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Reduced Learning Time with Maintained Learning Outcomes

Our (Olle Bälter, Richard Glassey, Mattias Wiggberg) paper at SIGCSE 21 has been published:
Many online learning initiatives have failed to reach beyond the environments in which they were first developed. One exception is the Open Learning Initiative (OLI) at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). In an attempt to validate the question-based learning methodology implemented in OLI, we developed online material for an introductory course in object-oriented programming, and tested it on two course offerings with a total of 70 students. As our course has been given in the same format for several years, we also had comparable assessment data for two classes prior to our intervention in order to determine that we did not introduce any obvious harm with this methodology. Findings show a reduced teaching and learning time by 25%. No statistically significant differences could be found in the results of the assessment quizzes nor confidence surveys completed by the students. The two teachers (the same who handled the classes before the intervention) took different paths to teaching preparations with this new methodology. One teacher increased preparations, whilst the other reduced them, but both teachers were convinced that using online question-based learning was superior to the previous lecture and textbook-based approach, both for the students and themselves in terms of overall satisfaction. We also gathered time logs from the development to estimate return on investment.

Full text open access:

Olle Bälter is an Associate Professor in Human-Computer Interaction and head of the research group for Technology Enhanced Learning at KTH-Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. He has been running online courses since 2006 and his research interests are technology enhanced learning and interface design. Since his research visit to Stanford University 2015-2016 he has been working in cooperation with Open Learning Initiative to enable more efficient learning.