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There were two major research goals:
- What skills do learners need to demonstrate the learning objectives?
- Do learners have the right resources for those skills?
Prior to this project, the 6-month completion rates were 56%. After developing a targeted learning path 6-month completion rates rose to 63.64%.
“I would like to thank Jessica for the way she earns students’ trust. Because several of my students have commented on her excellence as a course mentor for Python, I began asking why. They told me that she really listens to them and adapts her style of guiding them to their expressed needs. As one student noted, ‘She knew I needed a hint, a nudge in the right direction, and she gave it to me.’”Joseph G.
I conducted individual user interviews with 50+ learners that had taken and failed the exam at least once. These interviews centered around their preparations for the exam, experience with the exam, and course satisfaction. Questions asked:
- Tell me about your experience with the assessment.
- What surprises were on the assessment?
- Which learning materials were helpful?
- Which learning materials were missing?
- What gaps did you find in the learning materials that were on the assessment?
- What do you think would help you succeed on the next attempt?
The primary challenge that emerged from the research was that the eLearning product lacked alignment with the assessment in terms of practice problems and functionality of web-based coding interpreters. Learners felt they understood the concepts but were unable to transition to an environment where they were writing code independently.
Several methods were developed to address the challenges:
- Created a series of practice problems for each of the three course objectives.
- Objective 1: 10 problems
- Objective 2: 20 problems
- Objective 3: 18 problems
- Produced an instructional video showing how to use the assessment’s interpreter.
- Developed and led a weekly live coding webinar to complete practice problems collaboratively.
- Worked with assessment developers to correct multiple issues in the assessment that lacked clarity and negatively impacted performance.
- Worked with learning resource specialists to incorporate practice problems.
These resources were integrated into the learning path at the beginning to set expectations for the course and at the end where learners prepare for the final assessment.