In a client project I was asked to tell them how learning time can be calculated. In this project people have to work through online texts and go through a final exam (online quiz). All participants are adults and have an academic degree. In their daily work they use text documents and have experience in research based on texts.
My own rule of thumb will be: reading time in this target group on paper plus 25%, because reading on screens needs more time.
I've checked several books about elaerning and check lists but nowhere any information how to calculate learning time.
What is your experience, what are your rules of thumb?
P.S.: Why is this question relevant? My client has to register the elearning offer by an self regulatory professional organization. They are asking for learning time. This is one criteria for credit pionts given by them.
It's an important question and one that comes up regularly in various guises on Moodle.org forums. Have you had a search around to see what others have commented?
I suspect that if you want to calculate an estimated average of study time, you'll have to bite the bullet and actually monitor (i.e. actually watch or record them on video) and time groups of learners (with their written permission) while they work. You can look at the times between page refreshes (HTTP requests) on the server and Moodle logs but these don't tell you the whole story, e.g. Were they reading those pages all that time or did they take breaks? Were they also using their mobile device or have another window/app open to check their emails, Facebook, etc.? All you know is how often they navigated between pages and which pages they viewed (but not for how long, how closely, if they were distracted, etc.
I know these questions relating real learning time. Its possible to take the time between two activties in a course up to a max and definethat this is the learning time. Thi sis not exact, but possible. But my question was about the planning and designing process for a course. How do you calculate the time a 'normal' learner will need to work through the course before the has started.
Ralf-you have got me there, I do not know-I suppose I would estimate...not a terribly helpful answer, I know.
Keen to know this now too!
It's a difficult question and one that I've yet to see an easy, formulaic answer to. Think of exams, they usually come with a time limit and so at some point, the exam designers estimated how long most learners would take to complete the exam. However, when you ask exam candidates if they had enough time, you get a range of responses from finishing very early to only getting part-way through. Even with the same candidate, variables like tiredness, stress, being preoccupied (e.g. with other life issues), etc. have strong effects on how long an exam can take to complete.
And that's just for summative assessment. When we're talking about learning according to a prescribed curriculum, learners start with differences in background knowledge and experience and their personal learning strategies (that work best for them). The curriculum might or might not be a good "fit" in an individual's particular case, and so s/he might or might not learn at an optimum pace.
In practice, the estimations I've seen on courses and course books in my time in teaching and in academic management are nowhere near usefully accurate and teachers themselves can usually provide more accurate estimates based on their experience and familiarity with any particular learner or cohort of learners. Even then, when teachers plan their classes, they usually over-prepare in case learners get through the material quickly, and have contingencies/alternatives in case it looks like the learners won't be able to complete anything meaningful and productive in the time allowed. As far as I know, this is common practice among teachers.
So how do we estimate that?
Indeed Matt-lots of stuff in your post for consideration. I suppose this is most pertinent:
It's a difficult question and one that I've yet to see an easy, formulaic answer to.
I would draw on my knowledge and experience to provide the best learning situation-if the circumstances meant I had to estimate time (e.g. for an exam). And, I would trust that to provide equity for all.
Install this block:
Log in as students, finish the modules you required.
Log in as teacher and you will get an idea of time needed.
Hope this help.
thanks for the advice to this tool that I didn't see before. Do you know if there are plans to update it for 2.7?
It doesn't solve my problem. My question is not about a technology solution but about planning aid in the design process of a course. We have to prepare advices for authors how many text they habe to prepare for 30 minute/ 60 minute learning time.
If a course is prepared we can use test users to check if our assumptions were correct, but at first we have to preparethe author guidelines.
Our Institution has to quantify "contact hours", which may equate to "learning time", for accreditation purposes. For F2F courses, the Carnegie Unit is the standard of measure. We try to apply this to online activities and that's where things get tricky. Some schools are looking at being more outcomes-based rather than focusing on contact hours because outcome achievement is a better measure of learning than time spent. However, contact hours are still the standard that many educators and administrators are used to. So, what we do is simply use the same figures that we use for an F2F course. If a learning activity in the physical classroom would normally be planned to take 30 minutes of class time, then it is accepted that it would also take 30 minutes of time online. That's not accurate, of course. The only other thing we can do is to estimate the time by actually going through the course as a student and timing ourselves.
Thanks. - Chris