Oppia is an open-source platform from Google that lets anyone create interactive online learning activities that give feedback at every step.
The web has now become a great tool for learning — whether through Wikipedia or YouTube tutorials — but these channels sometimes lack the kind of interactivity of the physical classroom, where teachers can offer encouragement or help children work their way through a math calculation they’re stuck on. Aiming to replicate this, Oppia is a new open-source platform from Google that lets anyone create interactive online learning activities that give feedback at every step.
Users can create an activity by including text, links, images, video, maps and code evaluators to introduce the student to the topic, as well as questions and challenges that test their comprehension. Rather than simply offering all of the information first with a test at the end, each activity is regularly interspersed with quizzes. Students get human-style responses at each point — such as ‘That’s right!’ or ‘Nice :)’ — to determine the level of their understanding, and the system uses the data from each response to work out which questions to ask next or to decide the type of hint to give if they’re struggling. At any point, users can hit the Feedback button to let the author know that they can’t get past a particular question, and teachers can then input a new learning path that matches how they would respond to the student with the problem in real life.
Oppia adds an element of human interactivity to learning on the web, and could help teachers in the classroom continue to give students feedback while they’re attending to someone else. Much like Playground Sessions — the software that offers real-time performance analysis for those learning a musical instrument — Oppia is part of a wave of new technologies that aim to develop the world of web learning to become much more like interactive one-on-one teaching. Are there other ways that this can be achieved?