The CyberCourse idea

The entire learning research field is often called "learning science." In 2005 or so, I started studying learning science. I focused on tech skill learning, because that is what I teach, but CyberCourse could support other types of courses as well. CoreDogs came from my reading, and CyberCourse from CoreDogs.

I found that researchers agree on some basic principles of skill learning:

  • Deep learning. Don't just memorize facts. Learn how to do things with those facts.
  • Outcome-driven learning. Focus on the skills. Remove everything else from the course.
  • Formative feedback. No multiple-choice tests. Make students do tasks. Evaluate their work. Tell them how to improve.
  • Personal interaction with experts. Give students one-on-one help when they get stuck. Teach them how to get unstuck.
  • Nudging. Nudge students when they fall behind. Help each other succeed.


I have a question.

Oh, hi, Jill. Everybody, this is Jill. She's a pseudo-student, or pseudent. The p is not silent.

In a Cycourse, pseudents like Jill:

  • Ask questions that students might ask.
  • Make common mistakes.
  • Do tasks, like write programs, or do math problems. Sometimes they get stuck, and need help.

Pseudents help with deep learning, outcome-based learning, and metacognition.

What's up, Jill?

Suppose I'm a professor at a community college.

Do I have to understand all the learning science stuff before I can use a Cycourse in my course?

No, you don't. The learning science principles are baked in to the Cycourse. You just use it, and you get all that goodness.

Who adds the learning science ingredients?

The Cycourse's authors. They should learn about learning before they start work. The CyberCourse authoring tools help them implement learning science principles. For example, pseudents like you help students learn, so there are tools to make it easy for authors to use pseudents.

Where can I learn more about the project? And see what the tools look like?

The wiki has lots of screenshots and walkthroughs. The main site has useful stuff, too, including an online demo. You can always download Cyco yourself, and install it.