!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: The Khan Academy

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Khan Academy

Salman Khan, an investment professional based in California, has created the Khan Academy, "a not-for-profit organization with the mission of providing a high quality education to anyone, anywhere." The main activity of this online academy, basically a one-man operation, is creating quite helpful tutorial videos and posting them at the Kahn Academy YouTube channel.

As of now, there are almost 650 videos available, organized into the following topical areas:
  • Arithmetic

  • Prealgebra

  • Algebra

  • Trigonometry

  • Precalculus

  • Calculus

  • Linear algebra

  • Differential equations

  • Probability

  • Physics

  • Finance and macroeconomics

  • Banking and money

  • The bailout

  • SAT preparation

  • GMAT data sufficiency problems
(The list of topics is slightly different at the Khan Academy website, where you will also find videos listed for Geometry and Singapore Math.)

Having missed out on trigonometry in high school, I decided that that was where I would start in sampling Khan's offerings. I watched the two videos below, a problem solution that has a total running time of about thirteen minutes. (Khan had to split his presentation to avoid exceeding the 10-minute YouTube limit on video length.)

As you can see from watching the videos yourself, Khan uses a simple presentation technique and a calm speaking voice to walk the learner through the solution. (By the end of the second video he has slipped into talking about "miles" instead of "kilometers," but that's a minor issue.)

I would say these videos are instructive not only for their content but also for their demostration of how a simple presentation technique, combined with a clear audio explanation, can work well in teaching math, science, and business concepts, in clarifying how to apply the concepts, and in answering likely learner questions.