Posts

Hands-On-Labs-labpaq-Linda-Jeschofnig-CoBiz-Magazine

Hands-On Labs Makes Top List of Colorado Woman Owned Companies

DENVER, CO. – May 18, 2016 – Hands-On Labs, the leader in science distance learning, is among Colorado’s best companies according to the 2016 Top list of Colorado’s Woman Owned Companies by ColoradoBiz magazine. The magazine annually recognizes the top businesses across the state.

“What we at Hands-On Labs do is vitally important to science education, non-traditional students, plus society as a whole,” said Linda Jeschofnig, founder and chairman of Hands-On Labs. “Our LabPaq science kits make accredited science education possible anytime/anywhere. By allowing students to perform rigorous, college-level science experiments in non-traditional settings, these products provide opportunities students may otherwise not enjoy. They facilitate the science training necessary for the health care workers, educators, inventors, and environmental stewards who will improve our future.”

For over 20 years, Hands-On Labs has been producing high-quality physical lab kits that mirror the traditional campus science laboratory experience in a distance learning setting. With headquarters in Colorado, Hands-On Labs serves over one-third of all Universities in the U.S and has served students all over the world. Hands-On Labs has been recognized for providing instructors and students the most trusted materials, content and curriculum on the market with its interactive cloud-based platform. Hands-On Labs’s innovative fusion of cutting-edge technology and modern pedagogies maintain their best-in-class status during the rapid evolution of the educational market.

8th Annual Emerging Technologies Int’l Symposium ‪#‎et4online @olctoday

HOL Has Major Presence at OLC-ET4

Hands-On Learning exhibited and presented at the 8th Annual Emerging Technologies for Online Learning International Symposium, April 22-24 in Dallas.

The information session was titled, “The Data-Driven Classroom – This Ain’t Your Daddy’s Data.” Below is a summary:

New technology in education is all the rage. Today’s technology tools collect quantitative information that drives innovative pedagogies and ramps student engagement and learning outcomes. Classroom data helps instructors work smarter, not harder. But which technology delivers the data you want?
Online courses lend themselves to data-driven instruction. Student knowledge gain can be continuously tracked, classroom analytics can become the root of action, and data can be mined to predict trends in the greater student population.

Tracking Student Knowledge Gain
How do you identify when learning actually occurs? The first step is to create precise learning objectives that can be measured. Learning objectives that begin with vague terms like “understand” and “learn about” are nearly impossible to track with analytics because they are subjective and are not measureable. How could we ever truly measure a student’s understanding of a subject such as photosynthesis? Generalized course-level objectives are too broad to track. So how do you create definitive learning objectives that are well-suited for data collection and point to a specific expectation that can be measured through assessment?
Assessments are the cornerstone of the data-driven classroom. They must be placed at key moments throughout the learning pathway. Where should they be placed to capture key data? What are the different types of assessments? What is the difference between formative and summative assessments? It is important that a variety of evaluations be presented as learning progresses. Student knowledge gain is tracked by identifying a single learning objective and aggregating student data from assessments, which are highly engaging and great for test skill-building. Data about student performance can be continually collected and subsequently applied in a number of ways.

Applying Actionable Analytics
The data-driven classroom is built with meaningful analytics that initiate action and have predictive value. Actions may be taken at the student-level or the classroom-level. How do you create measureable milestones? When do you implement Just-in-Time Teaching (JiTT)? With actionable analytics, instructors can quickly identify a student who performs poorly on an introductory topic and provide help or an engaging resource. Learning opportunities are recognized at the moment needed, maximizing the potential for student success. How does adaptive learning contribute to this process?

Data can transform our assumptions and understanding of student knowledge. For example, recent analytics collected on a “Laboratory Techniques and Measurements” learning module indicated massive student success for performing molar calculations but very marginal success on describing the proper use of a graduated cylinder. This confounded the expectations of educators, who anticipated student performance on math-related topics to be the challenge area. Without the assessment data, the educators would have continued to build instructional resources around math. However, with the assessment data, instructors were able to focus their efforts on an important knowledge gap. Analytics allowed the instructors to work smarter, not harder and educational effectiveness was improved.

Predictive Analytics and Big Data
There are endless possibilities in the application of analytics, and the educational market is only now scratching the surface of these applications. How does your classroom fit in with university-wide data? Analytics can be used to gauge students’ own opinions of engagement and perceptions of knowledge gain, and these too can be correlated with student performance. Classroom analytics can be used to inform department-wide approaches and help institutions develop instructional best practices in topic areas. Student performance in introductory classes can be applied toward big data and utilized as predictive analytics for future student success. But most importantly, analytics provide a vehicle to move education away from hypothetical theory, towards pedagogical models that are supported by empirical evidence. Through online resources, instructors are able to generate data about teaching effectiveness and provide support for novel approaches. In many ways, student performance data is able to validate best teaching practices as it never could before. The online environment is the ideal setting for a data-driven approach, and online instructors, who admittedly are the most adventurous and innovative group of educators, are well-suited to the task of revolutionizing education.

HOL also presented a session during the Vendor Showcase entitled, “Yes, You Can Teach Science Online!” The session highlighted how Hands-On Labs has integrated technology with hands-on laboratory experiences to achieve better learning outcomes than many face-to-face classrooms.

HOL exhibited and presented at the 8th Annual Emerging Technologies Int'l Symposium in San Antonio. Holly Houtz presented a session entitled, "The Data-Driven Classroom - This Ain’t Your Daddy’s Data.” ‪#‎et4online @olctoday

HOL exhibited and presented at the 8th Annual Emerging Technologies Int’l Symposium in San Antonio. Holly Houtz presented a session entitled, “The Data-Driven Classroom – This Ain’t Your Daddy’s Data.” ‪#‎et4online @olctoday

Hands-On Learning earns Quality Matters certification

Hands-On Learning Earns Quality Matters Certification

Hands-On Learning (HOL) is pleased to announce it has earned the first and only science lab content certification by Quality Matters (QM). HOL is a distance learning technology and consulting company providing innovative STEM solutions to align higher education with private industry for effective workforce development. HOL delivers the only product on the market that combines a cloud-based learning platform, modern teaching theories and the essential hands-on science component to build STEM competencies in higher education and today’s workforce.

A leader in quality assurance for online education, QM has received national recognition for its peer-based approach to continuous improvement in online education and student learning.  QM’s rigorous standards evaluate diversity in student assessments, comprehensiveness in instructional materials, amount and quality of student engagement and intuitive, accessible technology.

“We’re honored to be recognized as the industry leader by a well-respected authority in the field,”said John Miller, Chief Operating Officer at HOL.“HOL’s distance learning solutions provide higher education institutions the opportunity to provide today’s generation with the hands-on experience and skills required to best develop the workforce.”

HOL’s industry-recognized model is built upon the principle of blending hands-on experimentation with cutting-edge technology to yield a powerful yet flexible educational experience. To meet the increasingly diverse needs of institutions, HOL offers three product lines with more than 500 lab experiences covering all major science disciplines. Each product line allows the experience to be tailored to students and instructors, and features laboratory-grade equipment and materials for a hands-on learning environment. All coursework is guided by well-defined learning objectives that follow a Bloom’s taxonomy progression, assisting with student development of higher order thinking skills. The cloud-based digital learning platform provides for anywhere, anytime learning, allowing for higher education institutions to reach more students and provide superior instruction.

LabBridge Solutions, HOL’s premier solution set, boosts instructor and student interaction via rich, engaging technology. The product’s digital features also provide meaningful analytics, empowering instructors to instantaneously deliver content and track progress. LabPaq, HOL’s deluxe solution set, delivers a customizable curriculum with the flexibility to configure a set of experiments to meet course-level learning objectives. STEMpaq, HOL’s most recent addition, serves as the solution for the economically minded institution, satisfying the fundamental laboratory competencies required for general education.

Click here for a printable copy.
Hands-On Learning - Business Must Align with Schools to Close Skills Gap

Business Must Align with Schools to Close “Skills Gap”

Denver Post Article by Howard Pankratz, July 6, 2014

Poor alignment of American businesses with the schools that train their workers is creating a “skills gap” that may make it hard to fill as many as 650,000 technical- and science-based jobs by 2018.

The country needs a shift in how industry and educational institutions relate to each other, economists and business executives say.

“We do not take an approach — either at the national level or state level – that creates an ease of communications between employers and educational institutions that are going to impart skills and background to potential employees,” said Joe Fuller, a Harvard Business School professor and faculty member of the school’s U.S. Competitiveness Project. “This is why we have 12 million to 13 million unemployed people and 650,000 job openings in manufacturing right now.”

Recent college graduates typically have only about half the skills they need in the workplace, according to John Miller, chief operating officer for Denver-based consulting firm Hands-On Learning.

This forces businesses struggling to find qualified employees — in areas such as computers, mathematics, architecture, engineering, management, and health care — to educate workers in-house, which is costly.

“We really need to have universities run as businesses,” said Miller, whose company helps universities develop workforce programs. “It begins with the understanding that what they deliver to the market is a commodity: that’s a graduate.”

Since not all students can — or want to — go on to college, the American education system must provide alternatives.

Fuller, who is studying how the skills gap relates to boosting U.S. business competitiveness, estimates that 35 percent of people go to college today, compared with 5 percent in 1940.

“We’ve made a lot of progress, but the notion that 35 percent is going to 100 percent ever, let alone soon, is plain crazy,” said Fuller.

Most people will be trained for work that requires “middle skills” or “low skills” — jobs requiring more than a high school education but less than a four-year college degree, he said.

“I’m not saying we should be a nation of shopkeepers,” he said, adding there are areas besides advanced manufacturing jobs and computer scientists that need attention.

Fuller said many technical and professional schools are not nimble in upgrading curriculum to compete in the changing business world, and U.S. employers often lack effective workforce planning.

Fuller has studied how western European countries fill jobs.

aligning education and employment

(The Denver Post)

Some of those countries track and test children from their early years to their teenage years, steering them into lifetime occupations for which they are deemed suited.

Fuller and Miller say such tracking would be alien to U.S. culture.

But Fuller says the educators must start talking to kids and their parents at a young age about what the children would like to do and coordinate that with business.

“What we can draw (from the European experience) is to have that dialogue early to allow families to think about what their kids are actually interested in doing and having an aptitude for,” Fuller said.

Fuller said a big issue is the lack of counseling for children and their families and mid-career counseling for people who are out of work.

“We under-invest in that capability in our school systems and in our departments of labor in different states,” he said.

Navin Dimond, CEO of Stonebridge Companies, an Englewood-based hotel manager, sees a problem with an education system that presumes all students will head to college after high school.

Dimond, who recently donated $1.5 million to Metropolitan State University of Denver’s hotel management program, said students should have a variety of educational opportunities from which to choose.

Some students may need only high school plus a few years of vocational or trade school. Others may want an apprenticeship during high school.

“I don’t think everyone wants the four-year education,” said Dimond, whose company owns and operates dozens of hotels in the U.S.

Hands-On’s Miller said the fortunes of business and universities might also be linked by developing programs for mid-career workers.

Rising costs are keeping many out of college, Miller said, and dwindling enrollment threatens the economic viability of some universities. To survive, he said, universities have to change how they operate.

Private industry, he said, could pick up some of the tab through partner programs that allow workers to advance their education while remaining employed.

“At the end of the day, industry is going to win, and it is going to lower the cost of operation if they do it effectively,” Miller said. “The schools will then migrate to a new revenue model by working with industry.”

 

Click here for a printable copy. 
 
 
Hands-On Learning online labs

HOL Founder Featured in Kauffman/Khan Academy Entrepreneurship Series

HOL Founder Featured in Kauffman/Khan Academy Entrepreneurship Series

(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) April 8, 2014 – New content posted today on the Kauffman/Khan Academy entrepreneurship interview series features founders of five vastly different companies whose innovations have reinvented their industries. Adding to a collection of founders already featured in the series, the latest contributors share how they started in their garage, home or apartment with an idea and today run growing companies.

Presented in a conversational format with accompanying illustrations, the 14 videos feature five entrepreneurs who share insights that include ideas for how to pivot from startup to growth stage, how filing patents can protect intellectual property and how navigating the challenges of running a business is like sailing through unexpected currents.

The entrepreneurs featured in the new interview series are:

Founders already featured in the series include Giles Shih, president and CEO of BioResource International; Lara Morgan, founder of Pacific Direct; Marc Ecko, founder of Ecko Unlimited; Richard Branson, chairman of the Virgin Group; T.A. McCann, founder and CEO of Gist; and Zach Kaplan, CEO of Inventables.

Personal lessons and insights from accomplished entrepreneurs are the basis of the Khan Academy online interview series produced by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The series represents the first entrepreneurship content to be added to the Academy’s vast collection of free online educational tutorials and learning resources, potentially inspiring its 6 million student users a month.

Since launching in the fall of 2013, the series has generated more than 144,000 views. The Kauffman Foundation will continually add new content featuring more entrepreneurs. To see the Kauffman/Khan entrepreneurship interview series, go to https://www.khanacademy.org/r/entrepreneurship.

###

Click here for a printable copy
Hands-On Learning News

Hands-On Learning Expands Executive Team

Hands-On Learning is pleased to announce Kevin Melendy as President and CEO, and John Miller as Managing Partner and Chief Operating Officer. Melendy, with a track record of more than 25 years of transforming technology organizations, and Miller, a serial technology entrepreneur, have combined efforts to address and solve the current experience gap between the STEM workforce and needs of industry. Melendy and Miller were drawn to Hands-On Learning for its unique approach to solving this problem in today’s STEM workforce through innovative distance learning solutions and consulting services. Hands-On Learning is a distance learning technology and consulting company providing innovative STEM solutions to align higher education and private industry for effective workforce development.

“Joining an organization like Hands-On Learning is invigorating. Everyday we’re taking a major problem in this country and advancing real solutions to impact change,” said Kevin Melendy. “The United States has made significant progress in addressing the STEM challenge at the K-12 level. However, we’re targeting an entire generation that, despite its potential to effect change immediately, has been largely overlooked: today’s generation.”

As President and Chief Executive Officer, Melendy is building long-term business strategies that focus on Hands-On Learning’s core competencies to drive business. Melendy is poised to serve as a leading agent of change for Hands-On Labs relative to corporate culture and product development and is developing the personnel resources necessary to fulfill the company’s vision and empower employees to act as change agents. Prior to joining Hands-On Learning, Melendy served as CEO at Spectral Response, helping to transform the company from a struggling family-owned business to a leading competitor in its market.

Serving as Chief Operating Officer and Managing Partner, Miller leads Hands-On Learning’s consulting arm, HOL Consulting Services, working to align private industry and higher education institutions to prepare students for STEM-discipline careers. Miller utilizes more than 14 years of experience serving 700 universities and hundreds of thousands of student experiences in distance learning to advance Hands-On Learning’s initiatives. He founded and led three successful Silicon Valley technology ventures – two M&As and one IPO – with successful outcomes.

“My concern lies in how the United States can differentiate in the world economy. With innovation as the hallmark of our nation’s success, we must take considerable steps to address the gap in STEM workforce competency,” said John Miller. “Hands-On Learning tackles this issue head on by pairing the STEM industry with higher education institutions to improve competency-based learning and deliver it in a way that is unhindered by time, place or education level.”

Click here for a printable version of the story.