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The Scientific Method Can Serve Every Classroom

by Mary Jo Madda


Article excerpt

How Teachers Can Run Classrooms Like ‘Lean Startups’

Like any startup, a classroom must deliver services under unpredictable conditions. Like entrepreneurs, teachers continuously improvise new approaches, measure if they work, and learn from their successes (or failures) immediately. Are the students learning? What’s working? For all students, or for some?

Our take

Borrowing Concepts From Continuous Improvement

In nursing they call it the “nursing process,” in science, the “scientific method,” in business circles “PDSA” for Plan-Do-Study-Act and among entrepreneurs, the “Lean Startup.” But whatever you call it, applying the steps of “form a hypothesis, design an experiment, measure the results, and use the findings to inform the follow-up” can help educators do a better job of ensuring their teaching methods are making a difference. How can you apply this model in your classroom?

Based on the “Lean Startup” model this article outlines a step-by-step process for creating a hypothesis and developing a test case, tracking progress through feedback loops (what entrepreneur call A-B testing, learning from the results, making changes and testing again. It’s a process that has proven to work in many disciplines to drive continuous improvement; it may have potential in teaching too, particularly when applied to the many forms of technology-enabled learning how available to educators. What works? What might be improved? PDSA.