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A new era of teaching: Rapid-iteration
Published by Tyler Lambe – October 6th, 2015
Over the past few centuries, the philosophies driving how we educate people have remained stagnant. Old and slowly evolving models of education sit at the forefront of the world’s most renowned educational institutions. With the upsurge of advancement in technology in the recent decades, we’ve seen an unfortunately slow adoption of new thinking in education. At today’s cutting edge, we’re seeing a repurposing of agile methodologies from fields like software engineering assisting as a guide for educators to improve their classrooms.

Inside the walls of a Batch Academy classroom, we actively employ the practice of rapid-iteration teaching, a philosophy adopted from our partner school, Hack Reactor, an industry-leading alternative education consortium. Rapid-iteration teaching describes an extraordinary focus on outcomes, that is informed by real-time data collected at every level of the classroom experience. This focus lends itself to frequent experimentation and a rapid re-investment of findings back into the classroom.

At the micro level, a continuous loop of frequent experimentation and collection of feedback helps us study the learning process closely enough to refine student experience to a tee. In a typical lecture, we use real-time data collection methods to measure student uptake of the ideas we’re presenting to them. This even includes mechanisms for knowing whether or not a point made in lecture has been heard and understood by the whole room. In order to achieve our high standard for speed and consistency of learning, we can’t accept the traditional “Sage on the Stage” model of lecturing. Instead, we actively measure a class’s ability to understand a newly presented idea through a methodology regarded as “Guide on the Side”. This allows for immediate pivots, repetition, or omission of some part of the lecture, depending on the real, measured needs of the learners. Oftentimes, without this practice, students don’t speak up.

We’re proud to be leading the way with rapid-iteration teaching by employing core principles of science to foster an effective and relevant learning environment. As such, our practices are based on objective data rather than tradition.

What we’ve learned so far

- Measuring a student’s comprehension frequently in real-time helps fine tune content delivery on the fly to help meet student needs

- Constantly exchanging actionable feedback with students helps both instructors and students improve the learning experience

- Studying lecture outcomes helps to apply the principles of rapid-iteration teaching to curriculum design, delivery and evaluation « Back to blog