Allow Us To Introduce Ourselves
Magoosh is a completely online test preparation website. The objective is to be a replacement for teachers, classrooms, and books. Magoosh does this through their online practice questions and video explanations that are accessible anytime you want. They pride themselves in their ability to get expert quality presentations and to help their clients quickly. Magoosh offers a seven day free trial for studying to pass the GRE. Magoosh also allows you to customize your study schedule based on your test date. They also offer an app for smartphones or tablets.
The website is laid out with a dashboard so your studying progress is easily tracked. For the GRE there are shortcuts to practice math and practice verbal on the main dashboard. There are ways you can customize your own practice by filtering what subjects are within your GRE test. Magoosh offers online test preparation for GRE, LSAT, MCAT, TOEFL, SAT, and the list continues.
A very helpful feature can give a predicted score from the questions you answer. Given a lot of tests are online – why not practice them online? For every single practice question, there is also a video explanation. In addition, there are video lessons which can help explain the why behind the questions. Magoosh allows for an interactive learning.
edX is an online learning tool which allows students to take courses and receive certifications. This website is an example of a MOOC which is a Massive Open Online Course. It is designed to educate students from all over the globe, and in turn to educate those students from top world-renowned universities.
edX will allow you to search for topics or choose from a large list of subjects. In order to earn a certificate, you often have to pay a small fee. Regardless, you can still complete the course without having to pay. The course, “Innovation Leadership” is laid out with six modules. There is also a discussion section, Wiki, area to see your progress, and a section for notes.
Module 1 includes an introduction from the professor, a welcome video, and course outline. Each module has assignments or quizzes. At the end of the course, there is an outro with closing remarks. edX primarily uses lecture videos, although as part of the course you will be asked to do discussion posts and quizzes.
Just Running Cross Our Minds
Going through the course of the GRE brought back memories of test taking and how petrifying it can be taking such an important test. Going through practice courses help to prepare your mind and body for the real day. Sometimes anxiety can creep into your mind as you begin to answer questions and see if you answered correctly. As your mind is stimulated, you focus on producing the correct response, in this case, there can only be one. The behaviorism associates learning with observable performance and proper responses to stimulus. Learning is also characterized as being responsive to conditions in the environment as opposed to taking an active role in discovering the environment. As an adult learner being able to transfer prior learning to the courses helped to make an educated guess for the right answer or a generalized guess dependent on past knowledge.
Behaviorism theory strategies for learning are most useful when trying to use instructional indications and practice. The evaluation of the course was practical and took the pre-assessments into factor to determine where each learner can begin and where there needs to be more specific practice in each area of either math or vocabulary. It also included an array of strategies and material to help with areas of struggle and increase performance. We believe the best method while leaning is to understand the why behind it. From a behaviorist perspective, it focuses on mastering one thing before moving on. In the modules used in the GRE course, the levels of questions are arranged from easy medium and hard questions. As the system continues to determine your progress the system will continue to challenge the areas that your improving in.
What we liked best, is that for each Magoosh problem, after you submit your answer, on the next page which tells you whether you were right or wrong, there’s a video solution and below that a text summary. If you got the question right, skim the text summary to verify you got it right for the right reason. If you got the question wrong, watch the video, taking notes in your journal about any concept or any aspect of the question type that was unclear to you. We would recommend the GRE course for someone who is serious about completing the GREs or trying to improve their score. Features that made Magoosh stand for me is that it is 100% online and is accessible with all digital devices, it’s convenient to study for GRE on the PC/Laptop or tablet or even on the go with your smartphone.
Our experience with the edX online courses was that it had a variety of topics and subjects to choose from and it was self paced. Meaning that the learning occurred at the expense of the learner, which was us. This was also apparent during the GRE online courses . We chose to review the self-awareness module which was easy to navigate. A test was provided to gain an understanding of the subject before hearing a video which gave an understanding of the subject. Comparative to the GRE online course when you gave an incorrect answer it did not provide the why behind the answer.
During processing information with the edX course it felt that a variety of approaches were used in developing the innovation leadership course. Different than GRE online, Innovation Leadership it did not focus on what we as the learners did to achieve the correct answers but focused on what we know and how we came to that conclusion. Being able to be an active participant in our own learning process and not at the pace of anyone else including the instructor. We felt that more was needed as a student to gain a deeper level of understanding. Because there was no interaction between the student and teacher, it could have easily been that wecould have misinterpreted what self- awareness was or how to gain it. Providing more examples or practical ways to develop self awareness was something that was missing in the module.
What’s The Real Deal?
In the Magoosh course, the two learning theories exhibited were behaviorism and cognitivism (Bierema & Merriam, 2014). The goal of the course was to inform the learner about the process for taking the GRE exam and tips for how to be successful when taking it. Through this video, the teacher was trying to change the behavior of the learner impact their success by taking the exam. The learner would have observable measures of success through their performance on the GRE test (Bierema & Merriam, p. 27). With the goal of the course to inform learners and give them information to change their thinking and mental processing, the cognitivist theory was present (Bierema & Merriam, p. 33)
These theories were exhibited in this course through the presentation of the content and the goal of the class. The presentation was straight forward with information provided through slides, underlining and circling key information to indicate importance. The teacher did not make an appearance in the video, just narrated it, the focus was all on the content. During the course, the learner was able to take some GRE practice questions, once an answer was selected, there was a video showing the process of getting there, walking through each step. The course working to make the connection between the material presented and its application .
In the MOOC course, there were three theories present, behaviorism, humanism, and the social cognitive theory (Bierema & Merriam, 2014). The goal of this course was to teach students to be more innovative. A major focus of this course was self awareness, developing the learners. The teacher was focused on students taking a different approach to self evaluation, impacting how they think and their behaviors approaching situations in the future (Bierema & Merriam, p. 39). The lesson was guiding learners how to evaluate themselves. There was not one specific way to approach this, it is based on the individual and what makes sense to them (Bierema & Merriam, p. 31). This was taught through the observation of others (Bierema & Merriam, p. 35) . This course also exhibited transformative learning with a focus on reflection on personal behavior and development (Bierema & Merriam, pg. 84).
How Do These Hold Up?
Both online courses brought a great deal to the table. Each definitely demonstrated innovative techniques beneficial to the modern, adult learner. Now, with the advancements of technology and a better understanding of how to replicate an in-person classroom resources such as these have a vast platform with diverse participants.
Magoosh is an excellent tool for the virtual learner that is technologically savvy and a self starter. With the online course options available on multiple compatible devices, it is a tech learner’s paradise. Adult students can learn not only at their own pace but anywhere as well. They have access not only on their desktop but their smartphone and tablet as well. This is a reference to the dramatic rearrangement of how people now learn (Davidson, 2012).
The edX also provides an online environment but not as diverse as Magoosh. This online course must be completed at a desktop. This does not create an equal opportunity for all learners (Bierema & Merriam, 2014). However, edX compartmentalizes each item of information. Learners can select which section they want to venture. One may argue that this can be a downfall if the modules build upon one another.
Based on our experience and expertise we have a few compiled a few recommendations for each online course. For Magoosh we recommend rerecording the online sessions. Within the online course, there are recorded audio lectures that accompany the videos. These lectures are of poor quality, with murky audio. For the price of access to the course, the students should received a resource more than something that sounds as if it’s been recorded in a bathroom.
In reference to edX, it is definitely leading in the online course game. Also providing an app edx allows access on the go as well. However, what really makes edX stand out is it’s partnerships. This course is associated with a prestigious organization such as Harvard and Microsoft. This gives the adult learner a myriad of learning opportunities. The recommendation we suggest for this program is a little more structure. In this course, students are permitted to take modules as they see fit. Some skills are better remembered when they build upon one another.
Bierema, L.L. & Merriam, S.B. (2014). Adult Learning: Linking Theory and Practice. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Now You See It: How Technology and Brain Science Will Transform Schools and Business for the 21st Century, Cathy N. Davidson, Penguin Books, New York, NY. 2012.