What will improve a students memory? -- by Daniel Williamham

 

Excerpt:

How does the mind work—and especially how does it learn?  Teachers’ instructional decisions are based on a mix of theories learned in teacher education, trial and error, craft knowledge, and gut instinct.  Such gut knowledge often serves us well, but is there anything sturdier to rely on?  Cognitive science is an interdisciplinary field of researchers from psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, philosophy, computer science, and anthropology who seek to understand the mind. In this regular American Educator column, we consider findings from this field that are strong and clear enough to merit classroom application.

Chemistry project goes viral -- great work Eli Cirino!

 

From DSC:
Great work Eli Cirino!

It is my hope that we could create more teaching materials like this — i.e. content that uses digital storytelling to create a more last impression…to elicit emotions…to move a piece of information through the gate (i.e. someone’s attention) and then through someone’s working memory and into their long term memory! Great, creative, innovative thinking Eli!

 

 

From DSC:
As Brian Crosby points out in the title of his blog — “Learning is Messy.” 

There is no silver bullet in the world of education that can be used to effectively teach everyone. In fact, if you were to get 100 instructional designers/teachers/professors/instructors/trainers in the same room, you will not be able to find anything close to a strong agreement on what constitutes the best and most effective learning theory as well as the practical implementations of applying that learning theory (even if we were to be talking about the same age range of students). In my Master’s work, I was looking for that silver bullet…but I never found one.

It is very difficult for a professor or a teacher to deliver truly personalized/customized learning to each student in their classroom:

  • How can a teacher consistently know and remember what motivates each particular student?
  • Because so much of learning depends upon prior learning, what “hooks” exist — per student — that he/she can use to hang new information on?
  • Then, what’s the most effective method of delivering the content for each particular student that might shift the content from their working memories to their long-term memories? (And in the process, do so in a way that develops a love for learning that will serve the student well over his lifetime)
  • What’s the best way to assess the learning for each student?
  • Which students cognitive loads are being eaten up due to the nervousness around being assessed?
  • What are the best methods of passing along those learnings onto the students’ future teachers’ for the students’ benefit?

In my estimation, the way we have things setup throughout most K-16 education, this is an impossible task. When there’s typically only 1-2 teachers trying to teach to 20-30 students at a time, how can this type of personalized instruction occur?

However, I believe digital learning and its surrounding tools/ecosystems hold enormous promise for delivering truly customized/personalized learning opportunities.  Such technologies will be able to learn where a student is at, how to motivate them, how fast to push them, and how they best progress through a type of content.  Such tools will provide real-time, learning-related, diagnostic dashboards for professors or teachers to leverage in order to guide and optimize a student’s education.

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So I believe that the promise is there for delivering truly customized/personalized learning opportunities available 24x7x365 — even though we aren’t completely there yet.  But think of the power a teacher would have if he or she had IBM’s Watson AI-based analysis on each student at their disposal! A “guide on the side” using such diagnostic tools could be a ***potent*** ally for a student.*

As such, I see innovative approaches continuing to come to fruition that will harness the power of serious games, analytics, web-based learner profiles, and multimedia-based/interactive learning content. Eventually, a piece of this type of personalized education will enter in via the Smart/Connected TVs of our living rooms…but that’s a post I’m building out for another day in the near future.

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*Another hope I have here is that such technologies will
enable students to identify and pursue their passions.

 


Some items that reinforced this notion for me include:


 

The key link from Bloom (1913-1999) one e-learning paper you must read plus his taxonomy of learning — an excellent item from Donald Clark Plan B (also see Donald’s archives for postings re: 50 top learning theorists)

The 2 Sigma Problem: The Search for Methods of Group Instruction as Effective as One-to-One Tutoring
Benjamin Bloom
University of Chicago | Northwestern University

Excerpt:
Most striking were the differences in final achievement measures under the three conditions. Using the standard deviation (sigma) or the control (conventional) class, it was typically found that the average student under tutoring was about two standard deviations above the average of the control class (the average tutored student was above 98% of the students in the control class). The average student under mastery learning was about one standard deviation above the average of the control class(the average mastery learning student was above 84% of the students in the control class).

Two key items from EdNet Insight’s Anne Wujcik:

Mapping a Personalized Learning Journey – K-12 Students and Parents Connect the Dots with Digital Learning — from Project Tomorrow

Personalizing Learning in 2012 — The Student & Parent Point of View [infographic] — from Project Tomorrow
Excerpt from Anne’s posting:

This first report focuses on how today’s students are personalizing their own learning, and how their parents are supporting this effort. That personalization centers around three student desires: including how students seek out resources that are digitally-rich, untethered and socially-based. The report share the unfiltered views of K-12 students and parents on these key trends and documents their aspirations for fully leveraging the technologies supporting these trends to transform their learning lives.

The principles of eLearning -- cognitive theory of multimedia design - by Allen Partridge

 


A list of Allen Partridge’s on-demand/online-based seminars (free, requires free ID at Adobe):


1: Making Effective Adobe Captivate eLearning Modules
… a foundation in multimedia design concepts for eLearning, and help you understand the reasons / rationale behind many of the eLearning strategies you see implemented today.

2: Balancing cognitive load in eLearning content with Adobe Captivate 5
…session focuses on the Multimedia eLearning Design Principle known as Personalization, which suggests that people learn more effectively when conversational styles and or learning agents are used to enhance the social aspects of the experience.

3: Applying Personalization to eLearning with Adobe Captivate 5
…session focuses on the Multimedia eLearning Design Principle known as Personalization, which suggests that people learn more effectively when conversational styles and or learning agents are used to enhance the social aspects of the experience.

4: Creating effective eLearning Multimedia with Adobe Captivate 5
…session will center on the Multimedia Principle (the importance of combining images & text) of eLearning Design.

5: Making Effective Adobe Captivate eLearning Modules Part 5: Contiguity
…the Contiguity Principle, which indicates that the spatial relationship (proximity) of symbols (like text) to analogous images (things that look like the subject of the learning) is significant, and plays a key role in how effectively we learn.

6: Making Effective Adobe Captivate eLearning Modules Part 6: Redundancy
…focuses on the Multimedia eLearning Design Principle known as Redundancy, which suggests that presenting symbols via both text and aural channels is less effective than presenting via only one.

7: Making Effective Adobe Captivate eLearning Modules Part 7 : Coherence
…focuses on the Multimedia eLearning Design Principle known as Coherence, which suggests that off topic ancillary material can distract from learning. This theory stands in opposition to arousal theory, providing research based evidence that when stimulating animation or any form of non-relevant information is provided, it can actually decrease the efficacy of the instruction.

8: Making Effective Adobe Captivate eLearning Modules Part 8: Segmenting
...the Multimedia eLearning Design Principle known as the Segmenting Principle, which suggests that authors of eLearning content should break content up into small pieces or chunks in order to help avoid cognitive overload for the learners.

9: Making Effective Adobe Captivate eLearning Modules Part 9: Pre-Training
The session focuses on the Multimedia eLearning Design Principle known as pre-training, which suggests that elearning content authors should first build up basic information about essential elements which are pre-requisites to understanding the larger concepts.

10: Making Effective Adobe Captivate eLearning Modules Part 10: Individual Differences
…the Individual Differences Principle, which suggests that design effects are stronger for low-knowledge learners than for high knowledge learners, and for high-spatial learners rather than for low-spatial learners.

More resources re: Adobe Captivate

Using Twitter? @AdobeElearning OR HASHTAG: #AdobeCaptivate
Using YouTube? http://www.youtube.com/adobeElearning/
On Adobe TV: http://tv.adobe.com/channel/e-learning/
Captivate Blog: http://blogs.adobe.com/captivate/

 

Also see:

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:
 


 

Ignite Great Lakes – Maria Andersen: Where’s the “Learn This” Button? — my thanks to Mr. Paul Simbeck-Hampson for this resource

Dr. Maria H. Andersen is the Learning Futurist for the LIFT Institute and a Math Professor at Muskegon Community College, where she organizes Ignite MCC. She writes the “Teaching with Tech” column for MAA Focus and has recently published articles in Educause Review and The Futurist. Lately she has been spending a lot of time building games for teaching math and musing about the future of learning and higher education. You can find Maria blogging on the Internet at TeachingCollegeMath.com or on Twitter at @busynessgirl.

 


 

Maria Andersen: Where's the "Learn This" Button?

 

 

 

SOCRAIT — a new learning layer on the Internet:

  • SOC for social
  • AI for artificial intelligence
  • IT for information technology

 

 

From Daniel Christian: Fasten your seatbelts! An accelerated ride through some ed-tech landscapes.


From DSC:
Immediately below is a presentation that I did for the Title II Conference at Calvin College back on August 11, 2011
It is aimed at K-12 audiences.


 

Daniel S. Christian presentation -- Fasten your seatbelts! An accelerated ride through some ed-tech landscapes (for a K-12 audience)

 


From DSC:
Immediately below is a presentation that I did today for the Calvin College Fall 2011 Conference.
It is aimed at higher education audiences.


 

 Daniel S. Christian presentation -- Fasten your seatbelts! An accelerated ride through some ed-tech landscapes (for a higher ed audience)

 


Note from DSC:

There is a great deal of overlap here, as many of the same technologies are (or will be) hitting the K-12 and higher ed spaces at the same time. However, there are some differences in the two presentations and what I stressed depended upon my audience.

Pending time, I may put some audio to accompany these presentations so that folks can hear a bit more about what I was trying to relay within these two presentations.


Tagged with:  

Yale finds cause of age related memory loss and finds it may be reversible — from NextBigFuture.com

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

A new study published July 27 in the journal Nature shows that the neural networks in the brains of the middle-aged and elderly have weaker connections and fire less robustly than in youthful ones. Intriguingly, note the scientists, the research suggests that this condition is reversible.

Arnsten said that the aging prefrontal cortex appears to accumulate excessive levels of a signaling molecule called cAMP, which can open ion channels and weaken prefrontal neuronal firing. Agents that either inhibited cAMP or blocked cAMP-sensitive ion channels were able to restore more youthful firing patterns in the aged neurons. One of the compounds that enhanced neuronal firing was guanfacine, a medication that is already approved for treating hypertension in adults and prefrontal deficits in children, suggesting that it may be helpful in the elderly as well, note the researchers.

Arnsten’s finding is already moving to the clinical setting. Yale School of Medicine is enrolling subjects in a clinical trial testing guanfacine’s ability to improve working memory and executive functions in elderly subjects who do not have Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.

 

Tagged with:  

How data and analytics can improve education –from O’Reilly by by Audrey Watters
George Siemens on the applications and challenges of education data.

Excerpt:

Schools have long amassed data: tracking grades, attendance, textbook purchases, test scores, cafeteria meals, and the like. But little has actually been done with this information — whether due to privacy issues or technical capacities — to enhance students’ learning.

With the adoption of technology in more schools and with a push for more open government data, there are clearly a lot of opportunities for better data gathering and analysis in education. But what will that look like? It’s a politically charged question, no doubt, as some states are turning to things like standardized test score data in order to gauge teacher effectiveness and, in turn, retention and promotion.

I asked education theorist George Siemens, from the Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute at Athabasca University, about the possibilities and challenges for data, teaching, and learning.

Our interview follows.

From DSC:
My thanks to Stephen Downes for his posting on this:

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:

 

 

Is Higher Education Ready for “The Education Bubble”? — from CampusTechnology.com by Trent Batson

Excerpts:

American higher education–the jewel in the global crown of universal education, with nearly a quarter of the total number of higher education institutions in the world, and including graduate programs that are the envy of the world–is facing the prospect of being the next bubble to burst. Technology is both a culprit and a promising ally.

The spread of information technology, and its infusion into our culture, has opened the world to learning opportunities–raising expectations for college graduates and changing the terms of success.

Is American higher education ready to either prevent the bubble from bursting or to weather the storm when it does burst? And what is the bubble?

The bubble, as we can see by all the dimensions just described, is, in fact, a potential “perfect storm.”

But this effort must also result from a presidential-level decree: “The learning theory that fit so well in our culture and with the dominant technology pre-1995 (print-based and paper-based technologies), now is not working very well for any of us, so we have to change. Each of you on campus has sincerely and devotedly committed yourselves fully to learning, but now we know that our learning epistemology is less and less appropriate. This is not your fault; it is simply a time of incredible human growth; it is a time of rapid evolution in our culture; a time of re-shaping our economy. We must transform or become irrelevant.”

 

From DSC:
Good to see I have some company in these perspectives; thanks for the article Trent. Also see:

  • The Forthcoming Walmart of Education
  • The below graphics that I created a while back reflecting on whether there was a bubble building within higher ed (2/16/09) as well some of the elements of “The Perfect Storm in Higher Education” (9/10/10).
  • The point is we need a response to these trends — we don’t want to be broadsided.

 

The perfect storm in higher ed -- by Daniel S. Christian

Is higher ed the next bubble?

 

Daniel S. Christian: My concerns with just maintaining the status quo (from 2009).

From 5/21/09

So many learning style tests, so little time… — from Lasagna and Chips by Joitske Hulsebosch

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

I’m amazed that there are so many different learning style theories and tests! The families definitely help to choose what you’d want to work with if you are looking for a learning style test. I’d prefer a style test that acknowledges the dynamic nature of preferences. It may depend on the situation and what you want to learn what your preferences are. And I don’t believe in the auditory/visual/kinesthetic learner difference.

I still think the tests are helpful for learners to become self-aware. You can use it as a starting point to reflect about yourself and think for instance about your pitfalls and strengths as facilitator. Or as a learner- what activities work for you? Do you thrive on certain ways of learning? How to strengthen this? The downside is of course that you fill in the tests yourself (rubbish in- rubbish out!), so some feedback from others may be needed too.

From DSC:
I like how Joitske mentioned the word preferences a lot. With all the disagreement whether learning styles exist or not, I do believe people prefer to absorb/learn the required materials in certain formats. Certain manners of taking information in are more enjoyable, easier, or to me, more efficient. I can learn the information most of the ways it might be presented, but I prefer visuals…not all text, as an example. This idea is closely related to developing a love of learning (or conversely, a hatred towards learning).

Long-term memory: A user’s guide — from theelearningcoach.com by Connie Malamed

 

[Concept] The new “textbook”: A multi-layered approach — from Daniel S. Christian
I’ve been thinking recently about new approaches to relaying — and engaging with — content in a “textbook”.



For a physical textbook


When opening up a physical textbook to a particular page, QR-like codes would be printed on the physical pages of the textbook.  With the advent of augmented reality, such a mechanism would open up some new possibilities to interact with content for that page. For example, some overall characteristics about this new, layered approach:

  • Augmented reality could reveal multiple layers of information:
    • From the author/subject matter expert as well as the publisher’s instructional design team
      • Main points highlighted
      • Pointers that may help with metacognition, such as potential mnemonics that might be helpful in moving something into long-term memory
      • Studying strategies
    • A layer that the professor or teacher could edit
      • Main points highlighted
      • Pointers that may help with metacognition, such as potential mnemonics that might be helpful in moving something into long-term memory
      • Studying strategies
    • A layer for the students to comment on/annotate that page
    • A layer for other students’ comments

 

 


For an electronic-based textbook


  • The interface would allow for such layers to be visible or not — much like Google’s Body Browser application
  • For example, in this graphic, comments from the SME and/or ID are highlighted on top of the normal text:

 

 

 

 

Advantages of this concept/model:

  • Ties physical into virtual world
  • We could economically update information (i.e. opens up streams of content)
  • Integrates social learning
  • Allows SMEs, IDs, faculty members to further comment/add to content as new information becomes available
  • Instructors could highlight the key points they want to stress
  • Many of the layers could offer items that might help with students’ meta-cognitive processes (i.e. to help them learn the content and move the content into long-term memory)
  • One could envision the textbook being converted into something more akin to an app in an online-based store — with notifications of updates that could be constantly pushed out

 

Addendum (5/26):

 

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