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I hate Statistics. Or at least Stats hates me.  What the heck is a p-value anyway?  Every time I took Statistics it seemed like it was going to be easy and before very long I was completely lost. And once you get lost in that horrid class finding your way back was not easy. It just seemed like one day I woke up and all the sudden an easy class was suddenly difficult.

The reality is that Statistics just builds on previously learned principles and concepts. As long as you have truly learned them, no problem. The minute that the class has moved on to the next concept and you have not mastered the previous one, you have a problem. My education was always based on a syllabus, and therefore time. Which is really inefficient as I think about it now. Many weeks, starting as far back as I can remember, there would be a topic or series of topics for a given class that I was already familiar with, and then I would be very bored. But then there would be other times where different material took more of my time than the class allowed. This is to say that on certain weeks I really had mastered the material very early in the week and in other classes or other weeks the week ended and the class had moved on but I had not yet mastered the material. I think this is a common occurrence for most students. Or if it weren’t then everyone would be a 4.0 student, right?

Enter mastery-based learning. With technology, we can start to learn based on mastery rather than based on a syllabus. When I have mastered a certain topic, I can move onto the next one. Sometimes I will be ahead of the class, other times I will be behind. It really does not matter. Think of how much time you (and I) have wasted in our educational careers because either it was too easy and we were bored or it was too difficult and we were lost. Technology can help with this and provide services that are engaging as well.

Any service meant to help with studying should include mastery-based learning. What is just as interesting (and more challenging) is how teachers will try to incorporate this into their classrooms. The natural thought process is that teachers should be up in front of the room lecturing, so how could we all be working at completely different levels of mastery? It seems like chaos. Perhaps the role of the teacher needs to change. Maybe the role of the teacher should be more providing some information to start the class, and then letting students do work while they received feedback on how each student was progressing. If someone gets stuck go help him or her. If the majority is stuck somewhere then stop the class and go over where the knowledge gaps seem to be. Seems like a more productive way to learn. And maybe fewer people would hate Statistics.