Combining retrieval, spacing, and feedback boosts STEM learning — from retrievalpractice.org

Punchline:
Scientists demonstrated that when college students used a quizzing program that combined retrieval practice, spacing, and feedback, exam performance increased by nearly a letter grade.

—-

Abstract
The most effective educational interventions often face significant barriers to widespread implementation because they are highly specific, resource intense, and/or comprehensive. We argue for an alternative approach to improving education: leveraging technology and cognitive science to develop interventions that generalize, scale, and can be easily implemented within any curriculum. In a classroom experiment, we investigated whether three simple, but powerful principles from cognitive science could be combined to improve learning. Although implementation of these principles only required a few small changes to standard practice in a college engineering course, it significantly increased student performance on exams. Our findings highlight the potential for developing inexpensive, yet effective educational interventions that can be implemented worldwide.

In summary, the combination of spaced retrieval practice and required feedback viewing had a powerful effect on student learning of complex engineering material. Of course, the principles from cognitive science could have been applied without the use of technology. However, our belief is that advances in technology and ideas from machine learning have the potential to exponentially increase the effectiveness and impact of these principles. Automation is an important benefit, but technology also can provide a personalized learning experience for a rapidly growing, diverse body of students who have different knowledge and academic backgrounds. Through the use of data mining, algorithms, and experimentation, technology can help us understand how best to implement these principles for individual learners while also producing new discoveries about how people learn. Finally, technology facilitates access. Even if an intervention has a small effect size, it can still have a substantial impact if broadly implemented. For example, aspirin has a small effect on preventing heart attacks and strokes when taken regularly, but its impact is large because it is cheap and widely available. The synergy of cognitive science, machine learning, and technology has the potential to produce inexpensive, but powerful learning tools that generalize, scale, and can be easily implemented worldwide.

Keywords: Education. Technology. Retrieval practice. Spacing. Feedback. Transfer of learning.

 

 

New Virtual 3D Microscope Lab Program Offered for Online Students by Oregon State University — from virtuallyinspired.org
OSU solves degree completion issue for online biology students

Excerpt:

“We had to create an alternative that gives students the foundational experience of being in a lab where they can maneuver a microscope’s settings and adjust the images just as they would in a face-to-face environment,” said Shannon Riggs, the Ecampus director of course development and training.

Multimedia developers mounted a camera on top of an actual microscope and took pictures of what was on the slides. Using 3D modeling software, the photos were interweaved to create 3D animation. Using game development software enabled students to adjust lighting, zoom and manipulate the images, just like in a traditional laboratory. The images were programmed to create a virtual simulation.

The final product is “an interactive web application that utilizes a custom 3D microscope and incorporates animation and real-life slide photos,” according to Victor Yee, an Ecampus assistant director of course development and training.

 

Also see:

  • YouTube to Invest $20 Million in Educational Content — from campustechnology.com by Dian Schaffhauser
    Excerpt:
    YouTube, a Google company, has announced plans to invest $20 million in YouTube Learning, an initiative hinted at during the summer. The goal: “to support education-focused creators and expert organizations that create and curate high-quality learning content on the video site.” Funding will be spent on supporting video creators who want to produce education series and wooing other education video providers to the site.

 

 

Reflections on “Are ‘smart’ classrooms the future?” [Johnston]

Are ‘smart’ classrooms the future? — from campustechnology.com by Julie Johnston
Indiana University explores that question by bringing together tech partners and university leaders to share ideas on how to design classrooms that make better use of faculty and student time.

Excerpt:

To achieve these goals, we are investigating smart solutions that will:

  • Untether instructors from the room’s podium, allowing them control from anywhere in the room;
  • Streamline the start of class, including biometric login to the room’s technology, behind-the-scenes routing of course content to room displays, control of lights and automatic attendance taking;
  • Offer whiteboards that can be captured, routed to different displays in the room and saved for future viewing and editing;
  • Provide small-group collaboration displays and the ability to easily route content to and from these displays; and
  • Deliver these features through a simple, user-friendly and reliable room/technology interface.

Activities included collaborative brainstorming focusing on these questions:

  • What else can we do to create the classroom of the future?
  • What current technology exists to solve these problems?
  • What could be developed that doesn’t yet exist?
  • What’s next?

 

 

 

From DSC:
Though many peoples’ — including faculty members’ — eyes gloss over when we start talking about learning spaces and smart classrooms, it’s still an important topic. Personally, I’d rather be learning in an engaging, exciting learning environment that’s outfitted with a variety of tools (physically as well as digitally and virtually-based) that make sense for that community of learners. Also, faculty members have very limited time to get across campus and into the classroom and get things setup…the more things that can be automated in those setup situations the better!

I’ve long posted items re: machine-to-machine communications, voice recognition/voice-enabled interfaces, artificial intelligence, bots, algorithms, a variety of vendors and their products including Amazon’s Alexa / Apple’s Siri / Microsoft’s Cortana / and Google’s Home or Google Assistant, learning spaces, and smart classrooms, as I do think those things are components of our future learning ecosystems.

 

 

 

Reflections on “Inside Amazon’s artificial intelligence flywheel” [Levy]

Inside Amazon’s artificial intelligence flywheel — from wired.com by Steven Levy
How deep learning came to power Alexa, Amazon Web Services, and nearly every other division of the company.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Amazon loves to use the word flywheel to describe how various parts of its massive business work as a single perpetual motion machine. It now has a powerful AI flywheel, where machine-learning innovations in one part of the company fuel the efforts of other teams, who in turn can build products or offer services to affect other groups, or even the company at large. Offering its machine-learning platforms to outsiders as a paid service makes the effort itself profitable—and in certain cases scoops up yet more data to level up the technology even more.

It took a lot of six-pagers to transform Amazon from a deep-learning wannabe into a formidable power. The results of this transformation can be seen throughout the company—including in a recommendations system that now runs on a totally new machine-learning infrastructure. Amazon is smarter in suggesting what you should read next, what items you should add to your shopping list, and what movie you might want to watch tonight. And this year Thirumalai started a new job, heading Amazon search, where he intends to use deep learning in every aspect of the service.

“If you asked me seven or eight years ago how big a force Amazon was in AI, I would have said, ‘They aren’t,’” says Pedro Domingos, a top computer science professor at the University of Washington. “But they have really come on aggressively. Now they are becoming a force.”

Maybe the force.

 

 

From DSC:
When will we begin to see more mainstream recommendation engines for learning-based materials? With the demand for people to reinvent themselves, such a next generation learning platform can’t come soon enough!

  • Turning over control to learners to create/enhance their own web-based learner profiles; and allowing people to say who can access their learning profiles.
  • AI-based recommendation engines to help people identify curated, effective digital playlists for what they want to learn about.
  • Voice-driven interfaces.
  • Matching employees to employers.
  • Matching one’s learning preferences (not styles) with the content being presented as one piece of a personalized learning experience.
  • From cradle to grave. Lifelong learning.
  • Multimedia-based, interactive content.
  • Asynchronously and synchronously connecting with others learning about the same content.
  • Online-based tutoring/assistance; remote assistance.
  • Reinvent. Staying relevant. Surviving.
  • Competency-based learning.

 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re about to embark on a period in American history where career reinvention will be critical, perhaps more so than it’s ever been before. In the next decade, as many as 50 million American workers—a third of the total—will need to change careers, according to McKinsey Global Institute. Automation, in the form of AI (artificial intelligence) and RPA (robotic process automation), is the primary driver. McKinsey observes: “There are few precedents in which societies have successfully retrained such large numbers of people.”

Bill Triant and Ryan Craig

 

 

 

Also relevant/see:

Online education’s expansion continues in higher ed with a focus on tech skills — from educationdive.com by James Paterson

Dive Brief:

  • Online learning continues to expand in higher ed with the addition of several online master’s degrees and a new for-profit college that offers a hybrid of vocational training and liberal arts curriculum online.
  • Inside Higher Ed reported the nonprofit learning provider edX is offering nine master’s degrees through five U.S. universities — the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Texas at Austin, Indiana University, Arizona State University and the University of California, San Diego. The programs include cybersecurity, data science, analytics, computer science and marketing, and they cost from around $10,000 to $22,000. Most offer stackable certificates, helping students who change their educational trajectory.
  • Former Harvard University Dean of Social Science Stephen Kosslyn, meanwhile, will open Foundry College in January. The for-profit, two-year program targets adult learners who want to upskill, and it includes training in soft skills such as critical thinking and problem solving. Students will pay about $1,000 per course, though the college is waiving tuition for its first cohort.

 

 

 

Why one London university is now offering degrees in VR — from techrepublic.com by Conner Forrest
London College of Communication, UAL is launching a master’s degree in virtual reality for the 2018-19 academic year.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • London College of Communication, UAL is launching a Master of Arts in VR degree for the 2018-19 academic year.
  • The demand for VR professionals is growing in the film and media industries, where these technologies are being used most frequently.

 

From DSC:
Collaboration/videoconferencing tools like Webex, Blackboard Collaborate, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, etc. are being used in a variety of scenarios. That platform has been well established. It will be interesting to see how VR might play into web-based collaboration, training, and learning.

 

 

Vanguard Projects: Expanding Teaching and Learning Horizons
Authors — from er.educause.edu by Malcolm Brown
Members of the higher education community provided a long list of projects that exemplify the six developments in educational technology from this year’s Horizon Report. A few of the projects are highlighted to convey a sense of the range and direction of current innovations in teaching and learning in higher education.

Excerpt:

This list summarizes the distribution across the six developments (as laid out in the preview):

  • Mixed reality: 31.4%
  • Makerspaces: 28.6%
  • Adaptive learning technology: 16.2%
  • Analytics technologies: 15.2%
  • Artificial intelligence: 4.8%
  • Robotics: 3.8%

 

 

 

Why higher ed should do more with blockchain tech — from by Dian Schaffhauser
Oral Roberts University recently held a conference to persuade higher education institutions that it’s time to get on board the blockchain train. Its recommendations: Learn about the technology’s potential, test it out and collaborate.

Excerpt:

As CIO Michael Mathews, the event’s organizer, explained, blockchain will be as important to transforming education as the internet was. He said he believes those colleges and universities that jump on the secure public ledger concept early enough and begin testing it out will be the ones who could see the biggest benefits.

Mathews believes blockchain will have the “biggest payback” within an organization’s processes where trust is essential as part of a “value chain”: student application processing, transcript evaluations, articulation agreements. Blockchain “templates” that run in the cloud could replace “entire cumbersome processes”…

 

 

From DSC:
It could easily be that blockchain-based technologies and processes feed into cloud/web-based learner profiles in the future. That’s one aspect of the next generation learning platform that I’m pulse checking — I call it Learning from the Living [Class] Room.

 

Blockchain could be involved with cloud/web-based learner profiles in the future

Blockchain -- something to keep on our radars in higher education

 

Also, from a while back…

Oracle to Launch Blockchain Products This Month — from investopedia.com by Shobhit Seth

Excerpt:

Tech corporations are seeing big opportunities in the blockchain space, and are now in a closely contested race to seize them sooner rather than later.

Oracle Corp. has announced that it will unveil its blockchain software later this month, reports Bloomberg. Oracle will launch its platform-as-a-service blockchain product later this month, which will be followed by launch of the decentralized ledger-based applications next month.

The Redwood City, California-based software giant is already having clients on board for its blockchain offerings. Santiago-based Banco de Chile is one of the early clients that Oracle is working with to record inter-bank transactions on a hyperledger. The world’s second-largest software company is also working with the government of Nigeria, which is aiming to document customs and import duties on a blockchain. Oracle is also hopeful of offering solutions to a large number of pharmaceutical companies to efficiently track and locate batches of drugs to help them reduce the number of recalls. Thomas Kurian, president of product development, said that Oracle’s products will be compatible with other platforms.

 

 

 

 

 

How blockbuster MOOCs could shape the future of teaching — from edsurge.com by Jeff Young

Excerpt:

There isn’t a New York Times bestseller list for online courses, but perhaps there should be. After all, so-called MOOCs, or massive open online courses, were meant to open education to as many learners as possible, and in many ways they are more like books (digital ones, packed with videos and interactive quizzes) than courses.

The colleges and companies offering MOOCs can be pretty guarded these days about releasing specific numbers on how many people enroll or pay for a “verified certificate” or microcredential showing they took the course. But both Coursera and EdX, two of the largest providers, do release lists of their most popular courses. And those lists offer a telling snapshot of how MOOCs are evolving and what their impact is on the instructors and institutions offering them.

Here are the top 10 most popular courses for each provider:

 

Coursera Top 10 Most Popular Courses (over past 12 months)

 

edX Top 10 Most Popular Courses (all time)

 

 

So what are these blockbuster MOOCs, then? Experiential textbooks? Gateways to more rigorous college courses? A new kind of entertainment program?

Maybe the answer is: all of the above.

 

 

 

Reimagining the Higher Education Ecosystem — from edu2030.agorize.com
How might we empower people to design their own learning journeys so they can lead purposeful and economically stable lives?

Excerpts:

The problem
Technology is rapidly transforming the way we live, learn, and work. Entirely new jobs are emerging as others are lost to automation. People are living longer, yet switching jobs more often. These dramatic shifts call for a reimagining of the way we prepare for work and life—specifically, how we learn new skills and adapt to a changing economic landscape.

The changes ahead are likely to hurt most those who can least afford to manage them: low-income and first generation learners already ill-served by our existing postsecondary education system. Our current system stifles economic mobility and widens income and achievement gaps; we must act now to ensure that we have an educational ecosystem flexible and fair enough to help all people live purposeful and economically stable lives. And if we are to design solutions proportionate to this problem, new technologies must be called on to scale approaches that reach the millions of vulnerable people across the country.

 

The challenge
How might we empower people to design their own learning journeys so they can lead purposeful and economically stable lives?

The Challenge—Reimagining the Higher Education Ecosystem—seeks bold ideas for how our postsecondary education system could be reimagined to foster equity and encourage learner agency and resilience. We seek specific pilots to move us toward a future in which all learners can achieve economic stability and lead purposeful lives. This Challenge invites participants to articulate a vision and then design pilot projects for a future ecosystem that has the following characteristics:

Expands access: The educational system must ensure that all people—including low-income learners who are disproportionately underserved by the current higher education system—can leverage education to live meaningful and economically stable lives.

Draws on a broad postsecondary ecosystem: While college and universities play a vital role in educating students, there is a much larger ecosystem in which students learn. This ecosystem includes non-traditional “classes” or alternative learning providers, such as MOOCs, bootcamps, and online courses as well as on-the-job training and informal learning. Our future learning system must value the learning that happens in many different environments and enable seamless transitions between learning, work, and life.

 

From DSC:
This is where I could see a vision similar to Learning from the Living [Class] Room come into play. It would provide a highly affordable, accessible platform, that would offer more choice, and more control to learners of all ages. It would be available 24×7 and would be a platform that supports lifelong learning. It would combine a variety of AI-enabled functionalities with human expertise, teaching, training, motivation, and creativity.

It could be that what comes out of this challenge will lay the groundwork for a future, massive new learning platform.

 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 

Also see:

 

From DSC:
I just found out about the work going out at LearningScientists.org.

I was very impressed after my initial review of their materials! What I really appreciate about their work is that they are serious in identifying some highly effective means of how we learn best — pouring over a great deal of research in order to do so. But they don’t leave things there. They help translate that research into things that teachers can then try out in the classroom. This type of practical, concrete help is excellent and needed!

  • Daniel Willingham and some of his colleagues take research and help teachers apply it as well
  • Another person who does this quite well is Pooja Agarwal, an Assistant Professor, Cognitive Scientist, & former K-12 Teacher. Pooja is teaming up with Patrice Bain to write a forthcoming book entitled, Powerful Teaching: Unleash the Science of Learning!  She founded and operates the RetrievalPractice.org site.)

From the LearningScientists.org website (emphasis DSC):

We are cognitive psychological scientists interested in research on education. Our main research focus is on the science of learning. (Hence, “The Learning Scientists”!)

Our Vision is to make scientific research on learning more accessible to students, teachers, and other educators.

Click the button below to learn more about us. You can also check out our social media pages: FacebookTwitterInstagram, & Tumblr.

 

They have a solid blog, podcast, and some valuable downloadable content.

 

 

 

In the downloadable content area, the posters that they’ve created (or ones like them) should be posted at every single facility where learning occurs — K-12 schools, community colleges, colleges, universities, libraries of all kinds, tutoring centers, etc. It may be that such posters — and others like them that encourage the development of metacognitive skills of our students — are out there. I just haven’t run into them.

For example, here’s a poster on learning how to study using spaced practice:

 

 

 

 

Anyway, there’s some great work out there at LearningScientists.org!

 

 


Also relevant here, see:

 

 

 

 

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