From the category archives:

Learning

Learning Technique: Highlighting and Underlining

by Dr Davis on October 8, 2013

When students themselves are asked about what they do when studying, they commonly report underlining, high- lighting, or otherwise marking material as they try to learn it (e.g., Cioffi, 1986; Gurung, Weidert, & Jeske, 2010). (18)

On the basis of the available evidence, we rate highlighting and underlining as having low utility. (21)

it may actually hurt performance on higher- level tasks that require inference making. (21)

from:
Dunlosky, et al “Improving Students’ Learning with Effective Learning Techniques” Psychological Science in the Public Interest 14.1 (2013): 4-58.

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Learning Technique: Self-Explanation

by Dr Davis on October 7, 2013

the core component of self-explana- tion involves having students explain some aspect of their pro- cessing during learning. (11)

self-explanation may enhance learning by support- ing the integration of new information with existing prior knowledge. (11)

the range of tasks and measures that have been used to explore self-explanation is quite large. (12) This is overall a plus, because it means that it applies to a wide variety of assignments.

studies involving text learning have also shown effects on measures of comprehension, including dia- gram-drawing tasks, application-based questions, and tasks in which learners must make inferences … (12)

most students appar- ently can profit from self-explanation with minimal training. (13)

self-paced administration usu- ally yielded nontrivial increases (30–100%) in the amount of time spent learning in the self-explanation condition relative to other conditions (14)

its effects have been shown across differ- ent content materials within task domains as well as across several different task domains (14)

Self-explana- tion effects have also been shown across an impressive range of learning outcomes, including various measures of memory, comprehension, and transfer. (14)

from:
Dunlosky, et al “Improving Students’ Learning with Effective Learning Techniques” Psychological Science in the Public Interest 14.1 (2013): 4-58.

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Learning Technique: Elaborative Interrogation

by Dr Davis on October 2, 2013

Although most studies have involved individual learning, elaborative-interrogation effects have also been shown among students working in dyads or small groups (Kahl & Woloshyn, 1994; Woloshyn & Stockley, 1995). (8)

the key to elaborative interrogation involves prompting learners to generate an explanation for an explicitly stated fact. (8)

The prevailing theoretical account of elaborative-interroga- tion effects is that elaborative interrogation enhances learning by supporting the integration of new information with existing prior knowledge. During elaborative interrogation, learners presumably “activate schemata . . . These schemata, in turn, help to organize new information which facilitates retrieval” (Willoughby & Wood, 1994, p. 140). Although the integration of new facts with prior knowledge may facilitate the organiza- tion (Hunt, 2006) of that information, organization alone is not sufficient—students must also be able to discriminate among related facts… (8)

elaborative interrogation does appear to benefit learners across a relatively wide age range (8)

prior knowledge is an important moderator of elaborative-interroga- tion effects, such that effects generally increase as prior knowledge increases. (9)

elaborative-interrogation effects are relatively robust across factual material of different kinds and with different contents. (9)

In a classroom situation as the place of study:
Performance was better for the elaborative-interrogation group than for the control group (76% versus 69%), even after con- trolling for prior knowledge and verbal ability. (10)

From
Dunlosky, et al “Improving Students’ Learning with Effective Learning Techniques” Psychological Science in the Public Interest 14.1 (2013): 4-58.

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Knowledge and Memory

by Dr Davis on October 1, 2013

Research shows that “preexisting knowledge enhances memory by facilitating distinctive processing; e.g., Rawson and Van Overschelde, 2008″ (Dunlosky, et al “Improving Students’ Learning with Effective Learning Techniques” Psychological Science in the Public Interest 14.1 (2013): 4-58.)

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What is Motivation?

by Dr Davis on September 9, 2013

According to Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers, motivation comes from doing work that is complex, when you have autonomy, and there is a clear relationship between effort and reward (150).

How can I provide that in an English classroom?

If I adopted the five point rubric suggested in one of the articles I was reading recently, I might could do that. I need to consider it. Can I name the five without looking them up?

ideas
organization
sentence structure
wording
?

That’s not terrible, four of the five. I think identifying it as ideas, rather than content, which is what I do now, might be an improvement. I am far more likely to mark reasonable ideas as acceptable without thinking perhaps I should give it a superior. Content, on the other hand, is so general to me that I think if they put in only what applies and they did a decent job, perhaps it should receive more than acceptable.

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The Manifesto Caught My Attention

by Dr Davis on May 30, 2013

A Manifesto for Community Colleges, Lifelong Learning, and Autodidacts

As some are raised a Catholic or an atheist or a vegetarian, I was raised an academic. …

Learners today are taking matters of education into their own hands. …

We have — we participate in — a system of education that works against the learner. The university is a place where students must abandon their passions and hopes…

I want to restore the high gloss image of the university as a vibrant campus of engaged learners. I want to free learning from the grip of education. …

Today’s learner is a doer and a maker of content….

Ultimately, what must happen is the development of a pedagogy, and an institution supporting that pedagogy, that is resilient in the face of the most rapidly-evolving learner in history. We must have pedagogies (and pedagogues) that are as responsive and flexible as our technologies. We must do more learning and teaching on the fly, collaborating with rather than corralling learners.

Interesting ideas.

male studying computerHow can we collaborate with our students? How can they collaborate with us?

I think it is more than “undergraduate research” as presently being implemented on many college campuses.

My colleague who brought one of her students into the reading of research as well as the creation of a new kind of class is an example of the kind of collaboration I think the author is calling for and that would be amazing. I don’t think many students are willing to do the kind of work that required, though. And this student decided not to become a teacher as a result. (Too much work and not that interesting to her.)

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Students Teaching Themselves

by Dr Davis on May 29, 2013

It is a scary thought. If my students can teach themselves, what will I do for a living?

I doubt it will impact my job situation (since I won’t be teaching in 25 years and education is slow to change), but it might impact others.

But I also see it as a positive and hopeful sign for the world at large.

Listen to Sugata Mitra’s LIFT talk on the Hole in the Wall Project, found at TED. He won the 2013 TED Prize.

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Best Practices in Teaching

by Dr Davis on February 26, 2013

Variety in instructional methods produces more significant learning experiences (Fink, 2003). As one colleague on campus put it, “The worst teaching technique to use today is the one you used last class period.”

Peer-teaching, in which students work together to explore new concepts under the guidance of a faculty member, improves comprehension of complex ideas and produces substantial improvements in end-of-course competency testing (Crouch & Mazur, 2001).

Hybrid course models, when compared to face-to-face and fully online models, produce the best learning outcomes (Dowling, Godfrey, & Gyles, 2003; Meyer, 2012).

From a report on teaching at my university.

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Flipped Classrooms

by Dr Davis on September 23, 2012

Now, first, let me say that I think that flipped classrooms are a great idea. I think that having the students do engaging work in the classroom, as discussed by a long-time blog read Casting Out Nines. One of my friends is presently flipping her classroom and I am excited about her work.

However, EdTech Magazine‘s “Colleges Go Proactive with Flipped Classrooms” begins with a statement that can easily be read the wrong way:

Professors are moving away from the straight lecture approach and running more hands-on learning and group activities in class — and they’re using more technology to get it done.

When I first read it, even though I know what a flipped classroom is, I thought the article was saying that lectures were disappearing while group activities were being done in class. The third paragraph clears up this misunderstanding by explaining that students watch the lectures outside of class and do group activities in class.

There’s a big difference between having no lectures and having lectures but not in class. (Yes, I know the first sentence can be read that way. It is not the most common way of reading it, however, even by someone who understands the flipped-classroom concept.)

I have heard people question flipped classrooms because “If the teacher gives the lecture online, why do the kids even have to come to class?” and “You just want to flip the classroom so you can stay in your pajamas all day.” (WHAT?) These are academics saying these things, by the way.

If students can come to class already having heard the introductory material and then while they are in class practice applying that material, I think everyone will be better off.

Let’s flip classes, not burgers!

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Mastery and Performance

by Dr Davis on May 30, 2012

The Tempered Radical has a post entitled, “Master and Performance are NOT the Same Thing.”

This is a confluence of readings. Perhaps I am noticing them because I am already reading on the topic. But today I was reading Drive by Daniel H. Pink about mastery and have read several other books recently about it.

Tempered Radical’s article says:

My thinking started when Dean Shareski challenged me to make self-assessment a larger part of the work that I do in my classroom. It was pushed further by a candid confession from one of my students that her determination to “do well” distracts her from actually learning anything.

Wow. That does sound familiar. At Location 2059 of 3487, Pink is finishing up his discussion of self-assessment, which he frames as a monthly performance review.

Tempered Radical’s Bill Ferriter’s differentiation between mastery and performance reminds me of Pinks discussion at Location 1922 regarding purpose goals versus profit goals, and their impact on life. It also reminds me of something else I’ve been reading (or maybe Pink and I just can’t find it) about performance goals versus learning goals. Students with learning goals do better than students with performance goals. (So making an A is not as strong a goal as “learning all about Old English literature” in my Brit Lit I course.)

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