The Wrath of Khan Academy

Apologies, once again, I am beginning a blog post referencing the science fiction genre. Last week our class went more into depth about the concept of open education. In previous classes in my degree we have discussed MOOCs ( Cousera and EdX come to mind). Khan Academy is a tool that I have been obliquely aware of since starting my masters degree. Last week I wrote a blog post  about incorporating open education resources into nursing education. I decided to take a look at Khan Academy to see what it offers that would be of interest to nursing students. The answer I found was, quite a bit.

My first impression of Khan Academy is that it was extremely easy to use and navigate. I was also surprised at the depth and breath of the resources available. I was unaware that Khan Academy covered subjects from kindergarten to grade twelve as well as some university level subjects. I focused on the mental health section specifically the content on anxiety (I chose this because I literally taught this content two weeks ago). My initial reaction was where have you been all my life? I would have killed for something like this in 2002! Rather then bore you with the particulars of how to use Kahn Academy, I’ll include the below video:

It literally has the same headings I use in my lesson plan. The interface is easy to use and it takes you through each component step by step.

What I really like about it is they ways Khan Academy presents the material. There is written portions that break the subject matter down in to manageable pieces. The writing is conversational and offers up everyday examples that relate to everyday experiences (just check out this video lesson on generalized anxiety disorder:

First off, the video is a collaboration between Khan Academy and the Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). This organization sets the standards for baccalaureate and graduate nursing education in the United States.

From a content perspective I really like the conversational tone of the video. The visuals are simple and really walk you through the content.  The pace of the narration and the combined with the animation  really remind me of making study notes for a test back in the day.  You can also access the transcript of each video. This would be helpful for students who prefer to read through the material. The videos all appear to follow the same basic format. This really adds to the consistency of the presentation.

I signed up for an account and have not fully familiarized myself with all of the features of Khan Academy. I have, however, found that you can review this content in a multiple choice format ( NCLEX-RN questions) thereby giving you an idea of the content you have mastered and the content you may need to review:

The NCLEX is a national licensing  exam for registered nurses. Any healthcare nerds wanting more information can click here. Also, although A is not the correct answer, as a healthcare professional I would recommend staying away from clowns.
Just remember, no healthy relationship ever started this way. Source: GIPHY

Pros: Although I have not accustomed myself to all that Khan Academy has to offer in terms of features that come with having a profile what I have seen is a collection of varied media that presents complex subject matter in a straightforward and a matter of fact manner. I also found the NCLEX preparation questions to be an effective and meaningful way of evaluating a student’s level of understanding.

Khans (see what I did there): My criticisms are pretty specific to psychiatric nursing. Khan Academy is based out of the United States so any information it would supply on the workings of the healthcare system would not be applicable to Canadian nursing students. The content in the mental health section is very good it is lacking some very important subject areas that apply to psychiatric nursing ( e.g. counseling theories and mental health assessment).

Truthfully, it feels like I am knit picking at this point. The reality is Khan Academy offers an excellent source of open education for nursing students on a variety of mental health subjects (not to mention other subjects fundamental to nursing). At the very least I would be very willing to use Kahn Academy as a supplement or study guide. Upon refection, I could also incorporate some of the material into my classroom teaching. As someone new to nursing education, it is comforting to know that there is reputable resources out there for instructors to use. I think this is a very useful source of information for both nursing students and instructors. I regret that I did not know about this sooner. As a new instructor I feel like I am consistently “re inventing the wheel.” Reviewing the material on Khan Academy has shown me that there are valuable open education resources available that can be a benefit to both students and instructors.

Overall I give Khan Academy 4 screaming Shatners out of 5 (Source: GIPHY)


5 thoughts on “The Wrath of Khan Academy

  1. I totally agree with you Khan Academy is an excellent resource for open education, it has a lot to offer for every student and teachers from any stream, Khan academy address all most all core education standards and helps focused learning and the videos aid vibrant instruction excellent post.


  2. The high school students in my school use Khan Academy a lot (especially for Math)! I hear them talking about how easy it is to follow along with the video and during the video(s) the narrator encourages students to pause the video and try working through the problem they just learned. Once the video is resumed, the students could follow along to see if they answered the problem right and if not, they could see where they went wrong! They have encouraged me to use the videos in my classroom so students can become familiar with the website (or mobile app). I have not done so, yet. After reading your post, I am more willing to incorporate this resource in my practice (at least for Math). Thank you for the review.


  3. I feel sometimes that my head is in the sand as I hadn’t heard of Khan before. I am thankful for all of these reviews as it is giving me the opportunity to learn about resources I didn’t use before!


  4. I’m so relieved I’m not the only one that made a Star Trek joke with this. Thank you!
    I echo your 4 screaming Shatners review. There is a lot going on with Khaan. I also appreciated seeing Khaan through your lens in healthcare, as opposed to my primary education lens.



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