

So, you want to build an online learn by doing course; now you can; our new GBS tool is free; build away


The world of teaching and learning has changed, but as the saying goes “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”

The media are full of stories about companies that are putting courses on line for universities which means that they are basically putting lectures on line. If you want to put your lectures on line and deliver them to large numbers of students, read no further as I have nothing to say about that (except to say that good lectures are typically just good entertainment, no one retains much from them. If you don’t believe me try re-telling a lecture you heard in college.)

What will change everything is something we call the GBS tool, the details of which will be explained later. The GBS tool enables anyone to build an online course that will teach a student to do something. What I mean by this is that the courses built using the GBS tool are not intended to convey information. The telling of information and testing to see if the student retained that information for a short period is an education model that has seen its day.

What will replace it?

When you learned to ride a bicycle, some older person held on to you when you started, guided you, gave you tips and eventually let you go on your own. This model of learning, guided practice, has been with us for a very long time. The “you listen while I tell you the latest theory and you take notes and then there will be test” model has been around for much less time. That model will go away when institutions that offer up the alternative model can find a way to exist financially. Right now lectures are money makers. (1000 students, one lecturer -- universities can do the math.)

The GBS tool allows anyone who wants to, build an online learning by doing course that includes guided practice and help from human mentors. In other words, the GBS tool lets you do on line what everyone does naturally with their own kids prior to sending them off to school.

Who is the GBS tool for?

There are many potential users of the tool.

1.    Professors, who know full well that students learn by doing and who would like to help students in their institution or possibly anywhere in the world, learn to do what the professor has expertise in doing.
2.    Teachers, who, although they may not have a lot of extra time on their hands, really have something they would like to kids to be able do, that they like to teach how to do, and would like to make their expertise available outside of school, inside of school, or wherever that skill might be sought after.
3.    Business experts, who would like to train employees or the general public to do something but are hampered by their training departments who want to do things the way they have always been done.
4.    Government employees, military officers, EPA officers, Parks department people, whomever, who’d like to train their people better but don’t have the budget to do it right and don’t know how to get started.
5.    Regular folks, who simply have something they would like to teach people how to do.

So how can you do this? First the good news. It doesn’t cost anything.  How is that possible? We have built this tool in order to change how people think about teaching. The tool is easy to use and will produce a high quality learn by doing course on line, if and only if, the person using the tool knows how to teach somebody how to do something that can be taught on line. (It would help if a user had read Teaching Minds first however so they don’t try to teach the same old stuff in the same old way with the tool.

How can the GBS tool be free? Let’s look at the five categories of users again.

Professors. You can have the GBS tool and use it inside your university. No cost. If you need help from us in the form of advice, we would charge you for our time. (We are a consulting company after all.)

Teachers. The same as professors. Use the GBS tool for your students and its free.  

Business experts. Nah. Not necessarily free. If you are teaching people in your company or other companies we offer only to drive down radically the cost of production of training. We will provide consulting (for a fee.)  If you sell what you built we will want a piece. If, on the other hand you want to give away your expertise to people outside of your company and you don’t charge them for it, then we expect nothing in return.

Government employees. We will deal with this on a case by case basis.

Regular people. Same deal. You can give it away.  

To see some courses built using the GBS tool, go here.

Courses can be any length, an hour, a year, it makes no difference. The GBS tool has within it advice from experts (in the form of short videos) who have been building GBSs for years. I am in there too.

Designing a good GBS is not easy. We have a range of services (course design consulting, fiction writing, video production, expert interviewing, art, and course review and editing, hosting) that we can provide (for a fee.)

GBS stands for Goal Based Scenario. It is an idea we have been writing about and doing for more than 20 years. To learn more about GBSs click on one or more of these.


Jon Revelos said...

Very exciting, Roger! A terrific contribution to the learning community... but I didn't see the link/instructions for how to get/use the tool. Did I miss something in your post or the SA site?

Roger Schank said...

you missed the email address that was included in the post