Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning— by Peter C. Brown, Henry L Roediger III, and Mark A. McDaniel

Some of the key points and learning strategies they mention in the preface:

  • The most effective learning strategies are not intuitive
  • Spaced repetition of key ideas and the interleaving of different but related topics are two excellent teaching/learning strategies

 

“This is a book about what people can do for themselves right now in order to learn better and remember longer. The responsibility for learning rests with every individual.”

 

 

Some the key points and learning strategies they mention in the first chapter:

  • When they talk about learning they mean acquiring knowledge and skills and having them readily available from memory so you can make sense of future problems and opportunities.
  • There are some immutable aspects of learning that we can probably all agree on:
    1. To be useful, learning requires memory, so what we’ve learned is till there later when we need it.
    2. We need to keep learning and remembering all our lives.
    3. Learning is an acquired skill and most effective strategies are counterintuitive
  • Learning is deeper and more durable when it’s effortful
  • We are poor judges of when we are learning well and when we’re not
  • Rereading text and massed practice (i.e., cramming) of a skill or new knowledge are by far the preferred study strategies of learners of all stripes, but they”re also among the least productive. Rereading and cramming give rise to feeling of fluency that are taken to be signs of mastery, but for true mastery or durability these strategies are largely a waste of time.
  • Retrieval practice — recalling facts or concepts or events from memory — is a more effective learning strategy than reviewing by rereading
    • Flashcards are a simple example
    • Retrieval strengthens the memory and interrupts forgetting
    • A single simple quiz after reading a text or hearing a lecture produces better learning and remembering that rereading the text of reviewing lecture notes.
  • Periodic practice arrest forgetting, strengthens retrieval routes, and is essential for hanging onto the knowledge you want to gain.
  • Space out practice and interleave the practice of 2 or more subjects, retrieval is harder and feels less productive, but the effort produces longer lasting learning and enables more versatile application of it in later settings.
  • Trying to solve a problem before being taught the solution leads to better learning, even when errors are made in the attempt.
  • Learning styles are not supported by the empirical research.
  • When you’re adept at extracting the underlying principles or “rules” that differentiate types of problems, you’re more successful at picking the right solutions in unfamiliar situations. This skill is better acquired through interleaved and varied practice than massed practice.
  • In virtually all areas of learning, you build better mastery when you use testing as a tool to identify and bring up your areas of weakness.
  • All learning requires a foundation of prior knowledge.

 

If you practice elaboration, there’s no known limit to how much you can learn. Elaboration is the process of giving new material meaning by expressing it in your own words and connecting it with what you already know. The more you can explain about the way your new learning relates to your prior knowledge, the stronger your grasp of the new learning will be, and the more connections you create that will help you remember it later.***

 

“When learning is hard, you’re doing important work.”

 

“Making mistakes and correcting them builds the bridges to advanced learning.”

 

Learning is stronger when it matters.^^^

 

  • One of the most striking research findings is the power of active retrieval — testing — to strengthen memory, and the more effortful the retrieval, the stronger the benefit.
  • The act of retrieving learning from memory has 2 profound benefits:
    1. It tells you what you know and don’t know, and therefore where to focus further study
    2. Recalling what you have learned causes your bring to reconsolidate the memory
  • To learn better and remember longer, [use]:
    • various forms of retrieval practice, such as low-stakes quizzing and self-testing
    • spacing out practice
    • interleaving the practice of different but related topics or skills
    • trying to solve a problem before being taught the solution
    • and distilling the underlying principles or rules that differentiate types of problems

 

One of the best habits a learner can instill in herself is regular self-quizzing to recalibrate her understanding of what she does and does not know. 

 

Brown, P. C., Roediger III, H. L., & McDaniel, M. A. (2014).
Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning.
Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Retrieved from https://www.amazon.com/Make-Stick-Science-Successful-Learning/dp/0674729013

 

 

*** This quote reminds me of what turned Quin Schultze’ learning around. With Quin’s permission, the following excerpt is from Quentin Schultze’s solid book, Communicate like a True Leader (pages 35 & 36)

 

 

 

During the beginning of my sophomore year, I started reviewing each day’s class notes after classes were over. I soon realized how little I recalled even of that day’s lectures and discussions. It dawned on me that normal note-taking merely gave me the impression that I was learning. I implemented a strategy that revolutionized my learning, launched me successfully into graduate school, helped me become a solid teacher, equipped me to be a productive researcher-writer, and made it possible for me to be an engaging speaker.

I not only reviewed my notes daily. I rewrote them from scratch within a couple of hours of each class meeting. I used my actual course notes as prompts to recall more of the lecture and to help me organize my own reactions to the material. My notes expanded. My retention swelled.

My revised notes became a kind of journal of my dialogue with the instructor and the readings. I integrated into my revised course notes my daily reading notes, reworking them into language that was meaningful to me and preparing to ask the instructor at the next class anything that I was uncertain about. From then on I earned nearly straight A’s with far less cramming for exams.

Moreover, I had begun journaling about my learning — one of the most important communication skills. I became a real learner by discovering how to pay attention to others and myself.

In a broad sense, I learned how to listen.

 

^^^ This quote explains why it is so important to answer the first question a learner asks when approaching a new lesson/topic/lecture/etc.:

  • Why is this topic relevant?
    i.e., why is this topic important and worthy of my time to learn it?

 

 

From DSC:
After seeing the article entitled, “Scientists Are Turning Alexa into an Automated Lab Helper,” I began to wonder…might Alexa be a tool to periodically schedule & provide practice tests & distributed practice on content? In the future, will there be “learning bots” that a learner can employ to do such self-testing and/or distributed practice?

 

 

From page 45 of the PDF available here:

 

Might Alexa be a tool to periodically schedule/provide practice tests & distributed practice on content?

 

 

 

Why Students Forget—and What You Can Do About It — from edutopia.org by Youki Terada
Our brains are wired to forget, but there are research-backed strategies you can use to make your teaching stick.

Excerpt:

5 Teacher Strategies
When students learn a new piece of information, they make new synaptic connections. Two scientifically based ways to help them retain learning is by making as many connections as possible—typically to other concepts, thus widening the “spiderweb” of neural connections—but also by accessing the memory repeatedly over time.

Which explains why the following learning strategies, all tied to research conducted within the past five years, are so effective:

  1. Peer-to-peer explanations: When students explain what they’ve learned to peers, fading memories are reactivated, strengthened, and consolidated. This strategy not only increases retention but also encourages active learning (Sekeres et al., 2016).
  2. The spacing effect: Instead of covering a topic and then moving on, revisit key ideas throughout the school year. Research shows that students perform better academically when given multiple opportunities to review learned material. For example, teachers can quickly incorporate a brief review of what was covered several weeks earlier into ongoing lessons, or use homework to re-expose students to previous concepts (Carpenter et al., 2012; Kang, 2016).
  3. Frequent practice tests: Akin to regularly reviewing material, giving frequent practice tests can boost long-term retention and, as a bonus, help protect against stress, which often impairs memory performance. Practice tests can be low stakes and ungraded, such as a quick pop quiz at the start of a lesson or a trivia quiz on Kahoot, a popular online game-based learning platform. Breaking down one large high-stakes test into smaller tests over several months is an effective approach (Adesope, Trevisan, & Sundararajan, 2017; Butler, 2010; Karpicke, 2016).
  4. Interleave concepts: Instead of grouping similar problems together, mix them up. Solving problems involves identifying the correct strategy to use and then executing the strategy. When similar problems are grouped together, students don’t have to think about what strategies to use—they automatically apply the same solution over and over. Interleaving forces students to think on their feet, and encodes learning more deeply (Rohrer, 2012; Rohrer, Dedrick, & Stershic, 2015).
  5. Combine text with images: It’s often easier to remember information that’s been presented in different ways, especially if visual aids can help organize information. For example, pairing a list of countries occupied by German forces during World War II with a map of German military expansion can reinforce that lesson. It’s easier to remember what’s been read and seen, instead of either one alone (Carney & Levin, 2002; Bui & McDaniel, 2015).

So even though forgetting starts as soon as learning happens—as Ebbinghaus’s experiments demonstrate—research shows that there are simple and effective strategies to help make learning stick.

 

 

 

Will Letter Grades Survive? — from edutopia.org by Laura McKenna
A century-old pillar of the school system is under fire as schools look to modernize student assessment.

Excerpt:

Under pressure from an unprecedented constellation of forces—from state lawmakers to prestigious private schools and college admissions offices—the ubiquitous one-page high school transcript lined with A–F letter grades may soon be a relic of the past.

In the last decade, at least 15 state legislatures and boards of education have adopted policies incentivizing their public schools to prioritize measures other than grades when assessing students’ skills and competencies. And more recently, over 150 of the top private high schools in the U.S., including Phillips Exeter and Dalton—storied institutions which have long relied on the status conveyed by student ranking—have pledged to shift to new transcripts that provide more comprehensive, qualitative feedback on students while ruling out any mention of credit hours, GPAs, or A–F grades.

 

 

“The grading system right now is demoralizing and is designed to produce winners and losers,” said Looney. “The purpose of education is not to sort kids—it’s to grow kids. Teachers need to coach and mentor, but with grades, teachers turn into judges. I think we can show the unique abilities of kids without stratifying them.”

 

 


There are other unanswered questions and challenges to be worked out, too. Will college admissions counselors have enough time, especially at large public colleges, to look meaningfully at dense digital portfolios of student work? Will the new transcripts create too much work and new training for K-12 teachers, as they struggle to measure hard-to-define categories of learning? Perhaps most importantly, will parents buy in?

 

 

 

Also relevant/see:

What Failing Students Want Us to Remember — from edutopia.org by Rebecca Alber
By seeing students as more than their grades, we can enable them to reach their potential.

Excerpt:

1. I am not my grade. I don’t get good grades or earn a lot of points on assignments even though I know some stuff. I often won’t even try because I know I’m going to get a bad grade. I wish there were other ways besides grades or points to show who I really am.

2. I can still contribute meaningfully. I like to help, but I pretend sometimes like I don’t and that I don’t care about being part of the school or my class. I protect myself because in school, the kids with good grades get picked to help more often.

3. I am not a disappointment. School is hard, and I know I let my teachers down, and when working in a group, I let down my classmates too. Because of this, I struggle to feel good about myself every day. What am I doing right? I wish in school that we could look at all the stuff we do right and not just mostly the things we do wrong.

4. Meet me where I am. There’s stuff I can do—just not this, right now, like this. I wish I had more time. I wish the directions and assignments made more sense to me. So much of school is so rushed and confusing.

5. Don’t give up. Find a way for me. I’m not sure why I don’t get it. I want someone to keep trying to find out. It’s not that I don’t want to do it, even though it sometimes looks like that. It helps when adults ask me questions. I can’t do it right now, but maybe someday I’ll be able to.

 

 

 

 


From DSC:
From an early age, we need to help our students learn how to learn. What tips, advice, and/or questions can we help our students get into the habit of asking themselves? Along these lines, the article below,”How Metacognition Boosts Learning,” provides some excellent questions. 

Speaking of questions…I’ll add some more, but of a different sort:

  • How can all educators do a better job of helping their students learn how to learn?
  • How can Instructional Designers and Instructional Technologists help out here? Librarians? Provosts? Deans? Department Chairs? Teachers? Trainers (in the corporate L&D space)?
  • How might technologies come into play here in terms of building more effective web-based learner profiles that can be fed into various platforms and/or into teachers’ game plans?

I appreciate Bill Knapp and his perspectives very much (see here and here; Bill is GRCC’s Executive Director of Distance Learning & Instructional Technologies). The last we got together, we wondered out loud:

  • Why don’t teachers, professors, school systems, administrations within in K-20 address this need/topic more directly…? (i.e., how can we best help our students learn how to learn?)
  • Should we provide a list of potentially helpful techniques, questions, tools, courses, modules, streams of content, or other resources on how to learn?
  • Should we be weaving these sorts of things into our pedagogies?
  • Are there tools — such as smartphone related apps — that can be of great service here? For example, are there apps for sending out reminders and/or motivational messages?

As Bill asserted, we need to help our students build self-efficacy and a mindset of how to learn. Then learners can pivot into new areas with much more confidence. I agree. In an era that continues to emphasize freelancing and entrepreneurship — plus dealing with a rapidly-changing workforce — people now need to be able to learn quickly and effectively. They need to have the self confidence to be able to pivot. So how can we best prepare our students for their futures?

Also, on a relevant but slightly different note (and I suppose is of the flavor of a Universal Design for Learning approach)…I think that “tests” given to special needs children — for example that might have to do with executive functioning, and/or identifying issues, and/or providing feedback as to how a particular learner might best absorb information — would be helpful for ALL students to take. If I realize that the way my brain learns best is to have aural and visual materials presented on any given topic, that is very useful information for me to realize — and the sooner the better!

 



How Metacognition Boosts Learning — from edutopia.org by Youki Terada
Students often lack the metacognitive skills they need to succeed, but they can develop these skills by addressing some simple questions.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Strategies that target students’ metacognition—the ability to think about thinking—can close a gap that some students experience between how prepared they feel for a test and how prepared they actually are. In a new study, students in an introductory college statistics class who took a short online survey before each exam asking them to think about how they would prepare for it earned higher grades in the course than their peers—a third of a letter grade higher, on average. This low-cost intervention helped students gain insight into their study strategies, boosting their metacognitive skills and giving them tools to be more independent learners.

More recently, a team of psychologists and neuroscientists published a comprehensive analysis of 10 learning techniques commonly used by students. They discovered that one of the most popular techniques—rereading material and highlighting key points—is also one of the least effective because it leads students to develop a false sense of mastery. They review a passage and move on without realizing that they haven’t thoroughly understood and absorbed the material.

Metacognition helps students recognize the gap between being familiar with a topic and understanding it deeply. But weaker students often don’t have this metacognitive recognition—which leads to disappointment and can discourage them from trying harder the next time.

To promote students’ metacognition, middle and high school teachers can implement the following strategies. Elementary teachers can model or modify these strategies with their students to provide more scaffolding.

During class, students should ask themselves:

  • What are the main ideas of today’s lesson?
  • Was anything confusing or difficult?
  • If something isn’t making sense, what question should I ask the teacher?
  • Am I taking proper notes?
  • What can I do if I get stuck on a problem?

Before a test, students should ask themselves:

  • What will be on the test?
  • What areas do I struggle with or feel confused about?
  • How much time should I set aside to prepare for an upcoming test?
  • Do I have the necessary materials (books, school supplies, a computer and online access, etc.) and a quiet place to study, with no distractions?
  • What strategies will I use to study? Is it enough to simply read and review the material, or will I take practice tests, study with a friend, or write note cards?
  • What grade would I get if I were to take the test right now?

After a test, students should ask themselves:

  • What questions did I get wrong, and why did I get them wrong?
  • Were there any surprises during the test?
  • Was I well-prepared for the test?
  • What could I have done differently?
  • Am I receiving useful, specific feedback from my teacher to help me progress?

 



From DSC:
Below are a few resources more about metacognition and learning how to learn:

 

 

 

  • Students should be taught how to study. — from Daniel Willingham
    Excerpt:
    Rereading is a terribly ineffective strategy. The best strategy–by far–is to self-test–which is the 9th most popular strategy out of 11 in this study. Self-testing leads to better memory even compared to concept mapping (Karpicke & Blunt, 2011).

 

 

 

  • The Lesson You Never Got Taught in School: How to Learn! — from bigthink.com
    Excerpt:
    Have you ever wondered whether it is best to do your studying in large chunks or divide your studying over a period of time? Research has found that the optimal level of distribution of sessions for learning is 10-20% of the length of time that something needs to be remembered. So if you want to remember something for a year you should study at least every month, if you want to remember something for five years you should space your learning every six to twelve months. If you want to remember something for a week you should space your learning 12-24 hours apart. It does seem however that the distributed-practice effect may work best when processing information deeply – so for best results you might want to try a distributed practice and self-testing combo.There is however a major catch – do you ever find that the amount of studying you do massively increases before an exam? Most students fall in to the “procrastination scallop” – we are all guilty at one point of cramming all the knowledge in right before an exam, but the evidence is pretty conclusive that this is the worst way to study, certainly when it comes to remembering for the long term. What is unclear is whether cramming is so popular because students don’t understand the benefits of distributed practice or whether testing practices are to blame – probably a combination of both. One thing is for sure, if you take it upon yourself to space your learning over time you are pretty much guaranteed to see improvements.

 

 



Addendum on 1/22/18:

Using Metacognition to Promote Learning
IDEA Paper #63 | December 2016
By Barbara J. Millis

Excerpt:

Some Definitions of Metacognition
Metacognition, simplistically defined, can be described as “cognition about cognition” or “thinking about thinking” (Flavell, Miller & Miller, 2002, p. 175; Shamir, Metvarech, & Gida, 2009, p. 47; Veeman, Van Hout-Wolters, & Afflerbach, 2006, p. 5). However, because metacognition is multifaceted and multi-layered (Dunlosky & Metcalf, 2009, p. 1; Flavell, 1976; Hall, Danielewicz, & Ware , 2013, p. 149; Lovett, 2013, p. 20), more complex definitions are called for. Basically, metacognition must be viewed as an ongoing process that involves reflection and action. Metacognitive thinkers change both their understandings and their strategies. The clearest definitions of metacognition emphasize its nature as a process or cycle.

Several authors (Nilson, 2013, p. 9; Schraw, 2001; & Zimmerman, 1998; 2000; 2002) narrow this process down to three ongoing stages. The first stage, pre-planning, emphasizes the need for reflection on both one’s own thinking and the task at hand, including reflection on past strategies that might have succeeded or failed. Following this self-reflection, during planning, metacognitive thinkers develop and implement—put into action—a plan. In the third and final stage—post-planning adjustments/revisions—subsequent analysis following implementation leads to modifications, revised decisions, and new future plans. In an excellent summary, Wirth states that “metacognition requires students both to understand how they are learning and to develop the ability to make plans, to monitor progress and to make adjustments” (as cited in Jaschik, 2011, p. 2).

 

Conclusion: As we have seen, metacognition is a complex but valuable skill that can nurture students’ learning and their self-awareness of the learning process. It is best conceived as a three-step process that can occur through deliberately designed activities. Such activities can take place before, during, and after face-to-face lessons or through online learning. They can also be built around both multiple choice and essay examinations. Immersing students in these metacognitive activities—assuming there are opportunities for practice and feedback—can result in students who are reflective learners.

 

 

 

 

Keeping Joy in the Classroom — from teachervision.com by Lisa Koplik
How do we keep joy in our classrooms — for both students and teachers?

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Teaching today is nothing like it was in the past. Gone are the days of loose curriculum, infrequent observations by your principal, and learning cursive; we now have structured lessons, unannounced walkthroughs by both the principal and the superintendent, and a lack of downtime.

How do we keep joy in our classrooms — for the kids and also for us? Take a look at some tips for continuing to make teaching and learning fun.

4. Allow for Choice
As much as you can, give the kids choices. While this isn’t always possible, there are ways to promote student choice. If your school has an intervention time, or a “What I Need” (WIN) block, create a menu of student options. Recently, my WIN time menu has included Greek myths, multiplication practice, a persuasive essay piece, informational task cards, and multi-step word problems in math. These activities are considered Must-Do, and if they finish all Must-Dos, they can move on to optional choices. Another great way to allow for choice is by using Seesaw, a website that allows for students to represent their learning in a variety of ways. I have used Seesaw during assessments to allow students the choice of typing, voice recording, or writing by hand. They definitely enjoy filming themselves talking!

 

 

From DSC:
Seeing as all of us are now into lifelong learning, it’s to all of our benefits to make learning fun and enjoyable. In fact, I wish that were more a part of our formative assessments…not just how did our students score on this or that standardized test. The skills that are needed in the future are hard to cram into a standardized test; skills such as creativity, entrepreneurship, tenacity/grit, patience, teamwork and collaboration, being innovative, being able to quickly adapt to change, etc.

Sometimes the problem is that it takes too much time to provide a solid level of choice. I get that. But with some tools/services — as in the case where Lisa mentioned her use of Seesaw — there are some options that aren’t so labor-intensive for the teachers.

I have it that if someone has had an extended period of painful or bad learning experiences, chances are that they won’t want to “go back to school” — in whatever form that additional training/education might look like. But if they enjoyed their learning experiences, it becomes much easier for consistent, lifelong learning to get baked into our daily/weekly habits and into our lives.

 

 

 

 

 

How a Flipped Syllabus, Twitter and YouTube Made This Professor Teacher of the Year — from edsurge.com by Bruce Anderson

Excerpt:

A few years after John Boyer began teaching world geography at Virginia Tech, a survey revealed that 58 percent of college-aged Americans could not locate Japan on a map. Sixty-nine percent could not find the United Kingdom.

Boyer raced ahead undaunted. He loved the scope and implications of his subject. “The great thing about geography is . . . everything happens somewhere,” he explains. “Geography is the somewhere.”

Boyer is now a senior instructor and researcher at Virginia Tech. He took over World Regions, an entry-level geography class, while he was working on a master’s degree nearly 20 years ago. The class then had 50 students. Now the course is offered each semester and a whopping 3,000 students take it in any given school year.

What has made it so popular? Innovative pedagogy, for starters. Boyer uses a “flipped syllabus” in which students’ final grades are based on the points they’ve earned—not lost—throughout the semester. His legendary assignments range from reviewing films to tweeting on behalf of world leaders (more on that below). Mostly, Boyer himself has made the class a rite of passage for undergraduates, who typically find him funny, passionate, and consummately engaging. Boyer even created a comic alter ego called the Plaid Avenger, who has narrated textbooks and podcasts but is now largely retired—though Boyer still sports his famous plaid jackets and drives a plaid Scion.

 

 

Given the disparity in knowledge levels as well as the disparity in what they like to do in terms of work, whether that be watching international film or writing papers, I wanted to increase the flexibility of what the students could do to achieve a grade in this class.

 

 

Tell us about the Twitter World Leaders.
You can choose to be a true, real world leader. Of course, they’re fake accounts and we make sure everyone knows you’re the fake Donald Trump or the fake Angela Merkel of Germany. Once you take on that role, you will tweet as the world leader for the entire semester, and you have to tweet two to three times a day. And it’s not silly stuff. What is the chancellor of Germany working on right now? What other world leaders is Angela Merkel meeting with? What’s going on in Germany or the EEU?

 

 

 

Education must transform to make people ready for AI — from ft.com by Jo Owen
Schools will need to teach know-how, not know-what

Excerpts:

A recent study by Oxford university estimates that nearly half of all jobs in the US are at risk from automation and computers in the next 20 years. While advancing technologies have been endangering jobs since the start of the Industrial Revolution, this time it is not just manual posts: artificial intelligence — the so-called fourth industrial revolution — promises to change the shape of professional work as well.

For instance, lawtech is already proving adept at sorting and analysing legal documents far faster and more cheaply than junior lawyers can. Similarly, routine tasks in accounting are succumbing to AI at the expense of more junior staff.

 

The next generation will need a new set of skills to survive, let alone thrive, in an AI world. Literacy, numeracy, science and languages are all important, but they share one thing in common: computers are going to be far better than humans at processing these forms of explicit knowledge. The risk is that the education system will be churning out humans who are no more than second-rate computers, so if the focus of education continues to be on transferring explicit knowledge across the generations, we will be in trouble.

The AI challenge is not just about educating more AI and computer experts, although that is important. It is also about building skills that AI cannot emulate. These are essential human skills such as teamwork, leadership, listening, staying positive, dealing with people and managing crises and conflict.

 

Evaluation and league tables are a barrier to success — you get what you measure in education as much as you do in business.

 

From DSC:
“Teamwork, leadership, listening, staying positive, dealing with people and managing crises and conflict.” Do our standardized tests measure these types of things? No, I agree with you. They don’t. They measure “know-what skills.”

 

“We are doubling down on the idea that if we get children to know things and regurgitate them in a certain way in an exam, then we are setting them up for success in life.”

Tom Ravenscroft

 

 

 

 


Also see:


 

Capitalism that Works for Everyone — from gettingsmart.com by Tom Vander Ark

Excerpts:

Inequality Gets Worse From Here
Our new report on the future of work and learning illustrated how the combination of artificial intelligence, big data and enabling technologies like robotics are changing the employment landscape fast.

Our new paper on the future of work and learning suggests a couple solutions…

 

Provosts, Pedagogy, and Digital Learning — from er.educause.edu by Kenneth Green, Charles Cook, Laura Niesen de Abruna and Patricia Rogers
Panel members from an EDUCAUSE 2017 Annual Conference session offer insights about the role of provosts and chief academic officers in digital courseware deployment and the challenges of using technology to advance teaching, learning, and student success.

Excerpt:

At the EDUCAUSE 2017 Annual Conference, Kenneth C. (Casey) Green moderated a panel discussion with two of the CAOs involved in the Association of Chief Academic Officers (ACAO) Digital Fellows Program and with the principal investigator on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant that created the year-long program. In this session, the three panel members offered their perspectives on campus IT investments, including what the panelists see as working—and what they see as missing—in instructional technology portfolios today.

 

 

Green: What about protection and support for faculty—especially young faculty? Often and disproportionately, younger faculty handle the heavy lifting for departments because, being younger, they’re supposed to “do the technology stuff.” Yet, when they do it—and I hear this at all types of institutions—they don’t get credit for the work in terms of review and promotion. The technology work doesn’t count, particularly at four-year colleges and research institutions.2 Young faculty are told: “Wait. Get tenured, get through the hurdle, get over the hump, then do it. Because this will not help your career—even if you’re being pressured to be the lead person on a digital learning initiative for your institution.”

 

 

Niesen de Abruna: …Now the CIO has to be a partner with the CAO. Their joint enterprise is to leverage learning in their community and to work together and translate things for one another, acting as partners in terms of trying to benefit from what’s happening in instructional design. It’s very exciting for CIOs and CAOs to have that sort of relationship.

 

 

Also see:

  • Insights from Campus Leaders on Current Challenges and Expectations of IT — from er.educause.edu by Kathryn Gates and Joan Cheverie
    IT’s role across a higher education institution is crucial, yet campus leaders typically understand IT challenges and opportunities based largely on their functional roles. Interviews with campus leaders offer insights into these views, as well as how to understand IT more broadly to better serve an institution’s mission.

 

 

 

From DSC:
I’m posting this in an effort to:

  • Help students learn how to learn
  • Help students achieve the greatest possible returns on their investments (both their $$ and their time) when they are trying to learn about new things

I’d like to thank Mr. William Knapp, Executive Director at GRCC for Distance Learning & Instructional Technology, for sharing this resource on Twitter.


A better way to study through self-testing and distributed practice — from kqed.org

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

As I prepared to write this column, I relied on some pretty typical study techniques. First, as I’ve done since my student days, I generously highlighted key information in my background reading. Along the way, I took notes, many of them verbatim, which is a snap with digital copying and pasting. (Gotta love that command-C, command-V.) Then I reread my notes and highlights. Sound familiar? Students everywhere embrace these techniques and yet, as it turns out, they are not particularly good ways to absorb new material. At least not if that’s all you do.

Researchers have devoted decades to studying how to study. The research literature is frankly overwhelming. Luckily for all of us, the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest published a review article a few years ago that remains the most comprehensive guide out there. Its 47 pages hold valuable lessons for learners of any age and any subject — especially now, with end-of-semester exams looming.

The authors examined ten different study techniques, including highlighting, rereading, taking practice tests, writing summaries, explaining the content to yourself or another person and using mnemonic devices. They drew on the results of nearly 400 prior studies. Then, in an act of boldness not often seen in academic research, they actually awarded ratings: high, low or moderate utility.

The study strategies that missed the top rating weren’t necessarily ineffective, explains the lead author John Dunlosky, a psychology professor at Kent State University, but they lacked sufficient evidence of efficacy, or were proven useful only in certain areas of study or with certain types of students. “We were trying to find strategies that have a broad impact across all domains for all students,” Dunlosky says, “so it was a pretty tough rating scale.”

 

In fact, only two techniques got the top rating: practice testing and “distributed practice,” which means scheduling study activities over a period of time — the opposite of cramming.

Practice testing can take many forms: flashcards, answering questions at the end of a textbook chapter, tackling review quizzes online. Research shows it works well for students from preschool through graduate and professional education.

Testing yourself works because you have to make the effort to pull information from your memory — something we don’t do when we merely review our notes or reread the textbook.


As for distributed practice vs. cramming, Dunlosky and his fellow authors write that “cramming is better than not studying at all,” but if you are going to devote four or five hours to studying for your biology mid-term, you would you be far better off spacing them out over a several days or weeks. “You get much more bang for your buck if you space,” Dunlosky told me.

 

 

Also see:

Improving Students’ Learning With Effective Learning Techniques — from journals.sagepub.com by John Dunlosky, Katherine A. Rawson, Elizabeth J. Marsh, Mitchell J. Nathan, and Daniel T. Willingham
Promising Directions From Cognitive and Educational Psychology

Excerpt:

In this monograph, we discuss 10 learning techniques in detail and offer recommendations about their relative utility. We selected techniques that were expected to be relatively easy to use and hence could be adopted by many students. Also, some techniques (e.g., highlighting and rereading) were selected because students report relying heavily on them, which makes it especially important to examine how well they work. The techniques include elaborative interrogation, self-explanation, summarization, highlighting (or underlining), the keyword mnemonic, imagery use for text learning, rereading, practice testing, distributed practice, and interleaved practice.

 

 

 

In fact, only two techniques got the top rating: practice testing and “distributed practice,” which means scheduling study activities over a period of time — the opposite of cramming.

 

 

From DSC:
This is yet another reason that I like the approach of using streams of content to help people learn something new. Because you can implement distributed practice, encourage recall, etc. when you put the content out there at regular intervals.

 

 

 

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