“Connected pathways”: supporting teacher training in digital transformation


The project “Connected Courses” in which my thesis is written is among the 22 winners of the e-FRAN call for projects (spaces for training, research and digital animation). E-FRAN aims to support School transformation projects and the creation of “digital innovation educational territories” by building on research. This call for projects was launched as part of the Investissement d’Avenir program by the mission on digital education entrusted to the rector Jean-Marc Monteil. The goal is to create a world-class scientific community for digital education and to promote the transfer of research results to schools by stimulating interactions between laboratories and the field.

Selected projects are linked to applied research. They bring together various actors in education and research in the field: laboratories and institutes to which they are attached (CNRS, INRIA), companies (including a number of start-ups), schools ( primary school), higher education institutions, ESPE, and finally several associations.

We are about fifty doctoral students who have benefited from a thesis grant in the framework of e-FRAN and in various disciplines ranging from computer science to ergonomics to social psychology, neuroscience, cognitive psychology, of course the sciences of education.

A project involving laboratories, associations, start-ups … and PhD students

Such a project involves a very diverse set of partners. It is the association Synlab, carrier of Connected Courses which pilot and coordinates the actions carried out by the various stakeholders.

Apart from the “research” committee involving 4 laboratories, the ESPE de Créteil is also involved, as well as the start-up Didask with whom I work in close collaboration.

The Pathways Connected project employs a total of three doctoral students attached to a consortium laboratory (Niluphar Ahmadi, in cognitive psychology thesis at the Laboratory of Psychology: Cognition, Behavior, Communication of the University of Rennes 2 and Benoît Choffin, in PhD thesis at the Laboratory of Computer Research at Paris-Saclay).

Better understand and support the training of future teachers

Two main axes guide the development and follow-up of Connected Courses:

  • A first focus that focuses on experiments at the ESPE of the academy of Créteil both on the initial training of students who prepare for the profession of teachers of schools, but also on the accompaniment of new owners who have just graduated. Several cohorts are followed over the 4 years of the project.
  • A second axis focuses on both fundamental and applied research experiments. On the one hand, it aims to better understand the underlying mechanisms of learning; but also to carry out the evaluation and improvement of the digital educational platform created by the project partner Didask start-up.
  • My thesis project is directly related to this 2nd axis, Didask is actually my field of experimentation!

First results on the optimization of learning

I am interested in the optimization of learning through the prism of cognitive psychology. Over the last twenty years, many research studies have been carried out, replicated and demonstrated in a variety of learning contexts on strategies for mastering and sustainably memorizing new knowledge.

Yet these robust results are poorly disseminated and exploited to create evidence-based learning tools and environments and environments; while some inefficient learning methods persist. Heterogeneity in the classroom is always present, and at a time when we value the personalization of learning pathways and lifelong learning, few devices can really answer its problems and needs. (at least in France …).

Didask’s intuition was to say that digital is a very interesting environment for anyone to learn and learn new skills, to learn at any age and at their own pace. In addition, the founders of Didask realized that the results of research in psychology could quite well be integrated into the very essence of a teaching / training platform.

A particularly significant result attracted the attention of His Thierry Ly, president and co-founder of Didask: the effect of recovery in memory (testing effect in English).This effect is defined as the benefit of memorizing new information when it is driven and tested by a memory search exercise compared to a more passive method of repeated replay.

Around the “testing effect”

The architecture of the Didask platform was conceived and developed around learning by memory recovery, putting at the heart of training the use of quizzes and various exercises to actively engage learners and consolidate long-term memory. term new information. When creating training content, educational resources are implemented to support quizzes, and can take different forms: videos, articles, illustrations, texts, powerpoint … Users learn via quizzes, and can access the theoretical part of the quiz. course when they wish.

When I started my thesis, a question was still open in the literature about the testing effect, and also intrigued much Didask: when is it more appropriate and beneficial to do the quizzes? After after using the teaching resource, otherwise after reading the course? or even to access it, without having read the course? We therefore conducted with my research team and Didask a large number of learners (285) to answer this question of the optimal placement of quizzes in relation to the reading of learning contents.

We found that the training with quizzes after the reading of the contents allowed a better memorization than a training with quizzes before reading the contents of the course. These two learning methods led to higher performance compared to a learning method without quizzes, with a simple proofreading of the contents (the article associated with this experiment was submitted in an international journal).

Monitoring and impacts of the e-FRAN project

Synlab monitors the various connected Parcours sub-projects, notably by bringing the consortium together regularly during the year. This allows us to take stock of each one’s progress, to weave inter-laboratory collaborations, and to present the sequence of events. On the side of my laboratory, a new experiment is underway, new results are expected for the start!

Several deliverables are included in the project and sent directly to Caisse Des Dépôts, which materialize through interim reports serving as a balance sheet; and the launch of online training for teachers on transversal skills (cooperation, class climate, attention and concentration, creativity, active pedagogies) on Didask.

Finally, the first e-FRAN colloquium was organized in January 2018 in order to bring together all the winning projects, which allowed for a first meeting of all the actors involved, both in terms of national education and research. The doctoral students were able to present their work, which made it possible to appreciate the diversity of the projects financed and implanted everywhere in France. In this logic of creating an ecosystem around digital education while creating a pool of future · e · s researchers.

Author Bio:Alice Latimier is a PhD student, Laboratory of Cognitive Science and Psycholinguistics at the École normale supérieure (ENS)