Deep learning vs. surface learning: Getting students to understand the difference — from facultyfocus.com by Maryellen Wiemer

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Cognitively passive learning behaviors (surface learning approaches)
I came to class.
I reviewed my class notes.
I made index cards.
I highlighted the text.

Cognitively active learning behaviors (deep learning approaches)
I wrote my own study questions.
I tried to figure out the answer before looking it up.
I closed my notes and tested how much I remembered.
I broke down complex processes step-by-step.

…it is terribly important that in explicit and concerted ways we make students aware of themselves as learners. We must regularly ask, not only “What are you learning?” but “How are you learning?” We must confront them with the effectiveness (more often ineffectiveness) of their approaches. We must offer alternatives and then challenge students to test the efficacy of those approaches. We can tell them the alternatives work better but they will be convinced if they discover that for themselves.

Steelcase: Using our heads and our hands to give information physical form

 

Excerpt:

When we take notes during a lecture, however, something amazing happens. As we write, we create spatial relationships between the pieces of information we’re recording. The region of the brain that handles spatial information is engaged and, by linking it with the verbal information the brain filters wheat from chaff.

Research bears this out. In a study of a lecture class, students who took notes remembered no more content than the students who didn’t take notes; the act of taking notes did not increase the amount of what they remembered. But the students who took notes remembered more key facts, those who merely listened remembered more or less random content from the lecture.

Note taking isn’t the only way to help the brain recall important stuff. Other kinds of writing, such as scrawling ideas on a whiteboard or pencilling a reminder on a calendar, create a link between the spatial and verbal parts of our brains and strengthen how important information is stored in our brains.

Building Learning Communities 2011 Keynote: Dr. Eric Mazur — from November Learning

Excerpt:

Today, we are officially relaunching our opening keynote from BLC11 with Dr. Eric Mazur. Dr. Mazur is the Area Dean of Applied Physics and Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA.

In his keynote, Dr. Mazur shares his vast research on teaching and learning. Students in Dr. Mazur’s class are moving far away from the traditional stand and deliver lectures given in many k-12 and university classrooms around the world, and they are gaining a much deeper understanding of the material being taught in the process.

As you watch this video, we invite you to take some time and respond to one or more of the following questions…

 

From DSC:
What I understood the key points to be:

  • Teaching and learning should not be about information transfer alone; that is, it’s not about simply having students “parrot back” the information.  That doesn’t lead to true learning and long-term retention.
  • The more a teacher is an expert in his/her content, the more difficulty this teacher has in understanding how a first time learner in this subject struggles
  • Rather we need to guide and use peer instruction/social learning/collaboration amongst students to construct learning and then be able to apply/transfer that learning to a different context
  • Lecturing is not an effective way to create a long term retention of information
  • Peer instruction/human interaction creates effective learning
  • “The plural of anecdotes is not data.”
  • Eric is seeking data and feedback to sharpen his theories of how to optimize learning
  • Technology serves pedagogy — technology should afford a new mode of learning
  • Towards that end, Eric and team working on “Peer instruction 2.0”
  • How do I design good questions?  Optimize the discussions? Manage time? Insure learning is taking place?
  • Eric is working with several other colleagues to create a system for building and using data analytics to give useful information to instructor about who’s “getting it” and who isn’t; about how we learn
  • Peer instruction not without issues — how people group themselves and who students choose to collaborate with can be problematical
  • Why not have the system do the pairing/grouping?
  • System uses algorithms, facial recognition, posture analysis; cameras, microphones
  • Surveys also used
  • The system is attempting to help Eric and his team learn about learning
  • The system being used at Harvard and by invitation only

Eric ended with a summary of the 2 key messages:

  1. Education is not about lecturing
  2. We can move way beyond the current technologies and use new methods and technologies to actively manage learning as it happens

 

From DSC:
After listening to this lecture, the graphic below captures a bit of what he’s getting at and reflects some of my thinking on this subject as well.  That is, we need diagnostic tools — along the lines of those a mechanic might use on our cars to ascertain where the problems/issues are:
 


 

Teaching secrets: Teaching students how to learn — from Edweek.org by Cossondra George

Excerpt:

Awareness of common pitfalls and effective strategies can support your efforts to help students “learn to learn” throughout the school year…

 

From DSC:
I sure wish instructional designers, subject matter experts, professors and teachers could annotate their “books” to give concrete, practical ideas and strategies that would help students to better study, understand, and remember the relevant materials.  My early take on this might be achieved via a multi-layered, digital textbook approach that would hopefully address metacognition and help students learn how to learn:

 

 

Metacognition — from ardentisptyltd blog

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

When working with gifted children it is very important to consider metacognitionThis is awareness of your own thinking.  Metacognition can be taught and the best schools will start to incorporate metacognition from the very earliest levels. They might not call it metacognition but it will encompass self-reflection about learning, about task completion and about motivation.  It can be helpful to consider your own learning style and how difficult it is to work out how you think when you first begin.  Often children may not be aware of how they think but close questioning might assist.

Some metacognitive strategies to consider are…

From DSC:
When motivation is mentioned…does anyone have any good blog postings about how to help a student become motivated if –when they do their self-check on this — they discover or confirm that their motivation is very low for a particular assignment/topic that they are working on?

Addendum on 6/13/11:
I just saw this over the weekend from Steve Hargadon:

 

 

The definition of metacognitive skills in education — ehow.com by Gilbert Manda

Excerpt:

Controlling your thinking processes and becoming more aware of your learning is called metacognition. Metacognitive skills make you aware of your own knowledge, the ability to understand, control and manipulate your own cognitive process. In short, you learn to learn. It is important to know the process of learning and understanding your own approach to it.

From DSC:
I wish that scholars would write their articles/research findings up in two formats:

1) One format being targeted to other scholars/researchers
and
2) The second format being targeted to those folks outside academia who might benefit from it

This article is not from a scholarly journal, but it references some scholarly sources such as those from Purdue University and  Midwestern State University; however, it is much more readable and useful to me — and probably to many others. It is written in language that more people can understand and work with. Academia needs to start being more relevant like this — speaking to audiences outside ourselves; especially when we are asking them to pay many of the bills.

How can we help students develop better metacognitive skills? What strategies can we offer while they are studying a particular lesson?


Metacognition: A Literature Review Research Report — from Pearson by Emily Lai, April 2011

Abstract

Metacognition is defined most simply as “thinking about thinking.” Metacognition consists of two components: knowledge and regulation. Metacognitive knowledge includes knowledge about oneself as a learner and the factors that might impact performance, knowledge about strategies, and knowledge about when and why to use strategies. Metacognitive regulation is the monitoring of one’s cognition and includes planning activities, awareness of comprehension and task performance, and evaluation of the efficacy of monitoring processes and strategies. Recent research suggests that young children are capable of rudimentary forms of metacognitive thought, particularly after the age of 3. Although individual developmental models vary, most postulate massive improvements in metacognition during the first 6 years of life. Metacognition also improves with appropriate instruction, with empirical evidence supporting the notion that students can be taught to reflect on their own thinking. Assessment of metacognition is challenging for a number of reasons: (a) metacognition is a complex construct; (b) it is not directly observable; (c) it may be confounded with both verbal ability and working memory capacity; and (d) existing measures tend to be narrow in focus and decontextualized from in-school learning. Recommendations for teaching and assessing metacognition are made.

Keywords: metacognition, self-regulated learning

 

 

From DSC:
Also see Chapter 12 of:

  • Ormrod, J. E. (2008). Human learning (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. ISBN 9780132327497.

…which has excellent further resources, additional literature reviews, learning strategies.

What's the best way to deal with ever-changing streams of content? When information has shrinking half-lives?

From DSC:
After looking at some items concerning Connectivism*, I’ve been reflecting upon the following questions:

  • What’s the best way for us to dip our feet into the constantly moving streams of content?
    (No matter the topic or discipline, the streams continue to flow.)
  • What’s the optimal setup for K-12 based “courses”?
  • What’s the optimal setup for “courses” within higher education?
  • How should L&D departments deal with this phenomenon?
  • How do publishers and textbook authors want to address this situation?

Thinking of Gonzalez (2004; as cited in Siemens (2005)) description of the challenges of rapidly diminishing knowledge life:

“One of the most persuasive factors is the shrinking half-life of knowledge. The “half-life of knowledge” is the time span from when knowledge is gained to when it becomes obsolete. Half of what is known today was not known 10 years ago. The amount of knowledge in the world has doubled in the past 10 years and is doubling every 18 months according to the American Society of Training and Documentation (ASTD). To combat the shrinking half-life of knowledge, organizations have been forced to develop new methods of deploying instruction.”

Stephen Downes addresses this and points to a possible solution to this phenomenon in his presentation from 3/15/11 entitled “Educational Projection: Supporting Distributed Learning Online.”

Excerpt/slides:

.

I need to put more thought into this, but wanted to throw this question out there…more later…

 

 


* From DSC: Some of the items I looked at regarding Connectivism — some directly related, others indirectly-related — were:


Siemens, G.  (2005).  Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age.  Retrieved from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm.

Downes, S.  (2005).  An introduction to connective knowledge.  Retrieved from http://www.  downes.  ca/post/33034.  Downes noted that this was published in Hug, Theo (ed.  ) (2007): Media, knowledge & education – exploring new spaces, relations and dynamics in digital media ecologies.  Proceedings of the International Conference held on June 25-26, 2007.  November 27, 2007.

Kop, R.  & Hill, A.  (2008).  Connectivism: Learning theory of the future or vestige of the past? International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, v9 n3 p1-13 Oct 2008.

Tracey, R.  (2009). Instructivism, constructivism or connectivism? Training & Development in Australia, December, 2009. p08-09, 2p.  Retrieved from EBSCOhost. ISSN 0310-4664.

Kerr, B.  (2007).  A challenge to connectivism.  Retrieved at http://learningevolves.  wikispaces.  com/kerr.

Sims, R.  (2008).  Rethinking (e)learning: A manifesto for connected generations.  Distance Education Vol.  29, No.  2, August 2008, 153–164.  ISSN 0158-7919 print/ISSN 1475-0198 online.  DOI: 10.  1080/01587910802154954

Lisa Dawley.   (2009).  Social network knowledge construction: emerging virtual world pedagogy.  On the Horizon, 17(2), 109-121.   Retrieved from ProQuest Education Journals.  (Document ID: 1880656431).

Hargadon, S.  (2011).  Ugh.  Classic politics now extends to social networking in education.  Retrieved from http://www.  stevehargadon.  com/2011/03/ugh-classic-politics-now-extends-to.  html.

Cross, J.  (2001).  Crowd-inspired innovation.  Retrieved from http://www.internettime.com/2011/03/crowd-inspired-innovation.

Rogers-Estable, M..  (2009).  Web 2.0 and distance education: Tools and techniques.  Distance Learning, 6(4), 55-60.  Retrieved from ProQuest Education Journals.  (Document ID: 2017059921).

Marrotte-Newman, S..  (2009).  Why virtual schools exist and understanding their culture.  Distance Learning, 6(4), 31-35.  Retrieved from ProQuest Education Journals.  (Document ID: 2017059881).

Hilton, J., Graham, C., Rich, P., & Wiley, D. (2010). Using online technologies to extend a classroom to learners at a distance.  Distance Education, 31(1), 77-92.  Retrieved from ProQuest Education Journals.  (Document ID: 2074810921).

Attwell, G. (2010). Personal learning environments and Vygotsky. Retrieved from http://www.pontydysgu.org/2010/04/personal-learning-environments-and-vygotsky.

10 Steps for Working Smarter with Social Media — from the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies by Jane Hart
Webinar for Learning & Skills Group, 17 March 2010

Excerpt below:


10 Steps for Working Smarter with Social Media
Webinar for Learning & Skills Group,  17 March 2010

Workplace Learning is changing!

 

A number of people, my Internet Time Alliance (ITA) colleague Charles Jennings in particular, have highlighted the fact that  training that simply involves filling people’s heads with knowledge, is ineffective and inefficient – as most people forget what they have learnt very quickly.  And that online courses, which do pretty much the same, take time, effort and money to develop.

 

Many are also “over-engineered” solutions – and this often leads to resentment by those who have to spend time to work through courses – when the material could have been provided in a much simpler way. But in fact this whole approach to workplace learning is not sustainable in a world that is moving very fast and where there is need for access to constantly changing information.

 

On the other hand, although we have now realized – due largely to the work of (my ITA colleague) Jay Cross that most of an individual’s “real” learning takes place outside formal learning .. continuously … in the workflow … by reading or listening to things, or more significantly in conversations and interactions with other people, L&D have struggled to understand how to harness informal learning, and perhaps understandably often try to force it into the formal model they feel comfortable with it.

 

But it is in fact, the emergence of social media, that has really begun to make us think differently about the way work and learning is happening.  For an increasing number of individuals and groups are using these new technologies in the workplace to  connect with colleagues both inside and outside the organisation in order to share ideas, resources and experiences – often under the radar of IT and L&D.   This use of social media has become a revolution in the sense that these tools are now in the hands of the employees.  So the question is what role does L&D play in all this?

 

One key thing to remember is Learning is not the end goal; but is a means to an end.  It’s about PERFORMANCE; people doing their jobs (better).  In fact it’s all about working smarter.  So what is working smarter?


.

Also related:

Salman Khan: Let’s use video to reinvent education — March 2011

Salman Khan talks about how and why he created the remarkable Khan Academy, a carefully structured series of educational videos offering complete curricula in math and, now, other subjects. He shows the power of interactive exercises, and calls for teachers to consider flipping the traditional classroom script — give students video lectures to watch at home, and do “homework” in the classroom with the teacher available to help.

.

Sal Kahn at TED -- March 2011

.

From DSC:
Before rushing to a quick take/judgment on this, hear him out. Turning over more control to the students during the relaying of the information makes sense to me. They can pause, rewind, fast forward, etc.  They can re-listen to the lecture again and again, without affecting the flow of a typical face-to-face classroom. Then they come into class and can get help on their homework, instantly and when they need the assistance.

Also see:



 

Encouraging effective note-taking in your classes— from Profhacker by Nels Highberg

From DSC:
Ormrod (2008, p. 361) also mentions note taking as an effective learning and study strategy (along with meaningful learning and elaboration, organization, summarizing, comprehension monitoring, mnemonics, identifying important information):

[Note taking] facilitates encoding of materials: By writing information and looking at it on paper, students are likely to encode it both verbally and visually. As evidence of the encoding function of note taking, students remember more when they take notes even if they have no opportunity to review the notes (Howe, 1970, Weinstein & mayer, 1986). In addition, notes serve as a form of concrete external storage for information presented in class.


Ormrod, J. E. (2008). Human learning (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. ISBN 9780132327497.

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