Feathercap Blog

The failure of on demand courses

Apr 23, 2019 12:57:00 PM / by The Feathercap staff posted in Blog, workplace learning, classroom learning, Instructor led training, ILT, 3rd party course, ondemand course



Back in 1984, Educational Psychologist Benjamin Bloom posed a challenge right in the title of his research. “The 2 Sigma Problem: The Search for Methods of Group Instruction as Effective as One-to-One Tutoring”. He contended that one-on-one tutoring produces two standard deviations – 2 sigma – of improvement to students learning a given subject versus those in a classroom. That means if they got a “C” previously while in a classroom setting they would get an “A” after learning the same subject from a one-on-one coaching approach. Where he defined a “classroom” akin to a group of learners all receiving the same training without as much back and forth interaction as a one-on-one tutor. This is suspiciously like our existing on demand courses we have all experienced. Why are on demand courses failing? Put another way, the conventional course or static on demand experience we’ve known achieves on average 20% of the entire learner audience attaining highest achievement of the presented material. Contrast this with Bloom’s 2 sigma improvement through one-on-one tutoring, giving 80% of the entire learner audience attaining that highest achievement. A one-on-one tutoring approach yields 60% more of the learners achieving mastery!

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