Solving the 2 Sigma Problem with Khan Academy: A Pilot Study
Computer Assisted Learning (CAL) is educational software designed to help students progress through material at their own pace while receiving feedback and advice, similar to the kind that a tutor might provide but on a computer. CAL also makes it easier for teachers to monitor and grade progress. Teachers can assign new topics based on each students’ level of understanding. Despite a large and increasing body of convincing research suggesting large benefits of adopting CAL, many administrators and teachers still shy away. Uncertainty about how to use the software, concerns about subscription costs, and lack of support may explain this reluctance. This pilot aims to develop and test a program that simplifies the adoption of CAL and helps ensure its effective use. The pilot uses Khan Academy (KA), one of the most popular CAL programs, as a tool for Grades 3-8 math teachers to use in class and as graded homework. The program has the potential to save time for teachers, lower costs, and offer a more customizable, enjoyable, and effective learning experience for students. The goal of the pilot is to work out design details for maximizing engagement and simplifying usage. The overall goal is to provide convincing evidence for policy makers, administrators, and teachers to want to adopt the program on a state-wide or national scale.