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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 - Addressing the STEM Challenge Through Distance Learning

Op-Ed: Addressing the STEM Challenge Through Distance Learning

US News & World Report Article by Kevin Melendy, May 5, 2014

The United States, ranked 26th in STEM education, is in crisis to differentiate itself in the global economy – an economy in which innovation serves as the hallmark for success. Of great concern is the fact that while today’s educators believe their STEM graduates complete school with 70 percent of the employable skills they will need in the marketplace, employers have found this number to be closer to 50 percent. While statistics differ, both industry and higher education agree that there is a substantial gap that must be filled regarding our employable workforce.

The bulk of today’s STEM initiatives are aimed at resolving our nation’s STEM challenge by focusing on K-12 students, preparing future generations for successful career paths. However, there is a need to address this issue immediately, impacting today’s workforce, the “forgotten generation.” The two groups that can most rapidly effect change to the present STEM challenge in the workforce are university students as well as continuing-education professionals. While separate, both of these groups struggle with similar challenges — financial and time resources — requiring a solution that is accessible from both a monetary and a logistical perspective.

The solution for 2014 and beyond for best equipping the workforce is through online learning, not only eliminating restrictions on time and financial resources, but, when implemented properly, has been demonstrated to be just as effective as face-to-face instruction, if not more so.

Previously, the barrier for teaching STEM disciplines in an online environment was the inability of students to experience hands-on wet labs for the experimentation components of these courses. However, with the availability of wet labs delivered directly to students to supplement online courseware, this barrier no longer exists. Additionally, by eliminating the group format of face-to-face experiments, online STEM students, responsible for the entire experiment, walk away with a greater depth of knowledge.

Our healing economy isn’t translating into increased enrollment for higher education and institutions still battle for financial and personnel resources. These institutions must find new methods of generating revenue outside the traditional pathways. In addition, schools have very finite limitations on financial and physical resources to provide students. For example, a university’s nursing program may have the capacity to accept 50 face-to-face students, but have 2,500 applicants. By delivering the first two years of prerequisite STEM courses in an online setting, the university may expand the pool of students for acceptance thereby increasing tuition revenues without tying up personnel or facility resources.

To that end, online delivery of STEM courses also impacts global scalability by overcoming geographical barriers to face-to-face education, further benefiting U.S. higher education institutions.

Today’s STEM workforce, while critical, is still in need of continuing education to keep up with the latest developments within the STEM fields. By incorporating an online delivery for STEM courseware, higher education institutions are far better equipped to partner with STEM industry organizations looking to support continuing education for employees with as little disruption to productivity as possible. Online delivery of STEM courses for continuing education addresses the crises of current workforce competency gaps that exist at the present time and also make available an improved and continuous method of managing talent resources to keep up with global technology advances.

With the classic barriers for acceptance no longer at issue, online delivery of STEM courses have become a viable, and in some cases, preferable, solution to solving our nation’s STEM challenge.

 

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.

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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.