Sal Khan entitles this video, “Let’s teach for mastery – not test scores.” He goes on to say, “Would you choose to build a house on top of an unfinished foundation? Of course not. Why, then, do we rush students through education when they haven’t always grasped the basics?” Yes, it’s complicated to implement in our current educational system, but Sal shares his plan to turn struggling students into scholars by helping them master concepts at their own pace.
So you’re probably asking what is “mastery learning?” It was originally made famous by Benjamin Bloom in the 1980’s when he compared classroom training, mastery learning, and one-on-one tutoring. Mastery learning simply means that if you’re learning a topic, you don’t move on from that topic until you can answer questions about that topic correctly, or at least in the 90% percentile. What made this type of training fashionable was that those students trained using the mastery learning methodology, outperformed 84% of the students trained in the classroom.
But it wasn’t until Sal started to create e-learning video vignettes which could be viewed over and over again by a student, that it became fashionable. When Sal Khan made the Khan Academy site free to use, it started to change how people could learn new information. Those people who were thought to be in the lower percentiles of learning, suddenly found themselves outperforming their peers. This is a very good primer on the topic of “mastery learning,” and a must watch for anyone developing a curriculum for their company.