No-quiz retrieval practice techniques — from thatboycanteach.co.uk by Aidan Severs

Excerpt:

So, although quizzing is one popular (and easy) way of ensuring that facts are remembered and recalled, here are some other ways to prompt retrieval of information from the long-term memory. All of these activities could be done by individuals, in pairs or in groups:

  • Free Recall
  • Retrieve Taking
  • Think Pair Share
  • Two Things
  • Last Lesson, Last Week, Last Month (or Can You Still?)
  • Sorting
  • Linking
  • Stories, Songs, Rhymes and Mnemonics

 

 

From DSC:
With thanks going out to Nelson Miller, Associate Dean at WMU-Cooley Law School, a Professor of Law, and an author of many of his own books…below are some of my notes and reflections on the following article:


B. Teaching Metacognition in the Classroom


Because preparation and planning are vital to learning, law professors should set clear learning goals at the beginning of the semester and at the beginning of each unit and hand them out to the students, so that the students know what they are expected to learn in the class and to help them set their own goals for the class. (p. 14 of 61)

There are three criteria for creating goals (Insert from DC: i.e., learning objectives): 

  1. “the terminal behavior, or what the learner must be able to do by the end of instruction,”
  2. the conditions of demonstration, or the circumstances under which the learner must be able to perform the terminal behavior,” and
  3. “the standards or criteria, or how well the learner must be able to perform the objective for the instructor to conclude that the learner has met it.”

Goals for a doctrinal class should include substantive, skills (process), and professionalism goals

Teachers need to teach metacognitive skills explicitly. As one author has stated, “[i]f the knowledge is never shared through discussion, modeling, or explicit instruction, it is difficult for students to learn.” Moreover, being explicit about the learning process is a key to creating a learning self-identity. Knowledge of metacognitive strategies, such as those for memorization, studying, and reading, makes students more likely to use them, especially if they are told that such strategies will improve their performance and grades. (p. 15)

Professors should say out loud their thinking process when working sample problemsModeling of strategies”–talking out loud about the steps the teacher uses when solving a particular problem–helps students develop metacognitive process skills (mental apps) by providing models. When students are given a problem to solve they generally focus on task completion, rather than the problem-solving process. Consequently, they will usually adopt a trial and error approach, rather than the process the teacher wants them to employ. Modeling of strategies helps solve this problem. Similarly, telling the students why the professor is employing a particular strategy helps conditional metacognition. After giving the demonstration, the professor should also ask questions that determine whether the students understood the processes for coming up with the answers (the problem-solving strategies). Teachers should also help students create strategies for solving ill-defined problems. In sum, the teacher should demonstrate a sample problem’s thinking process in detail, explain why the teacher used that process, have students do similar problems, then give student’s feedback on their problem-solving skills. (p. 18)

An example of scaffolding is partially filling out a diagram, then letting the students finish it (the partial outline approach). Another one is giving students leading questions before they read a case. (p. 19)

Professors should teach their students how to listen in class. Active listening aids learning, while passive listening often results in little retention. Students should think about what they are hearing in class. How does the material relate to my prior knowledge? What is important and what is less important? How can I use this material later? Where would I put this material in an outline? Students should also critically evaluate what the professor is saying. Do I agree? Is there an alternative argument? What are the implications of this argument? Similarly, professors should teach students effective note taking. (p. 20)

Law professors should also help students with study strategies. Deciding what items to study, how to allocate study time, and what study strategies to use are types of metacognitive control. (p. 22)

Professors should help students use study strategies that reinforce long-term memory and create connections between concepts, processes, declarative knowledge, etc. One way of doing this is through repetition,

Experts advise at least four repetitions of material each at least once within a day for retention.

Professors should help their students develop reading strategies. Engaged teachers help their students extract meaning and comprehension from cases, rather than just producing empty briefs. (p. 23)

 


E. Using Formative Assessment to Develop Metacognition 

Well-designed formative assessments–assessments within the learning (during the semester)–that are related to course goals also aid in learning metacognition. This is because formative assessments force students to think about their thinking. As one scholar has asserted, “[a]ssessment methods and requirements probably have a greater influence on how and what students learn than any other single factor.” As one legal educator has noted, “[f]ormative assessment . . . is designed to provide feedback and guide students to improve and learn further, based on feedback that enhances their capacity to build on what they know and address areas of misunderstanding.” As a group of researchers have pointed out, “[i]f the assessments reflect the contexts in which the knowledge is to be used, this is nothing more than practice.

Under the “testing effect,” “learning and memory for material is improved when time is spent taking a test on the material, versus spending the same amount of time restudying the material” because testing engages students in the subject matter. Also, testing uses retrieval, which as stated above, helps long-term retention. In addition, students retain more if they get feedback on their assessment because without feedback students don’t why they’ve made mistakes. Similarly, students who receive feedback are generally more engagedmore positive about law school, and spend more time studying than those who do not receive feedback. In addition, feedback about process is generally more useful than feedback about product. (p. 32)

There are many different kinds of formative assessments, including writing assignments, problem-solving exercises, multiple choice tests, observations, and [daily/weekly quizzes]. For instance, a professor could give the students a problem-solving exercise at the end of a unit to do at home, then go over that exercise in class. Likewise, the professor could give the students a take-home multiple choice test that could be graded by a teaching assistant. Similarly, the professor could give the students a complaint, a corporate document, or a lease and have the students find errors. Finally, the students could draft a contract clause after the unit concerning that clause. (p. 33)

The general criteria for designing effective formative assessments are:

  1. formulate learning objectives and performance standards; publicize them to the students
  2. design the assessment tool
  3. design instruction and activities to enable the students to learn what they need to fulfill the assessment task
  4. provide feedback/discussion — the teacher and student must discuss and use the results of the assessment measure to further promote learning and teaching

As one scholar has noted, “students learn more effectively when their teachers provide them with the criteria by which they are evaluated.” One way of doing this is through rubrics–“sets of detailed written criteria used to assess student performance.”  (p.34)

[R]ubrics are an attempt to break the grade down into a series of scores that pertain to various aspects of the assignment.” Rubrics identify how a student performed on a particular task, skill, or area. They include both characteristics and levels of quality. They can be a scoring rubric, an instructional rubric, or both. Rubrics should be related to the teacher’s goals for the class. They can employ grades, numbers, or categories.

 


“Successful students take charge of their own learning.”


 

From DSC:
My concern with this great article is that it’s a lot of valuable information to take in all at once — let alone try to act upon that information!  I’ve only touched upon a subset of the items within that article. As such, it’s too much information for faculty members and instructional designers to remember and to act upon – as a whole. 

This is why I’m such a fan of blogging and chunking valuable information up into much smaller pieces — then sending out such information piece by piece, where it’s much easier to digest and act upon.

 


 

 

7 characteristics of successful flipped learning experiences — from linkedin.com by Barbi Honeycutt, Ph.D.

Excerpt:

If your flipped classroom isn’t working the way you thought it would, step back and take a closer look. One of these seven characteristics is probably missing.

Many faculty members report frustration with students coming to class unprepared or unmotivated which makes it difficult to implement flipped or active learning strategies. After all, if students don’t do the pre-class work, how can they effectively participate in activities that require them to engage in higher level learning experiences?

While this is one of the most common challenges about the flipped classroom, there are other variables that can affect the success of the model.

Here are seven characteristics of successful flipped learning experiences based on my book The FLIP It Success Guide: the 7 Characteristics of Successful Flipped Classrooms and Active Learning Experiences (2018). Let’s take a brief look at each one…

 

 

 

Evolve to Solve: 6 Ways to Navigate the Changing Landscape of an Instructional Designer — from er.educause.edu by Sara Davis and Linley Fourie

Excerpt:

These six strategies can help instructional designers keep up with the ongoing transformations in higher education.

  1. Network, Network, Network
  2. Identify Your Faculty Champions
  3. Gather Faculty and Student Testimonials and Evidence of Success
  4. Find Your Niche
  5. Managing Your Task List = More Time for the Really Good Stuff
  6. Embrace Empathetic Design

 

 

However, a singular focus on technology-based solutions can result in faculty’s thinking of instructional designers as tech or learning management system (LMS) support. We aren’t saying that we do not occasionally fill these roles, but rather that our function extends beyond the realm of specific technological interventions. 

 

 

 

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:

 

 

 

 

6 Reasons Blended Learning Works — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly

Excerpts:

6 reasons why blended learning is so effective in higher education:

  1. Improved instructional design
  2. Increased guidance & triggers
  3. Easier access to learning activities
  4. Individualized learning opportunities
  5. Increased engagement through social interaction
  6. Time on task

 


From DSC:
Notice the use of teams of specialists in the improved instructional design section:

  1. Improved instructional design. Blended courses (like online courses) may be more intentionally designed than face-to-face counterparts, if only because institutional initiatives for blended courses often involve instructional designers or educational technologists who support the faculty in a scheduled redesign process.

 


 

 

 

From DSC:
Low-stakes formative assessments offer enormous benefits and should be used extensively throughout K-12, higher education, L&D/corporate universities, in law schools, medical schools, dental schools, and more. 

Below are my notes from the following article – with the provided emphasis/bolding/highlighting via colors, etc. coming from me:

Duhart, Olympia. “The “F” Word: The Top Five Complaints (and Solutions) About Formative Assessment.” Journal of Legal Education, vol. 67, no. 2 (winter 2018), pp. 531-49. <– with thanks to Emily Horvath, Director of Academic Services & Associate Professor, WMU-Cooley Law School

 


 

“No one gets behind the wheel of a car for the first time on the day of the DMV road test. People know that practice counts.” (p. 531)

“Yet many law professors abandon this common-sense principle when it comes to teaching law students. Instead of providing multiple opportunities for practice with plenty of space to fail, adjust, and improve, many law school professors place almost everything on a single high-stakes test at the end of the semester.” (p. 531)

 

“The benefits of formative assessment are supported by cognitive science, learning theory, legal education experts, and common sense. An exhaustive review of the literature on formative assessment in various schools settings has shown that it consistently improves academic performance.” (p. 544)

 

ABA’s new formative assessment standards (see pg 23)
An emphasis on formative assessments, not just a mid-term and/or a final exam – which are typically called “summative assessments.”

“The reliance on a single high-stakes exam at the end of the semester is comparable to taking the student driver straight to the DMV without spending any time practicing behind the wheel of a car. In contrast, formative assessment focuses on a feedback loop. It provides critical information to both the students and instructor about student learning.” (p. 533)

“Now a combination of external pressure and a renewed focus on developing self-regulated lawyers has brought formative assessment front and center for law schools.” (p. 533)

“In fall 2016, the ABA implemented new standards that require the use of formative assessment in law schools. Standard 314 explicitly requires law schools to use both formative and summative assessment to “’measure and improve’ student learning.” (pgs. 533-534)

 

Standard 314. ASSESSMENT OF STUDENT LEARNING
A law school shall utilize both formative and summative assessment methods in its curriculum to measure and improve student learning and provide meaningful feedback to students.

 Interpretation 314-1
Formative assessment methods are measurements at different points during a particular course or at different points over the span of a student’s education that provide meaningful feedback to improve student learning. Summative assessment methods are measurements at the culmination of a particular course or at the culmination of any part of a student’s legal education that measure the degree of student learning.

 Interpretation 314-2

A law school need not apply multiple assessment methods in any particular course. Assessment methods are likely to be different from school to school. Law schools are not required by Standard 314 to use any particular assessment method.

 


From DSC:
Formative assessments use tests as a learning tool/strategy. They help identify gaps in students’ understanding and can help the instructor adjust their teaching methods/ideas on a particular topic. What are the learners getting? What are they not getting? These types of assessments are especially important in the learning experiences of students in their first year of law school.  All students need feedback, and these assessments can help give them feedback as to how they are doing.

Practice. Repetition. Feedback.  <– all key elements in providing a solid learning experience!


 

“…effective assessment practices are linked to the development of effective lawyers.” (pg. 535)

Low-risk formative assessment give students multiple opportunities to make mistakes and actively engage with the material they are learning.” (p. 537)

Formative assessments force the students to practice recall. This is very helpful in terms of helping students actually remember the information. The spaced out practice of forcing recall – no matter how much the struggle of recalling it – aids in retaining information and moving items into longer-term memory. (See Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, & Mark A. McDaniel). In fact, according to this book’s authors, the more the struggle in recalling the information, the greater the learning.

Formative assessments can help students own their own learning. Self-regulation. Provide opportunities for students to practice meta-cognition – i.e., thinking about their thinking.

“Lawyers need to be experts at self-regulated learning.” (p. 541)

The use of numerous, low-stakes quizzes and more opportunities for feedback reduces test anxiety and can help with the mental health of students. Can reduce depression and help build a community of learners. (p. 542)

“Millennials prefer interactive learning opportunities, regular assessments, and immediate feedback.” (p. 544)

 


Ideas:


  • As a professor, you don’t have to manually grade every formative assessment. Technology can help you out big time. Consider building a test bank of multiple-choice questions and then drawing upon them to build a series of formative assessments. Have the technology grade the exams for you.
    • Digital quizzes using Blackboard Learn, Canvas, etc.
    • Tools like Socrative
  • Alternatively, have the students grade each other’s work or their own work. Formative assessments don’t have to be graded or count towards a grade. The keys are in learners practicing their recall, checking their own understanding, and, for the faculty member, perhaps pointing out the need to re-address something and/or to experiment with one’s teaching methods.
  • Consider the use of rubrics to help make formative assessments more efficient. Rubrics can relay the expectations of the instructors on any given assignment/assessment. Rubrics can also help TA’s grade items or even the students in grading each other’s items.
  • Formative assessments don’t have to be a quiz/test per se. They can be games, presentations, collaborations with each other.

 


For further insights on this topic (and more) from Northwestern University, see:

New ABA Requirements Bring Changes to Law School Classrooms, Creating Opportunity, and Chaos –from blog.northwesternlaw.review by Jacob Wentzel

Excerpt:

Unbeknownst to many students J.D. and L.L.M. students, our classroom experiences are embarking upon a long-term path toward what could be significant changes as a trio of ABA requirements for law schools nationwide begin to take effect.

The requirements are Standards 302, 314, and 315 , each of which defines a new type of requirement: learning outcomes (302), assessments (314), and global evaluations of these (315). According to Christopher M. Martin, Assistant Dean and Clinical Assistant Professor at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, these standards take after similar ones that the Department of Education rolled out for undergraduate universities years ago. In theory, they seek to help law schools improve their effectiveness by, among other things, telling students what they should be learning and tracking students’ progress throughout the semester. Indeed, as a law student, it often feels like you lose the forest for the trees, imbibing immense quantities of information without grasping the bigger picture, let alone the skills the legal profession demands.

By contrast, formative assessment is about assessing students “at different points during a particular course,” precisely when many courses typically do not. Formative assessments are also about generating information and ideas about what professors do in the classroom. Such assessment methods include quizzes, midterms, drafts, rubrics, and more. Again, professors are not required to show students the results of such assessments, but must maintain and collect the data for institutional purposes—to help law schools track how students are learning material during the semester and to make long-term improvements.

 

And/or see a Google query on “ABA new formative assessment standards”

 

 

 

Flipped Learning Global Standards Project Spawns Active Learning Nonprofit — from marketwatch.com
Academy of Active Learning Arts and Sciences Formed to Support International Best Practices for Flipped Learning Training and Practice

Excerpt:

LOS ANGELES, May 22, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Today, the Flipped Learning Global Initiative (FLGI), announced that the Global Standards Project created to establish an international framework for Flipped Learning, has incorporated as a non-profit organization. All GSP activities are migrating to the new entity which will operate as the Academy of Active Learning Arts and Sciences (AALAS). The new organization will maintain a narrow focus on identifying and supporting global standards for Flipped Learning and related active learning instruction. AALAS will also focus on research, education, and accreditation.

AALAS was formed in response to confirmation from educators around the globe that standards are needed and wanted. The adoption of Flipped Learning is accelerating worldwide from K-12 to higher education and corporate training. But the growing gap in understanding about Flipped Learning leads to implementations that far underperform the potential for active learning.

“I think a lot of people have a rather naive conception of Flipped Learning. They think Flipped Learning is simply watching videos before class. That’s it. Boom. Done,” said Eric Mazur, a professor at Harvard University and one of the pioneers of Flipped Learning. “But it is a much deeper process, and that is why it’s so terrifically important to have a greater conception of what Flipped Learning is.”

 

 

 

 

Are you telling stories in the classroom? — from teaching.berkeley.edu by Melanie Green

Excerpts:

Stories can make a subject accessible and even interesting… [Storytelling] can provide value, turn something abstract or obscure into something concrete.

Stories:

  • make a subject relatable and accessible to students
  • can pique interest, or demonstrate relevance, in a subject that students usually dislike, or worse, find mind-numbing
  • build meaning-making (there’s that word again), helping students to recall the information later
  • forge, or repave, paths to material that students already thought they knew, making way for new perspectives, connections, and experiences to develop through someone else’s story
  • make a subject approachable

 

From DSC:
The Master Teacher also used stories (parables) to teach people:

 

 

 

If our Creator/Designer did so, I think we should take a serious look at doing so as well.

 

 

 

 

Research roundup: 4 new reports on what’s working for blended-learning practitioners — from christenseninstitute.org by Luis Flores

Excerpt:

At the start of the year, we published a blog post on interesting research from 2017 related to innovative approaches to school design. Even though we aren’t even half-way through 2018, there are already several insightful reports on blended and personalized learning from this year that are worth highlighting.

These reports examined various tools and approaches to implement blended and personalized learning models, as well as the potential impact these models could have on students and teachers. From examining how schools implemented their models sustainably to recommending methods to best support teachers, these are informative reports for anyone interested in implementing blended and personalized learning models in their schools.

1. Digital math tool produces gains in student achievement
2. Personalized learning can be implemented sustainably
3. PD-rich blended-learning plans increase chances of success
4. Ensure that teachers create, and design strategies for, their goals

 

 

 

 

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