Test prep isn't what it used to be. With technological advances, gone are the days of poring over a three-inch thick manual and filling out Scantron bubbles on sample test sheet after sample test sheet. Now, companies like Kaplan Test Prep offer a variety of digital learning methods, including self-paced online courses and interactive live-streaming for groups. These advances, while making test prep more convenient for all learners, also opens up new possibilities for students who had not previously been able to participate, whether due to geography or other limitations.
"It's nice that technology is now allowing us to enter modes of delivery that can increase access and meet the learner where she is," says Mike Palmer, vice president of digital media at Kaplan.
But the company's courses are about much more than preparing for the test, says Palmer and Esther Lee, Ed.M.'14, Kaplan's director of digital media program development. They are about how to help the learner perform at an optimal level.
"We still understand the test as this hurdle that our learners are going to have to get over," says Palmer, emphasizing Kaplan's belief in growth mindset, "but we are more about providing the right tools to give them the confidence and the belief in themselves that they really need to perform optimally."
In this edition of the Harvard EdCast, Palmer and Lee discuss Kaplan's pedagogical approach and how the company is using digital learning to reach more learners.
The Harvard EdCast is a weekly series of podcasts, available on the Harvard University iTunes U page, that features a 15-20 minute conversation with thought leaders in the field of education from across the country and around the world. Hosted by Matt Weber and co-produced by Jill Anderson, the Harvard EdCast is a space for educational discourse and openness, focusing on the myriad issues and current events related to the field.