From DSC:
I have been trying to blog more about learning how to learn — and to provide some more resources on metacognition and the like.

Along these lines — and with permission from the author — the following excerpt is from Quentin Schultze’s solid book, Communicate like a True Leader (pages 35 & 36).  I asked Quin if I could share this excerpt because I think it’s a great strategy to share with students. Whether they know it or not, learning how to learn is THEE key skill these days.

Quin would also emphasize some other items such as listening, attending to reality, communicating effectively with others, and more…but my focus here is on learning strategies.  So I share it in the hope that it will help some of you students out there just as it helped Quin.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

A Curiosity Guide — from byrdseed.com Ian Byrd


Excerpts:

Anticipation and Dopamine: In part one of this curiosity series, we explore the connection between curiosity, anticipation, and dopamine and discover why we remember things better when we are allowed to wonder.

So, to wrap up our first round of exploring curiosity:

  • When we become curious, we are anticipating learning information.
  • Our brain releases dopamine, a pleasurable chemical related to the anticipation of a reward (in this case information).
  • Simply being in this curious state activates the hippocampus, enhancing memory.
  • We remember things better when we are in this state, even things we weren’t actually curious about.

Closing Question:
How many times a day are your students in a curious state, eagerly anticipating information?

 

Confusion and Curiosity: So how do we make kids curious? We’ll cover two aspects: creating information gaps and (yes) purposefully confusing our students.

In the first article, we covered what happenings in our brains when we become curious. We also noted that just being in a state of curiosity can improve memory, even for things you’re not curious about.

Here’s one key: to become curious, you must already know something about the topic. Curiosity only fires up when we discover that some important information is missing or that it contradicts information we already had. George Loewenstein calls this the Information Gap theory of curiosity.

Simply put: we have to give students enough information for them to become curious about the missing information.

To wrap up part two:

  • Curiosity requires us to know something about the topic.
  • We become curious when information doesn’t fit an existing mental model.
  • Confusion is part of curiosity. We enjoy a certain amount of cognitive disequilibrium.
  • But! No one wants to be curious forever. It must be resolved.

 

Curiosity Is Social: When we’re curious, we can enhance that curiosity by discussing it with others. Our mutual confusion takes us deeper into the experience.

So, in classrooms, it’s worth purposefully (but gently) confusing students and then letting them talk to each other. It will build their interest and enhance their curiosity.

 

Creating Cultures of Curiosity: The biggest factor in our students’ curiosity at school is us! Teachers can create (or kill) cultures of curiosity. We’ll look at four qualities and a couple experiments run by Susan Engel.

Teachers have enormous power to encourage or discourage curiosity. Every word and action can either build a culture of curiosity or a culture of compliance.

 

 

 


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.

 

 



 

 

How to improve memory retention in online training — from growthengineering.co.uk by Christopher Pappas

Excerpt:

4. Incorporate A “Moment Of Need” Online Training Repository
That brings us to the next tip, which is to incorporate a “just in time” online training library. This features microlearning online training resources that are easy to digest and remember. Employees can access support tools based on their needs, goals, and skill gaps. Best of all, they can expand their knowledge whenever it’s most convenient, whether that’s on the sales floor, before a client meeting, or during the morning commute. “Moment of need” online training repositories aid in memory retention by breaking the online training content into consumable pieces, instead of barraging your employees with large quantities of information.

 

From DSC:
This idea of an online training repository is tied in with a more recent development of “chatbots.” As artificial intelligence continues to pick up steam, these chatbots could offer internal employees as well as external customers automated responses to questions. People could ask the questions either by typing in their questions and/or by using their voices to ask their questions. So keep your eyes on chatbots — as they will likely bring a whole new method of obtaining information and professional development to us in the near future!

 



 

Also from Christopher Pappas (@cpappas) see:

 

 



 

 

How to improve memory retention in online training — from growthengineering.co.uk by Christopher Pappas
Are your employees really absorbing the information? Or is the forgetting curve putting a strain on workplace productivity and company profits? In this article, I’ll share 9 sure-fire ways to improve memory retention in your online training program.

Excerpt:

1. USE BRANCHING SCENARIOS TO FACILITATE MISTAKE-DRIVEN LEARNING
Mistakes can be valuable teachers. One of the best ways to facilitate mistake-driven learning is using branching scenarios to impart experience. These scenarios involve various decision-making paths that result in repercussions. Employees are able to try out different approaches and evaluate their own performance. Thus, they can learn from their mistakes and see where each action or behavior leads them. Mistakes also serve another important purpose, which is to make the online training experience more memorable. Errors and the knowledge we gain from them stands out in our minds. As such, the information is more likely to stick.

4. INCORPORATE A “MOMENT OF NEED” ONLINE TRAINING REPOSITORY
That brings us to the next tip, which is to incorporate a “just in time” online training library. This features microlearning online training resources that are easy to digest and remember. Employees can access support tools based on their needs, goals, and skill gaps. Best of all, they can expand their knowledge whenever it’s most convenient, whether that’s on the sales floor, before a client meeting, or during the morning commute. “Moment of need” online training repositories aid in memory retention by breaking the online training content into consumable pieces, instead of barraging your employees with large quantities of information.

 

The 82 Hottest EdTech Tools of 2017 According to Education Experts — from tutora.co.uk by Giorgio Cassella

Excerpt:

If you work in education, you’ll know there’s a HUGE array of applications, services, products and tools created to serve a multitude of functions in education.

Tools for teaching and learning, parent-teacher communication apps, lesson planning software, home-tutoring websites, revision blogs, SEN education information, professional development qualifications and more.

There are so many companies creating new products for education, though, that it can be difficult to keep up – especially with the massive volumes of planning and marking teachers have to do, never mind finding the time to actually teach!

So how do you know which ones are the best?

Well, as a team of people passionate about education and learning, we decided to do a bit of research to help you out.

We’ve asked some of the best and brightest in education for their opinions on the hottest EdTech of 2017. These guys are the real deal – experts in education, teaching and new tech from all over the world from England to India, to New York and San Francisco.

They’ve given us a list of 82 amazing, tried and tested tools…


From DSC:
The ones that I mentioned that Giorgio included in his excellent article were:

  • AdmitHub – Free, Expert College Admissions Advice
  • Labster – Empowering the Next Generation of Scientists to Change the World
  • Unimersiv – Virtual Reality Educational Experiences
  • Lifeliqe – Interactive 3D Models to Augment Classroom Learning

 


 

 

 

 

Connecting the education community with research on learning — from digitalpromise.org

Excerpt:

When designing a program or product, many education leaders and ed-tech developers want to start with the best knowledge available on how students learn. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done.

Although thousands of academic articles are published every year, busy education leaders and product developers often don’t know where to start, or don’t have time to sift through and find studies that are relevant to their work. As pressure mounts for “evidence-based” practices and “research-based” products, many in the education community are frustrated, and want an easier way to find information that will help them deliver stronger programs and products — and results. We need better tools to help make research more accessible for everyday work in education.

The Digital Promise Research Map meets this need by connecting education leaders and product developers with research from thousands of articles in education and the learning sciences, along with easy-to-understand summaries on some of the most relevant findings in key research topics.

 

Also see:

DigitalPromise-ResearchMapJune2016

 

 

DigitalPromise-ChordView-June2016

 

DigitalPromise-NetworkView-June2016

 

DigitalPromise-NetworkView2-June2016

 

 

The future belongs to the curious: How are we bringing curiosity into school? — from User Generated Education by Jackie Gerstein

Excerpt:

A recent research study found a connection between curiosity and deep learning:

The study revealed three major findings. First, as expected, when people were highly curious to find out the answer to a question, they were better at learning that information. More surprising, however, was that once their curiosity was aroused, they showed better learning of entirely unrelated information that they encountered but were not necessarily curious about. Curiosity may put the brain in a state that allows it to learn and retain any kind of information, like a vortex that sucks in what you are motivated to learn, and also everything around it. Second, the investigators found that when curiosity is stimulated, there is increased activity in the brain circuit related to reward.  Third, when curiosity motivated learning, there was increased activity in the hippocampus, a brain region that is important for forming new memories, as well as increased interactions between the hippocampus and the reward circuit. (How curiosity changes the brain to enhance learning)

 

 

 

From DSC:
Jackie’s posting reminded me of what Daniel Willingham asserts:  “Memory is the residue of thought.”  | “We remember what we think about.”

So to me, if you can’t get through the gate — get someone’s attention — you have zero chance of getting into their short-term memory, and thus zero chance to get into that person’s long-term memory.

Is-it-getting-harder-to-get-through-the-gate-2

 

Along these lines, if a student is curious about something, their motivation level increases and they actually THINK about something. (What a concept, right?!)

But the point here is that what a student thinks about now has a chance to make it into that student’s memories…thus, creating a variety of hooks on which to “hang future hats” (i.e., make cognitive connections in the future).

 

CognitiveHooks-Hats

 

 

Addendum on 11/24/15:

[Re: Emily Pilloton, founder and executive director of Project H Design] Her talk focused on three aspects of learning:

  • Seeking > Knowing. Pushing beyond your comfort zone is the way to challenge yourself. As mentioned above, Pilloton believes in experiential learning, in challenging students with big projects where they will learn new skills as needed to complete the project.
  • We > I. Teams and building trust in your teammates is critical. All of Pilloton’s projects are so big that no one person can complete them alone. By being forced to make decisions and learn to work as teams, group members realize that as a collective, they can achieve much more than they could individually.
  • Curiosity > Passion. Encouraging curiosity is more important than helping people find their passion. Pilloton argued that it is hard for many young people to know their passion. If we encourage curiosity and give students the opportunity to push the boundaries of what they think is possible, we provide them the opportunity to both build confidence and find their passion.
 

Here Comes Generation Z — from bloombergview.com by Leonid Bershidsky

Excerpts:

If Y-ers were the perfectly connected generation, Z-ers are overconnected. They multi-task across five screens: TV, phone, laptop, desktop and either a tablet or some handheld gaming device, spending 41 percent of their time outside of school with computers of some kind or another, compared to 22 percent 10 years ago. Because of that they “lack situational awareness, are oblivious to their surroundings and unable to give directions.”

Members of this new generation also have an 8-second attention span, down from 12 seconds in 2000, and 11 percent of them are diagnosed with attention deficiency syndrome, compared to 7.8 percent in 2003.

 

Also see Sparks & Honey’s presentation:

 

MeetGenerationZ-SparksHoney-June2014

 

 

 

From DSC:
I have been wondering about the possibility that gaining students’ attention is becoming harder and harder to do.  The above items seem to confirm that attentions are, in deed, shrinking.  We must get through “the gate” (i.e., getting someone’s attention)  if we want to have a chance of getting something into someone’s long term memory.

 

GottaMakeItThoughTheGate

 

So what should professors, teachers, and trainers do? 

For me, this is where things like active learning, project-based learning, and real-world learning come in.  Highly relevant, hands-on learning where we turn over more control to the student, helping them own their own learning.  We need to provide more choices as to how students can meet the learning objectives. 

More choice. More control. Tap into their passions and internal motivations, introduce more play and more opportunities for students to display and cultivate their creativity.

The following article also has some solid thoughts/ideas that seem very relevant for this topic:

  • The Science of Attention: How To Capture And Hold The Attention of Easily Distracted Students — from opencolleges.edu.au by Saga Briggs
    Excerpt from section entitled, “Tricks for Capturing Your Students’ Attention“:
    1. Change the level and tone of your voice.
    Often just changing the level and tone of your voice – perhaps by lowering or raising it slightly – will bring students back from a zone-out session.
    .
    2. Use props or visuals.
    Presenting a striking picture related to your topic is sure to get all eyes on you. Don’t comment on it; allow students to start the dialogue. Here are a few resources on how to use animations and storyboards as a teaching tool.
    .
    3. Make a startling statement or give a quote.
    Writing a surprising statement or quote related to the content on the board has a similar effect. In a lesson about linebreaks in poetry, write, “I am dying” on the board, wait a minute, and continue on the next line with “for a bowl of ice cream.” See what kind of reaction you get.
    .
    4. Write a challenging question on the board.

 

 

 

 

5 ways to reduce cognitive load in eLearning — from elearningindustry.com by by  Matthew Guyan

Excerpt:

  1. Present some information via the visual channel and some via the verbal channel
  2. Break content into smaller segments and allow the learner to control the pace
  3. Remove non-essential content
  4. Words should be placed close as possible to the corresponding graphics
  5. Don’t narrate on-screen text word-for-word

 

From DSC:
Thanks Matt for a well-written, concise, beneficial posting here.  I especially appreciated the quick review of the Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) as well as the 5 suggestions to reduce cognitive load (with the goal being to move content into peoples’ long term memories).

 

GottaMakeItThoughTheGate

 

 

 

 

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