In 2009, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) released a document that indicated a modest rise in achievement for 12th-graders since 2005. However, the key finding in that report indicated that, “The scores mean that 38 percent of seniors demonstrated proficiency in reading and 26 percent reached that level in math.”

That report almost mirrored an earlier NAEP study which reported that only 25 percent of our fourth graders are able to form opinions from what they read and that only 34 percent of our high school graduates can.

This lack of real progress in our schools is in sharp contrast to what has been taking place in America’s businesses and industries — where the results from training programs have shown marked improvement in both initial learning and retention.

Why the difference?

It appears the answer lies in the adoption of media learning technologies, which business and industry have long embraced, while our nation’s schools have continued to adhere to the old lecture/reading method of instruction — in spite of the indisputable fact that the world transitioned into a television learning culture more than a half century ago.

Many of the foundation skills and competencies (including math and reading) — so critical to the workplace — can also be achieved through the use of technology in the classroom. According to much research, students using technology demonstrate any number of improvements: “more confidence, higher motivation, peer mentoring, collaboration, enhanced self-esteem as well as a confidence about being able to learn to use (the) ‘new tools’ that they will encounter in the years ahead.”

Quoting from one research study,

“Compared to conventional classrooms with their stress on verbal knowledge and multiple-choice test performance, technology provides a very different set of challenges and different ways in which students can demonstrate what they understand.” Added benefits may be found in that, “students watch less television, while improving problem-solving and critical thinking skills . . . technology rich schools report higher attendance and fewer dropouts.”

And, so it is proving to be in our adult work world. Corporations that are transitioning from “live instruction” to the many benefits of multi-sensory learning are leaping ahead. They enjoy a better trained workforce which is helping them lower costs, increase revenue, and achieve greater profitability.

Again, that same multi-sensory media instruction comes to mind as the most flexible solution. It offers privacy to the learner, ease of use, scheduling flexibility, and stands ready to offer initial or refresher training as needed.

The world is changing. And, both the reading minority and the less adept readers will benefit from the technology advances that are rapidly coming. Only then will we see reading and math scores improve in our schools. Just as they are already doing in America’s farsighted businesses and industries!

This coming week is Thanksgiving week, so I’ll be back with the next blog on Tuesday, November 27th. Happy holiday to each one of you!

More on Tuesday – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder, ITC Learning (Tuesdays & Thursdays)