From DSC:
With some predictions saying that the workforce is going to be composed of upwards of ~50% of us being contingent workers, (I’ve already seen figures around mid 30’s and even 40%), the question I have is:

Are we teaching students how to protect themselves, how to sell themselves, how to sell their businesses, how to plan financially, etc.? 

Consider this article:

Would our students know about these types of mistakes?

Also, it seems to me that higher education should be helping students “future proof” themselves — or at least as much as possible. One of the values higher education should be bringing to the table is to identify which jobs are going to be around for the next 5-10 years and which ones aren’t.

Along these lines, lifelong learning and learning how to learn are becoming increasingly important. Thus, I will continue to try and post articles/resources on this blog in regards to metacognition and the like.




Aiding Reading Comprehension With Post-Its — from by Judy Willis


Sample Post-it Prompts
In these prompts, the students address the text directly—by calling it “you”—as though they were having a conversation with it.

To be completed before reading for prediction and preview:

  • I think you’ll be telling me…
  • I already know things about you, so I predict…

To be completed after briefly skimming the assigned pages:

  • What does the heading for this section suggest about what will come?
  • What does this picture (graph, diagram, etc.) suggest about this reading topic?

To be completed during reading as a response to what is read:

  • You’re similar to what I’ve learned before, because you remind me of…
  • I would have preferred a picture of… (Students can also sketch, describe, or download a picture, graph, or diagram)
  • This is not what I expected, which was…
  • This gives me an idea for…
  • I want to know more about…
  • This information could be useful to me because I’m interested in…
  • I think this will be on the test because…

The use of Post-its increases memory pattern linkages, understanding, and the pleasure of reading. As students become more skilled readers through strategies that promote pattern seeking and linking, they build their independent skills about how to think actively about the text—their metacognitive skills.




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.




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 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
    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
    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


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.





6 Strategies for Taking High-Quality Notes — from by John Rich
Get your students thinking deeply while they’re taking notes—and show them how to make the most of those notes later.


In my practice as a professor, I’ve noticed an anecdotal difference between the notes that my A and C students take during lectures. According to one study, students who take notes in an interactive fashion are more likely than those who record what they hear verbatim to be engaged in metacognition (thinking and evaluating one’s thought processes and understanding) and self-regulation (managing one’s behaviors for optimal results). And these two processes are more likely to lead to deeper processing.

The good news is that teachers can show their students how to take better notes. Even better, good note-taking activities are themselves learning processes that can help students think metacognitively about their own studying, and can improve their retention of course material. A virtuous cycle!



From DSC:
The other day I had posted some ideas in regards to how artificial intelligence, machine learning, and augmented reality are coming together to offer some wonderful new possibilities for learning (see: “From DSC: Amazing possibilities coming together w/ augmented reality used in conjunction w/ machine learning! For example, consider these ideas.”) Here is one of the graphics from that posting:



These affordances are just now starting to be uncovered as machines are increasingly able to ascertain patterns, things, objects…even people (which calls for a separate posting at some point).

But mainly, for today, I wanted to highlight an excellent comment/reply from Nikos Andriotis @ Talent LMS who gave me permission to highlight his solid reflections and ideas:





From DSC:
Excellent reflection/idea Nikos — that would represent some serious personalized, customized learning!

Nikos’ innovative reflections also made me think about his ideas in light of their interaction or impact with web-based learner profiles, credentialing, badging, and lifelong learning.  What’s especially noteworthy here is that the innovations (that impact learning) continue to occur mainly in the online and blended learning spaces.

How might the ramifications of these innovations impact institutions who are pretty much doing face-to-face only (in terms of their course delivery mechanisms and pedagogies)?


  • That Microsoft purchased LinkedIn and can amass a database of skills and open jobs (playing a cloud-based matchmaker)
  • Everyday microlearning is key to staying relevant (RSS feeds and tapping into “streams of content” are important here, and so is the use of Twitter)
  • 65% of today’s students will be doing jobs that don’t even exist yet (per Microsoft & The Future Laboratory in 2016)



  • The exponential pace of technological change
  • The increasing level of experimentation with blockchain (credentialing)
  • …and more

…what do the futures look like for those colleges and universities that operate only in the face-to-face space and who are not innovating enough?




In Memory: Seymour Papert — from; with thanks to Mr. Joe Byerwalter for this resource


Seymour Papert, whose ideas and inventions transformed how millions of children around the world create and learn, died Sunday, July 31, 2016 at his home in East Blue Hill, Maine. He was 88.

Papert’s career traversed a trio of influential movements: child development, artificial intelligence, and educational technologies. Based on his insights into children’s thinking and learning, Papert recognized that computers could be used not just to deliver information and instruction, but also to empower children to experiment, explore, and express themselves. The central tenet of his Constructionist theory of learning is that people build knowledge most effectively when they are actively engaged in constructing things in the world. As early as 1968, Papert introduced the idea that computer programming and debugging can provide children a way to think about their own thinking and learn about their own learning.


Also see:

  • AI and Computer Learning Lion Seymour Papert Dies at 88 — from by  Barb Darrow
    Seymour Papert, the MIT professor who helped blaze the trail for artificial intelligence and computer-aided education for children at a time when no one saw the potential for using these massive machines for such purposes, died Sunday at the age of 88 in East Blue Hill, Maine.


“In this particular art class they were all carving soap,” he continued, “but what each student carved came from wherever fancy is bred, and the project was not done and dropped but continued for many weeks. It allowed time to think, to dream, to gaze, to get a new idea and try it and drop it or persist, time to talk, to see other people’s work and their reaction to yours — not unlike mathematics as it is for the mathematician, but quite unlike math as it is in junior high school.”


  • Seymour Papert, 88, Dies; Saw Education’s Future in Computers — from by Glenn Rifkin
    Seymour Papert, a visionary educator and mathematician who well before the advent of the personal computer foresaw children using computers as instruments for learning and enhancing creativity, died on Sunday at his home in Blue Hill, Me. He was 88.



He added, “In the past, education adapted the mind to a very restricted set of available media; in the future, it will adapt media to serve the needs and tastes of each individual mind.”




From DSC:
Though the title of Ashley Coolman’s blog posting out at mentions technology in it, the article is largely not about technology at all — but rather about the benefits of active learning. That’s why I’m highlighting it here.


Enabling active learning through technology — from by Ashley Coolman


To many, it seems as though any learning can be considered active. Is a student taking notes not actively engaged in a class, especially when compared to their peers sleeping or playing on their phones in the back of the room?

The problem here is that while the note-taking student may be engaging with the class and professor, they are not engaging with the material. When furiously scribbling notes, students are more focused on getting every word down rather than evaluating, understanding, and analyzing what it is they are writing. They have engaged with the lecture, but not the material being relayed — which is the most important part.

In a study on active learning called “Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom”, the researchers stated:

“Surprisingly, educators’ use of the term “active learning” has relied more on intuitive understanding than a common definition. Consequently, many faculty assert that all learning is inherently active and that students are therefore actively involved while listening to formal presentations in the classroom. Analysis of the research literature (Chickering and Camson 1987), however, suggests that students must do more than just listen: They must read, write, discuss, or be engaged in solving problems. Most important, to be actively involved, students must engage in such higher-order thinking tasks as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.” (Bonwell and Eison 1991)

It is the degree and form by which students are actively engaging that matters. It is “learning by doing” that students really need.


Active learning is any learning activity in which the student INTERACTS or ENGAGES with the material, as opposed to passively taking in the information.


Furthermore, Cornell University found that research suggests learner attention starts to wane every 10–20 minutes during lectures. Incorporating active learning techniques a few times throughout class can encourage more engagement.*

*A side note from DSC:
A tool like
Socrative may come in useful here.


The blog posting from Smart Sparrow also linked to this resource:



The problem is that lecture-based learning is not like filling a jug — you just don’t catch it all. Learning from lectures is more like holding out your hands and trying to keep the imparted knowledge from spilling through the cracks in this tidal wave of new information. Ultimately, students will catch some of the water, but most of it will be lost.


A side note from DSC to Calvin College faculty members:
If you doubt the immediately preceding quote, see if you can *fully* recall exactly what last Sunday’s sermon was about — including all examples, details, and wisdom that the preacher was trying to relay.

Ultimately, it’s about impact. What strongly impacts students stays with students — and isn’t that true for all of us?



Ashley lists the following resources re: active learning at the end of her posting:

  1. Using Active Learning Instructional Strategies to Create Excitement and Enhance Learning
  2. Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom
  3. Where’s the evidence that active learning works?
  4. How Does Active Learning Support Student Success?
  5. How To Retain 90% Of Everything You Learn




Connecting the education community with research on learning — from


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:











From DSC:
Many K-12 schools as well as colleges and universities have been implementing more collaborative learning spaces. Amongst other things, such spaces encourage communication and collaboration — which involve listening. So here are some resources re: listening — a skill that’s not only underrated, but one that we don’t often try to consciously develop and think about in school. Perhaps in our quest for designing more meta-cognitive approaches to learning, we should consider how each of us and our students are actually listening…or not.


Mackay: The power of listening — from by Harvey Mackay


We are born with two ears, but only one mouth. Some people say that’s because we should spend twice as much time listening. Others claim it’s because listening is twice as difficult as talking.

Whatever the reason, developing good listening skills is critical to success. There is a difference between hearing and listening.

These statistics, gathered from sources including the International Listening Association* website, really drive the point home. They also demonstrate how difficult listening can be:

  • 85 percent of our learning is derived from listening.
  • Listeners are distracted, forgetful and preoccupied 75 percent of the time.
  • Most listeners recall only 50 percent of what they have heard immediately after hearing someone say it.
  • People spend 45 percent of their waking time ­listening.
  • Most people remember only about 20 percent of what they hear over time.
  • People listen up to 450 words per minute, but think at about 1,000 to 3,000 words per minute.
  • There have been at least 35 business studies indicating listening as a top skill needed for success.


From the International Listening Association*

  • Even though most of us spend the majority of our day listening, it is the communication activity that receives the least instruction in school (Coakley & Wolvin, 1997). Listening training is not required at most universities (Wacker & Hawkins, 1995). Students who are required to take a basic communication course spend less than 7% of class and text time on listening (Janusik, 2002; Janusik & Wolvin, 2002). If students aren’t trained in listening, how do we expect them to improve their listening?
  • Listening is critical to academic success. An entire freshman class of over 400 students was given a listening test at the beginning of their first semester. After their first year of studies, 49% of students scoring low on the listening test were on academic probation, while only 4.42% of those scoring high on the listening test were on academic probation. Conversely, 68.5% of those scoring high on the listening test were considered Honors Students after the first year, while only 4.17% of those scoring low attained the same success (Conaway, 1982).
  • Students do not have a clear concept of listening as an active process that they can control. Students find it easier to criticize the speaker as opposed to the speaker’s message (Imhof, 1998).
  • Effective listening is associated with school success, but not with any major personality dimensions (Bommelje, Houston, & Smither, 2003).
  • Students report greater listening comprehension when they use the metacognitive strategies of asking pre-questions, interest management, and elaboration strategies (Imhof, 2001).
  • Students self-report less listening competencies after listening training than before. This could be because students realize how much more there is to listening after training (Ford, Wolvin, & Chung, 2000).
  • Listening and nonverbal communication training significantly influences multicultural sensitivity (Timm & Schroeder, 2000).




* The International Listening Association promotes the study, development,
and teaching of listening and the practice of effective listening skills  and
techniques. ILA promotes effective listening by establishing a network of
professionals exchanging information including teaching methods, training
experiences and materials, and pursuing research as listening affects
humanity in business, education, and intercultural/international relations.



10 important skills for active listening — from




Effective Listening — with Tatiana Kolovou and Brenda Bailey-Hughes — from

Course description:
Listening is a critical competency, whether you are interviewing for your first job or leading a Fortune 500 company. Surprisingly, relatively few of us have ever had any formal training in how to listen effectively. In this course, communications experts Tatiana Kolovou and Brenda Bailey-Hughes show how to assess your current listening skills, understand the challenges to effective listening (such as distractions!), and develop behaviors that will allow you to become a better listener—and a better colleague, mentor, and friend.

Topics include:

  • Recalling details
  • Empathizing
  • Avoiding distractions and the feeling of being overwhelmed
  • Clarifying your role
  • Using attentive nonverbal cues
  • Paraphrasing what was said
  • Matching emotions and mirroring



How to stop talking and start listening to your employees — from by Will Yakowicz
As a leader, you’re bound to be talking a lot, but you can’t forget to give others a chance to speak their mind.





Addendum on 2/13/15:

  • Wake-up call: How to really listen — from by Sarah Green
    Insights from the Harvard Business Review into the world of work

    “It can be stated, with practically no qualification,” Ralph Nichols and Leonard Stevens wrote in a 1957 article in Harvard Business Review, “that people in general do not know how to listen. They have ears that hear very well, but seldom have they acquired the necessary aural skills which would allow those ears to be used effectively for what is called listening. ”

    In a study of thousands of students and hundreds of business people, they found that most retained only half of what they heard – and this immediately after they had heard it. Six months later, most people only retained 25 per cent.

    It all starts with actually caring what other people have to say, argues Christine Riordan, provost and professor of management at the University of Kentucky.

    Listening with empathy consists of three specific sets of behaviours.



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