7 Digital Learning Theories and Models You Should Know — from techlearning.com by Erik Ofgang, Shelly Terrell
Knowing these digital learning theories and models can boost your instruction

Excerpt:

While pursuing teaching degrees, educators are introduced to various learning theorists and their insights about how people learn best. Some familiar names include Piaget, Bandura, Vygotsky, and Gardner.

 Although understanding these learning theories is still important, aspiring educators also need to become familiar with theories, models, and approaches that provide insight on how technology, social media, and the internet impact learning. Digital learning theories and approaches, such as RAT, SAMR, TPACK, Digital Blooms, Connectivism, Design Thinking and Peeragogy help teachers develop curricula that gets students to use technology to research, curate, annotate, create, innovate, problem-solve, collaborate, campaign, reform and think critically. These are skills outlined in Shelly Terrell’s Hacking Digital Learning Strategies with EdTech Missions.

 

Spacing Retrieval is More Important than Extra Retrieval — from learningscientists.org by Cindy Nebel

Excerpt:

Educators: Quiz your students. Absolutely you should incorporate retrieval practice. Just space it out over time instead of providing blocked weekly quizzes just over that week’s content. But congratulations! You don’t have to do the extra work of writing and grading more quiz questions to get this benefit!

Students: Quiz yourselves and when you do, make sure you’re reviewing old material. Build in frequent study sessions, but you don’t have to double the time you’re spending studying to get great benefits, as long as you’re doing what you should be doing throughout (spaced retrieval).


Speaking of memory, also see:


 

To Improve Outcomes for Students, We Must Improve Support for Faculty — from campustechnology.com by Dr. David Wiley
The doctoral programs that prepare faculty for their positions often fail to train them on effective teaching practices. We owe it to our students to provide faculty with the professional development they need to help learners realize their full potential.

Excerpts:

Why do we allow so much student potential to go unrealized? Why are well-researched, highly effective teaching practices not used more widely?

The doctoral programs that are supposed to prepare them to become faculty in physics, philosophy, and other disciplines don’t require them to take a single course in effective teaching practices. 

The entire faculty preparation enterprise seems to be caught in a loop, unintentionally but consistently passing on an unawareness that some teaching practices are significantly more effective than others. How do we break this cycle and help students realize their full potential as learners?

From DSC:
First of all, I greatly appreciate the work of Dr. David Wiley. His career has been dedicated to teaching and learning, open educational resources, and more. I also appreciate and agree with what David is saying here — i.e., that professors need to be taught how to teach as well as what we know about how people learn at this point in time. 

For years now, I’ve been (unpleasantly) amazed that we hire and pay our professors primarily for their research capabilities — vs. their teaching competence. At the same time, we continually increase the cost of tuition, books, and other fees. Students have the right to let their feet do the walking. As the alternatives to traditional institutions of higher education increase, I’m quite sure that we’ll see that happen more and more.

While I think that training faculty members about effective teaching practices is highly beneficial, I also think that TEAM-BASED content creation and delivery will deliver the best learning experiences that we can provide. I say this because multiple disciplines and specialists are involved, such as:

  • Subject Matter Experts (i.e., faculty members)
  • Instructional Designers
  • Graphic Designers
  • Web Designers
  • Learning Scientists; Cognitive Learning Researchers
  • Audio/Video Specialists  and Learning Space Designers/Architects
  • CMS/LMS Administrators
  • Programmers
  • Multimedia Artists who are skilled in working with digital audio and digital video
  • Accessibility Specialists
  • Librarians
  • Illustrators and Animators
  • and more

The point here is that one person can’t do it all — especially now that the expectation is that courses should be offered in a hybrid format or in an online-based format. For a solid example of the power of team-based content creation/delivery, see this posting.

One last thought/question here though. Once a professor is teaching, are they open to working with and learning from the Instructional Designers, Learning Scientists, and/or others from the Teaching & Learning Centers that do exist on their campus? Or do they, like many faculty members, think that such people are irrelevant because they aren’t faculty members themselves? Oftentimes, faculty members look to each other and don’t really care what support is offered (unless they need help with some of the technology.)


Also relevant/see:


 

eLearning Trailblazers: Learning Science Extraordinaires — from elearningindustry.com by Christopher Pappas

Excerpt:

Summary: This Trailblazers List features thought leaders who help us to dive into the cognitive processes and behaviors that shape learning science.

Learning Science Thought Leaders Who Share Their Expertise
Exploring the inner workings of the mind gives us the opportunity to design learning experiences that leave a lasting impression. Thankfully, there are some in our field who are ready and willing to research what motivates and inspires learners, as well as how to improve knowledge retention through the power of science. In no particular order, here are the top learning science experts who share their insights with the eLearning community.

From DSC:
Thanks Christopher for this great list! I would also add Pooja K. Agarwal, Ph.D. from retrievalpractice.org — and I’m sure there are several others that could be listed here as well. But as Christopher mentions, these are the folks who are intentional about sharing their insights.

 

Learning by Scientific Design podcast, Ep. 4: Empowering educators & elevating the teaching profession — from by Deans for Impact

Description of podcast:
Learning by Scientific Design is a podcast series by Deans for Impact that explores how an understanding of cognitive science, or the science of how students learn, can lead to more rigorous, equitable and inclusive teaching.

How can the growing adoption of learning science in teacher preparation contribute to systemic change in U.S. education? In this episode, you’ll hear from:

  • Louise Vose, Adjunct Professor, School of Education, Endicott College
  • Peter Fishman, Vice President of Strategy, Deans for Impact
  • Leah Brown, Assistant Professor, School of Education, University of Alaska Fairbanks

From DSC:
This podcast reminds me of the graphic (below) that I created not too long ago…

We need to take more of the research from learning science and apply it in our learning spaces.

.


Also see:

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10 Arguments for Inciting Learning — from insidehighered.com by Cathy N. Davidson and Christina Katopodis
Active learning has been clearly shown to be more effective than traditional modes, write Cathy N. Davidson and Christina Katopodis, who outline its many merits to those who continue to resist it.

Excerpts:

So what can we do to convince more instructors to actually support and use active learning? Over the past several years, we’ve been researching and interviewing faculty members around the world for our upcoming book on teaching and learning, The New College Classroom. And a number of those faculty have asked us how they can best explain the merits of active learning to colleagues and administrators—and even to students and their parents— who continue to be resistant to it. Here are 10 principles, or convincing arguments, that we’ve shared with them.

“Nothing will change until faculty incentives do.
Until we change our academic reward structures for hiring and promotion, faculty members have no reason to take valuable time out from writing monographs or refereed papers to rethink their role in the classroom. We cannot incite students to learn without inciting—and incentivizing—their instructors first so they will invest in understanding and applying active learning. We’ve already made the case for why such an educational approach is vitally important, so we now say simply to top administrators: let’s do it!

Audre Lorde

 
 

12 Learning Myths Exposed — from ivypanda.com by IvyPanda; with thanks to Irene Fenswick for this resource

Excerpt:

Many people come to us searching for the answer to the question, “What’s the right way to learn?” First of all, we want to clarify: there is no right or wrong way to study. Still, we can list quite a few misconceptions regarding how the human brain works and what methods can help you memorize material. These are so widespread that it takes time and effort to recognize how unjustified and misguided they are.

That’s exactly how this article will help you.

On this page, we’ve busted all the myths surrounding your learning abilities. Our team has collected all the popular misconceptions about studying and explored why they are inaccurate. Besides, we’ve provided some practical (and time-tested) study tips for you to try out.

 

From DSC:
Below are several observations re: our learning ecosystems — and some ideas on how we can continue to improve them.


It takes years to build up the knowledge and skills in order to be a solid teacher, faculty member, instructional designer, and/or trainer. It takes a lot of studying to effectively research how the brain works and how we learn. Then we retire…and the knowledge is often lost or not passed along. And the wheel gets reinvented all over again. And again. And again.

Along these lines — and though we’re making progress in this area — too often we separate the research from the practical application of that research. So we have folks working primarily in learning science, neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and related fields. But their research doesn’t always get practically applied within our learning spaces. We have researchers…and then we have practitioners. So I greatly appreciate the likes of Pooja Agarwal and Patrice Bain out at RetrievalPractice.org, Daniel Willingham, Eva Keiffenheim, The Learning Scientists, James Lang, and several others who bridge this gap.

We need to take more of the research from learning science and apply it in our learning spaces.

Perhaps more researchers, faculty members, teachers, trainers, instructional designers, principals, provosts, etc. could blog or be active out on social media.

***

Along these lines, we need to spend more time helping people know how best to study and to learn.
If that type of thing is ever to be learned, it seems like it’s often learned or discussed in the mid- to later years of one’s life…often after one’s primary and secondary days are long gone.

Instead, we should consider putting these easy-to-understand posters from the Learning Scientists in every K-12 school, college, and university in the nation — or something like them.

***

To provide the most effective engaging learning experiences, we should consider using more team-based approaches. As appropriate, that could include the students themselves.

***

We put way too much emphasis on grades — which produces gameplayers who seek only to do the minimum amount of work necessary to get the A’s.  Doing so creates systems whereby learning is not the goal — getting a 4.0+ is.

***
As we are now required to be lifelong learners, our quality of life as a whole goes waaaay up if we actually enjoy learning.  Many people discover later in life that they like to learn…they just didn’t like school. Perhaps we could place greater emphasis within K-16 on whether students enjoyed their learning experiences or not. And if not, what might have made that topic more enjoyable to them? Or what other topics would they like to dive into (that weren’t’ on the original learning menu)?

This could also apply in the corporate training/L&D space as well. Such efforts could go a long way in helping establish stronger learning cultures.

***

We don’t provide enough choice to our students. We need to do a better job of turning over more control to them in their learning journey. We turn students off to learning because we try to cram information that they don’t care about down their throats. So then we have to use the currency of grades to force them into doing the work that they could care less about doing. Their experience with learning/school can easily get soured.

Learners need: More voice. More choice. More control. -- this image was created by Daniel Christian

We need to be more responsive with our curricula. And we need to explain how the information we’re trying to relay is relevant in the real world and will be relevant in their futures.

***

So those are some ideas that I wanted to relay. Thanks for your time and for your shared interests here!

 
 

How to Learn about Learning Science — from christytuckerlearning.com by Christy Tucker
How do you learn about learning science? Recommendations for people to follow, books to read, and other resources.

Excerpt:

I have written before about how research informs my work. As instructional designers, LXDs, and other L&D professionals, I think it’s important for us to learn how to design more effective learning experiences. Our work should be informed by research and evidence. But, how do you learn about learning science, especially if you don’t have a graduate degree in instructional design? These are my recommendations for people to follow, books to read, and other resources.

 

 

The DNA of a strong learning culture — from chieflearningofficer.com by Stella Collins
How is the learning culture where you work now? What’s stayed the same? What’s changed?

Excerpt:

In this article, I will explore real stories through the lens of the DNA for an effective learning culture and discover practical examples you can apply in your own organization.

They recognized every single person in the business needs to learn, from the CEO to the most junior recruit. Everyone is a learner when “the times they are a-changin’.”

When people talk about changed behaviors, upskilling or knowledge acquisition, what they really mean, at a fundamental level, are changes to the structure, chemistry and function of our brain. These become our perceptions, memories, behaviors, habits and skills. When you don’t know any of the science, your training interventions are more likely to be hit and miss. Your training can become much more effective and armed with some proven tools to drive attention, build memories and create new habits.

 

CLASSROOM AND AT-HOME ACCOMMODATIONS FOR DYSLEXIA — from thetechedvocate.org by Matthew Lynch

Excerpt:

For most kids of school age, recognizing letters and learning to pronounce them comes as easy as possible. However, for children living with Dyslexia, it is typically an uphill task to achieve. Dyslexia is a reading disorder that impedes a child’s early academic development by significantly decreasing the ability to process graphic symbols, especially where it concerns language. Such children may struggle with language development before school age and experience difficulties learning to spell when they eventually enroll in school. Some symptoms commonly exhibited by dyslexic children include reversed letter and word sequences, weak literacy skills, and poor handwriting.

In all these, the good news for parents and educators with dyslexic children in their care is that with early diagnosis and suitable accommodations, they can learn to read like the other children.

CLASSROOM AND AT-HOME ACCOMMODATIONS FOR DYSCALCULIA — from thetechedvocate.org by Matthew Lynch

Excerpt:

If you have a child struggling with basic math skills and you’ve done everything else to resolve the situation yet it persists, the child might be suffering from Dyscalculia. Dyscalculia is a learning disorder typified by an inability to grasp basic math skills. The peculiar thing about this learning disorder is how it seems only to concern itself with foundational math skills. Lots of people living with this disorder will go on to learn advanced mathematical principles and concepts without any problems. Although manifestations of Dyscalculia will differ from person to person, another symptom commonly associated with the disorder is visual-spatial struggles or difficulty in processing what they hear.

It does not matter whether you are a parent or a teacher; if you are looking for the right accommodations needed to aid students with Dyscalculia, you have come to the right post. These are some steps you can take both in the classroom and at home to ease learning for students with Dyscalculia.

CLASSROOM AND AT-HOME ACCOMMODATIONS FOR DYSNOMIA — from thetechedvocate.org by Matthew Lynch

Excerpt:

When kids struggle with recalling words, numbers, names, etc., off the top of their heads without recourse to a visual or verbal hint, they might likely be suffering from Dysnomia. Dysnomia is a learning disability marked by an inability to recollect essential aspects of the oral or written language.

CLASSROOM AND AT-HOME ACCOMMODATIONS FOR DYSGRAPHIA — from thetechedvocate.org by Matthew Lynch

Excerpt:

Like most learning disabilities, Dysgraphia makes learning difficult for students. In this case, this learning disorder is peculiar to handwriting and motor skills proficiency. Students living with Dysgraphia can suffer from problems ranging from forming letters accordingly, transferring their thoughts onto paper, tying their shoelaces, and zipping a jack. It is pretty standard that Dysgraphia sufferers compensate for their struggles with handwriting by developing remarkable verbal skills. However, this disorder is prone to misdiagnosis. It is due to a lack of sufficient research on the subject.

As a parent or an educator, if you have students who live with Dysgraphia, this post will show you which accommodations you need to put in place to help them learn correctly.


Also relevant/see:

EARLY INTERVENTION: A GUIDE — from thetechedvocate.org by Matthew Lynch

Excerpt:

Educators must effectively identify a student who needs early intervention, whether for autism, learning disorders, or even reading difficulties. The more serious the issue, the more essential early action becomes.


 
 

The Science of Learning: Research Meets Practice — from the-learning-agency-lab.com by Alisa Cook and Ulrich Boser; with thanks to Learning Now TV for this resource
Six Research-Based Teaching Practices Are Put Into Practice

Excerpt:

For the nation’s education system, though, the bigger question is: How do we best educate our children so that they learn better, and learn how to learn, in addition to learning what to learn? Additionally, and arguably just as challenging, is: How do we translate this body of research into classroom practice effectively?

Enter the “Science of Learning: Research Meets Practice.” The goal of the project is to get the science of learning into the hands of teaching professionals as well as to parents, school leaders, and students.

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian