Pay attention! Attention is a necessary condition for learning experience design, but poorly understood… — from donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.com by Donald Clark

Excerpts:

Attention is to selectively focus your mind and effort on that which has to be learned. Attention matters as it is what manages new data that has to be processed in working memory. Focused attention narrows down input from sensory memory and your recall knowledge from long-term memory. At any moment in time attention is what determines what is processed. We must always be aware that attention is the bottleneck through which everything must go in learning, first into working memory, then if you successfully learn, into long-term memory. The selective nature of attention is what regulates and limits cognitive overload.

So, over a century of research has shown that attention is not one thing but a very complex phenomena. We select inputs, interpretations of those inputs, then select plans of action and actions themselves. Attention is tied up with motivation, interest, feelings and ultimately action. It is the basecamp for understanding how learning experiences should be designed.

 

From DSC:
Interest…motivation…this is why I’m a big fan of offering learners more choice. More control.

 

Transfer – why is it ignored? Here’s how to fix it… — from donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.com by Donald Clark

Excerpt:

You must design with transfer in mind and blends or learning journeys must move learning forward towards action, towards doing, towards practice and performance. No matter how much training you deliver, it can be illusory in the sense of not leading to transfer from cognitive change to actual performance, which in turn has impact on the organisation.

Doing and Practice are experiences. In fact without doing or practice it is unlikely to be retained long-term. Your design must move from experiences that match whatever type of learning you need, cognitive, psychomotor and affective, but practice and application experiences also matter. Your design should provide transfer pathways towards mastery, through actual doing and practice in the formal learning as well as practice and extension activities beyond the initial learning experiences.

 

[Re: online-based learning] The Ford Model T from 1910 didn’t start out looking like a Maserati Gran Turismo from 2021! [Christian]

From DSC:
Per Wikipedia, this is a 1910 Model T that was photographed in Salt Lake City:

The Ford Model T didn't start out looking like a Maserati from 2021!

 

This is what online/virtual learning looks like further down the road. Our journey has just begun.

From DSC:
The Ford Model T didn’t start out looking like a Maserati Gran Turismo from 2021! Inventions take time to develop…to be improved…for new and further innovations and experiments to take place.

Thinking of this in terms of online-based learning, please don’t think we’ve reached the end of the road for online-based learning. 

The truth is, we’ve barely begun our journey.

 


Two last thoughts here


1 ) It took *teams* of people to get us to the point of producing a Maserati like this. It will take *teams* of people to produce the Maserati of online-based learning.

2) In terms of online-based learning, it’s hard to say how close to the Maserati that we have come because I/we don’t know how far things will go. But this I do know: We have come a looooonnnnnggggg ways from the late 1990s! If that’s what happened in the last 20 years — with many denying the value of online-based learning — what might the next 5, 10, or 20 years look like when further interest, needs, investments, etc. are added? Then add to all of that the momentum from emerging technologies like 5G, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, bots, algorithms, and more!


From DSC:
To drive the point home, here’s an addendum on late 9/29/20:

Mercedes-Benz Shares Video of Avatar Electric Car Prototype

 

How to Engage Students (and Identify Them) — from thejournal.com by Dian Schaffhauser

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

“The lessons that created the most engaging experiences for students often were a combination of opportunities that encouraged discussion, gave students learning choices and allowed students to create. These elements are immensely transferable both in the online and in-person classroom and can facilitate a positive learning environment, whether in a synchronous or asynchronous setting.”

The report is available with an email address through the GoGuardian website.

Go Guardian's 2020: State of Engagement Report

 

Artificial Intelligence for Learning: How to use AI to Support Employee Development [Donald Clark]

So what is the book about? — from donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.com by Donald Clark; which discusses his book entitled, Artificial Intelligence for Learning: How to use AI to Support Employee Development

Excerpt:

AI changes everything. It changes how we work, shop, travel, entertain ourselves, socialize, deal with finance and healthcare. When online, AI mediates almost everything – Google, Google Scholar, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Amazon, Netflix. It would be bizarre to imagine that AI will have no role to play in learning – it already has.

Both informally and formally, AI is now embedded in many of the tools real learners use for online learning – we search for knowledge using AI (Google, Google Scholar), we search for practical knowledge using AI (YouTube), Duolingo for languages, and CPD is becoming common on social media, almost all mediated by AI. It is everywhere, just largely invisible. This book is partly about the role of AI in informal learning but it is largely about its existing and potential role in formal learning – in schools, Universities and the workplace. AI changes the world, so it changes why we learn, what we learn and how we learn.

Also see:

  • Abandon lectures: increase attendance, attitudes and attainment — from donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.com by Donald Clark
    Excerpt:
    The groups were taught a module in a physics course, in three one hour sessions in one week. In short; attendance increased, measured attitudes were better (students enjoyed the experience (90%) and thought that the whole course would be better if taught this way (77%)). More importantly students in the experimental group outperformed the control group, doing more than twice as well in assessment than the control group.
 

James Lang’s Distracted: Why Students Can’t Focus and What You Can Do About It — from tophat.com by Harleen Dhami
Navigating distraction in the virtual classroom starts with curating novel, community-oriented learning activities

Excerpt:

You suggest that how instructors teach is often at odds with how students learn. What’s the disconnect here?
The disconnect is taking for granted that students should pay attention. What we need to think about is how we structure the class in a way that sustains someone’s attention through an extended period of time. We need to think like playwrights. What do they do to maintain attention? They have acts and scenes, there’s an intermission, the action rises and falls. At the beginning of a play, something happens that is designed to intrigue you and get you engaged in the story. I argue in the book that we have to think both like a playwright and like a poet. You have to think like a playwright in terms of the structure. You have to think like a poet in terms of “what’s going to reawaken the attention of my students,” or awaken the attention of my students to this particular content for the day.

 

From DSC:
After reading
Jeff Young’s article re: learning engineering and seeing the Nudge application from Duke University...it once again occurred to me that we really need a standard for loading questions into a memory-refreshing application. Just like HyperText Markup Language (HTML) made the World Wide Web so successful and impactful, we need an easy-to-use standard for dumping questions into a personalized database of questions for each cloud-based learner profile.

After taking a module, you would be asked if you wanted to be reminded of / quizzed upon the key ideas presented therein. You would then receive periodic quizzes on those items. You can choose to opt-out of that learning module’s content at any time.

Such an application would help reduce the impact of the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve. This type of standard/feature would really help students and people in:

  • law schools, dental schools, medical schools, and seminaries
  • vocational programs
  • traditional undergraduate and graduate programs
  • K-12 systems
  • Homeschooling-based situations
  • Places of worship
  • Communities of practice — as well as lifelong learners

A person could invoke a quiz at any point, but would be quizzed at least once a day. If you missed a day, those questions would not be taken out of the pool of questions to ask you. If you got a question right, the time interval would be lengthened before you were asked that question again. But questions that you struggled with would be asked more frequently. This would also help interleave questions and aid in recall. Such spaced repetition would cause struggle from time to time, aiding in deeper learning.

 

How ‘Learning Engineering’ Hopes to Speed Up Education — from edsurge.com by Jeffrey R. Young

Excerpts:

Simon spent the latter part of his career as a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, making the case for bringing in a new kind of engineer to help improve teaching. He knew it would mean a major change in how instruction of complex subjects happens, moving it from a “solo sport” of a sage on the stage to a community-based one where teams build and design learning materials and experiences — and continually refine them.

Ten years ago, only about 1,300 instructional designers worked at U.S. colleges, but that has grown to more than 10,000 today.

Even so, we’re still a long way from having a mature practice of learning engineering in place. But proponents of the approach say they are beginning to build the infrastructure necessary for their moonshot of turbo-charging the speed and the quality of learning. Some learning engineers believe they can help students reach mastery of complex subject matter as much as 10 times faster than with traditional approaches.

 

What should schools, colleges and Universities do in September? …7 actions — from donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.com by Donald Clark

Excerpts:

Let me start with a tough question. Weighing your wish to return to schools or campuses, given the current surge of Covid cases, is the return to the classroom or chasing the cash worth a single dead student, teacher or parent? Or should we see the September return as an opportunity to change things for the better and by that I mean for teachers, lecturers, students and parents? We need a reset.

Necessity is the mother of invention. I hope that this human tragedy allows us to transform the learning landscape to be better and more inclusive through Blended Learning. We have an opportunity to use contemporary technology to reduce teacher workload and improve learning at the same time.

 

Microsoft Teams Rolls Out Virtual Rooms to Fight ‘Meeting Fatigue’ — from cheddar.com by Taylor Craig

Microsoft introduced Together Mode -- July 2020

 

A common background in meetings helps reduce extraneous cognitive load

 

A common background in meetings helps reduce extraneous cognitive load

 

From DSC:
Again, the longer the Coronavirus hangs around and we are learning and meeting like this, the more innovations like these will occur.

 


Addendums on 7/14/20:

Microsoft’s Together mode can help address executives’ concerns over remote work productivity — from businessinsider.com by Hirsh Chitkara

Excerpt:

Together mode offers an alternative to “grid view,” in which video call participants are displayed on-screen — instead, through AI segmentation, participants are placed in a single virtual environment such as an auditorium or coffee bar, creating the illusion that they are in the same space.

The future of work—the good, the challenging & the unknown — from microsofot.com by Jared Spataro

Excerpt:

Together mode is a new option in the Teams meeting experience that uses AI segmentation technology to digitally place participants in a shared background. The view makes it feel like you’re sitting in the same room, which reduces background distractions, makes it easier to pick up on non-verbal cues, and makes back and forth conversation feel more natural.

 

This unique free event is designed to give our learning community a chance to explore the most popular topics discussed at Learning Technologies.

The 2020 Learning Technologies Summer Forum (#LTSF20) takes place online, looking at some of the key topics we examined at February’s conference. Once again, the Summer event is an opportunity to interact, experiment and try some new things together.

 

Why everyone on your team must understand Instructional Design — from learningsolutionsmag.com by Megan MacDonald

Excerpts:

In my decade-long experience on projects of varying and increasing size, there are the key components I think you need to invest in helping your teams and management understand. And here they are:

  • Significance of learning objectives, and in particular the importance of action verbs and how they apply to your project.
  • Learning audience, including existing knowledge, background(s), and even personalities, can impact decisions such as instructor-led versus self-paced, where you need to start, the pace you need to set, and the specific information you need to provide on any given subject.
  • Concepts of cognitive load and scaffolding.
  • Instructional design is not always linear.
  • Finally, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to programs, courses, or even individual lessons.

 

 

From DSC:
Here’s an idea that I’ve been thinking about for quite some time now. It’s not necessarily a new idea, but the seed got planted in me by a former colleague, Quin Schultze (which I blogged about in January of 2018). I’m calling it, “My Learning Journal.The purpose of this device is to promote your metacognition  — helping you put things into your own words and helping you identify your knowledge gaps.

I realize that such a learning strategy/tool could take some time to complete. But it could pay off — big time! Give it a try for a few weeks and see what you think.

And, with a shout-out to Mr. James McGrath, the President of the WMU-Cooley Law School, the article listed below explains the benefits of taking the time for such reflection:

Reflective learning – reflection as a strategic study technique — from open.edu

Excerpts:

Rather than thinking of reflection as yet another task to be added to your ‘to do’ list or squeezed into a busy study schedule, view it as something to practice at any stage. The emphasis is on being a reflective learner rather than doing reflective learning. 

Developing a habit of reflective learning will help you to:

  • evaluate your own progress
  • monitor and manage your own performance
  • self-motivate
  • keep focus on your learning goals
  • think differently about how you can achieve your goals by evaluating your study techniques, learning strategies and whether these best fit your current needs, identifying your skills development needs or gaps in knowledge
  • think about and overcome what may be blocking your learning by using a different approach, or setting more pragmatic (realistic/achievable) goals
  • support and enrich your professional practice ensuring that you are better placed to respond to and manage new, unexpected and complex situations – a key requirement at Master’s level.

From DSC:
Pastors, trainers, K-12 educators, student teachers, coaches, musical teachers, and others: Perhaps a slightly modified version of this tool might be beneficial to those with whom you work as well…?

And for educators and trainers, perhaps we should use such a tool to think about our own teaching and training methods — and what we are (or aren’t) learning ourselves.

Addendum on 5/14/20:

Perhaps someone will build a bot for this type of thing, which prompts us to reflect upon these things. Here are some examples of what I’m talking about or something like Woebot, which Jeremy Caplan mentioned here.

 

How the research on learning can drive change — from gettingsmart.com by Chris Sturgis

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

#2 Learning results from the interplay of cognition, emotion, and motivation.
The brain does not clearly separate cognitive from emotional functioning so that optimal learning environments will engage both. It’s important that students feel safe if learning is to be optimized. When we are afraid, our amygdala becomes activated making it harder to learn. Do students feel valued? Relationships matter in creating a culture of inclusivity and belonging. Are schools designed so that teachers and professors have the opportunity to build strong relationships with students? Do students feel that the school and teachers want them to be successful? Do they have chances to receive feedback and revise or do grading practices simply judge them?

 

From DSC:
Two instances — plus a simmering question — instantly stand out in my mind when I read the above paragraph.

First instance:
It was years ago and I was working at a Fortune 500 company outside of Chicago. I was given the chance to learn how to program in one of the divisions of this company. I was in a conference room with my brand new boss. I had asked him a question about a piece of code, which clearly must have let him know I had some serious misunderstandings.

But instead of being patient, he grew increasingly frustrated at my lack of understanding. The madder he got, the worse my learning became. My focus shifted from processing the expected syntax of the code — and the content/instruction overall that he was trying to relay — to almost completely being concerned with his anger. My processing shut down and things deteriorated from there.

Second instance:
My mom was a classical piano teacher for decades. Though she was often loved by her students, she could be very tough, strong, and forceful. (This was true of several of my siblings’ music teachers as well.) Most of the time, she developed wonderful, strong relationships with the vast majority of her students, many of which came back to our house around Christmastime / New Year’s to visit with her (even long after “graduating”).

I mention that as background to a different context…when I observed my mom trying to teach one of my nieces how to do a math problem in the kitchen of our old house. Again, the teacher in this case kept getting increasingly frustrated, while the student kept shrinking back into their shell…trying to deflect the increasingly hot anger coming at them. The cognitive processing stopped. The amount of actual learning taking place quickly declined. I finally intervened to say that they should come back to this topic later on.

(The counselors/therapists out there would probably rightly connect these two scenarios for what was happening in my mind (i.e., not wanting to deal with the other person’s growing anger). But this applies to many more of us than just me, I’m afraid.)

A simmering question involving law schools and a common teaching method:
In law schools, one of the long-standing teaching methods is the Socratic Method.

Depending upon the professor and their teaching style, one student could be under intense pressure to address the facts, rules, the legal principles of a case, and much more. They often have to stand up in front of the class.

In those instances, I wonder how much capacity to actually process information gets instantly reduced within many of the students’ brains when they get the spotlight shown on them? Do the more introverted and/or less confident students start to sweat? Do their fear levels and heart rates increase? With the issue of having other students attempting to learn from this grilling aside, I wonder what happens to the amygdalas of the students that were called upon?

You can probably tell that I’m not a big fan of the Socratic Method IF it begins to involve too much emotion…too much anger or fear. Not good. The amount of learning taking place can be significantly impacted.

A professor, teacher, or trainer can’t know all of the underlying background, psychology, personality differences, emotional makeup, and experiences of each learner. But getting back to the article, I appreciate what the author was saying about the importance of establishing a SAFE learning environment. The more fear, anger, and a sense of being threatened or scared are involved, the less learning/processing can occur.

 

Healthy looks different on every body...and learning looks different with every mind.

 

5 easy ways to infuse learning science into remote teaching — from campustechnology.com by Andrea Hendricks
These practices will help engage students and improve outcomes throughout the online learning process.

Excerpt:

Here again, good organization is essential. I organize my content by units that are aligned to tests, so my students always have a clear learning goal in mind. If I have six tests in a semester, I divide the content into six units. Each unit contains an overview for the module, a submodule for each section, a review of the key concepts from the unit, a set of review problems for the unit, and a test. Within section submodules, I give an overview of the objectives, activities for students to engage with and learn the content (reading assignments, videos, animations, homework problems), and a discussion question. I also include modules on getting started with the course, the technology we’ll be using as well as tutoring information and resources.

 

7 guiding principles for parents teaching from home — from edutopia.org by Laura Lee
Understanding the “why” behind teaching practices can help parents create meaningful and effective at-home learning opportunities during the pandemic. 

7 guiding principles for parents teaching from home -- by Laura Lee

Excerpts:

One misconception about teaching is that its primary function is to help students retain information, but retention is just the first step. Effective learning requires that students retrieve information frequently and then make new meaning of it. This process, called consolidation, is often reinforced in traditional classrooms through reviews and quizzes, or through multi-sensory practices like drawing, composing a song, or building a model about what has recently been learned.

At home, prioritize opportunities to engage in active learning through discussion, writing, or producing art, over more passive practices such as re-reading or rote note-taking. Learning requires repeated, active manipulation of the materials being learned.

Finally, many studies reveal that teaching what you’ve learned to someone else—to a parent or to another sibling—is also a highly effective way to consolidate learning and make it stick.

 

In many parts of the world, schooling at home will continue for at least several months. Help students move beyond a compliance mindset—”I’ve completed my work, can I go now?”— by building in time for passion projects and fun. 

 

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