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!

 
 

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.

 

From DSC:
How can we better get the word out to our learners regarding how they can maximize their Return On Investment (ROI) from their studying time and efforts?

Two ideas come to mind here:

  1. Place learning-related tips directly into our banners within our CMS’s and LMS’s
    and/or
  2. Link our banners to some other web pages/resources that provide such best practices and tips for our learners 

Let's put best practices on studying directly within our LMSs banners!

Or we could link to resources regarding best practices in studying!

Along these lines, we should have 11″x17″ (or larger) posters like this plastered in every hallway of every learning space out there:

We should plaster these types of posters throughout our learning spaces!!!

 

Some would also add:

  • Active learning
  • Flipping the classroom
  • Providing individualized feedback
  • Metacognition (which was referenced in the first graphic above in regards to identifying gaps in one’s knowledge)
 
 

Talking About Forgetting with Students — from theeffortfuleducator.com by Blake Harvard

Excerpt:

Over the course of 24 hours, students are going to forget a lot of what we cover in class. So, when they show up to class and I provide a review, I shouldn’t expect them to necessarily do too well. The students’ mindset should not be ‘I should be getting all of this correct’, but ‘let me see what I remember and what I don’t so I better know what to review later’. But that’s not the mentality we approach most assessment opportunities with…they’re seen more as a ‘gotcha’ for students or, at least, students believe they’re supposed to remember all of this because it’s on the review.

We need to work to change this mindset. Let the students in on the ‘secret’ of memory and forgetting. Tell them forgetting is normal and expected. And the reason we’re doing these formative assessments is to simply indicate what you do remember and what you’ve forgotten so future studying can be more efficient and effective.

Also see:

 
 

Why Professors Should Ask Students For Feedback Long Before the Semester Is Over — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig
This article is part of the guide Better, Faster, Stronger: How Learning Engineering Aims to Transform Education.

Excerpt:

About a month into each semester, Gayle Golden sets aside a little time to ask her students about their learning.

The journalism instructor at the University of Minnesota keeps the process simple, with brief questions similar to these:

  • What should keep happening in this class?
  • What should we start doing in this class?
  • What should we stop doing in this class?

Golden collects the results, which students give anonymously, then studies the feedback and makes a list of all the information she’s received. During the next class period, she discusses the findings with her students. She tells them which suggestions she plans to put into practice, which recommendations she can’t act on, and why.

From DSC:
Speaking of feedback…

I think it would be good to have our students journal about their learning — integrating their notes, readings, experiments, lectures, etc. Students could check in on these 3 questions for example.

And in the (potentially) digital process, they could also submit a form to their faculty member to answer the question:

  • What do I want my professor to know about my learning experience today?

Such a question could be electronically delivered to the professor on any given day. This type of feedback loop would provide real-time, formative feedback to the professor as well as help the students develop their metacognitive skills.

I would think that such a process could also be used within the K-12 realm, including homeschoolers.


Also from edsurge.com, see:


 

 

Learn How To Study Using… Dual Coding — from learningscientists.org by Megan Smith & Yana Weinstein

Excerpt:

This is the final post in a series of six posts designed to help students learn how to study effectively. You can find the other five here:

What is dual coding?

Dual coding is the process of combining verbal materials with visual materials. There are many ways to visually represent material, such as with infographics, timelines, cartoon strips, diagrams, and graphic organizers.

When you have the same information in two formats – words and visuals – it gives you two ways of remembering the information later on. Combining these visuals with words is an effective way to study.

Now, look at only the visuals and explain what they mean in your own words. Then, take the words from your class materials and draw your own visuals to go along with them! 

Now, look at only the visuals and explain what they mean in your own words. Then, take the words from your class materials and draw your own visuals to go along with them!

From DSC:
As the authors comment, this is NOT about learning styles (as research doesn’t back up the hypothesis of learning styles): 

When we discuss verbal and visual materials, it does sound like we could be referring to learning styles. However, it is important to remember that a great deal of research has shown that assessing your learning style and then matching your study to that “style” is not useful, and does not improve learning (2). (For more, read this piece.)

 

Rebooting the final exam — from roberttalbert.medium.com by Robert Talbert

Excerpts: 

It’s probably better not to give final exams at all, but if you must, then here are some alternative approaches that do more to help students.

Here are some ideas for what your students might do on a final exam like this.

  • Create a mind map of the course or a portion of it.  
  • Write a new catalog description for the course.  
  • Write a letter to an incoming high school student who will be taking the course next semester.  
  • Write a short essay about: What are the main ideas of this subject, and how do they all connect together?  
  • Write about their metacognition.  
  • Leave one piece of advice to the next round of students taking this course. 
 

Self-Assessment (emphasis DSC)

Turn each of your learning outcomes or objectives into a question. Then, ask each student to self-score how confident they feel about being able to demonstrate that outcome or task.

Example:
Learning outcome: Students will be able to compare bacteria vs. viruses.

Change it to a question:  How confident are you in comparing bacteria vs. viruses based on today’s lesson?

Now ask students to score their confidence or ability to do this outcome using a simple scale such as:  “1 = I’m not confident that I can do it” to “5 = I am very confident that I can do it.”

 

From DSC:
Below are some great questions and reflections from Mr. Andrew Thorburn:

“I’d like to suggest not only the tools to learn and adapt, but marry that with — and to the learning model of — forgiveness and growth from not getting it right the first time. Perhaps a reflection or question from an instructor, a friend, and/or a mentor asking:

  • What did you expect to gain from engaging this learning?
  • What was the outcome? Was it what you expected?
  • If you were to do it over, what would you do differently, expect, or hope the outcome to be?
  • What would you want yourself to be like?  Why?”

We need to change how we feel about learning and appreciate the process of personal growth. 

 

From DSC:
I was reviewing an edition of Dr. Barbara Honeycutt’s Lecture Breakers Weekly, where she wrote:

After an experiential activity, discussion, reading, or lecture, give students time to write the one idea they took away from the experience. What is their one takeaway? What’s the main idea they learned? What do they remember?

This can be written as a reflective blog post or journal entry, or students might post it on a discussion board so they can share their ideas with their colleagues. Or, they can create an audio clip (podcast), video, or drawing to explain their One Takeaway.

From DSC:
This made me think of tools like VoiceThread — where you can leave a voice/audio message, an audio/video-based message, a text-based entry/response, and/or attach other kinds of graphics and files.

That is, a multimedia-based exit ticket. It seems to me that this could work in online- as well as blended-based learning environments.


Addendum on 2/7/21:

How to Edit Live Photos to Make Videos, GIFs & More! — from jonathanwylie.com


 

Philippians 4:8 — from biblegateway.com

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

 

From DSC:
Many people talk about engagement when they discuss learning, and with good reason. It seems to me that what they are really getting at is the topic of getting and maintaining someone’s *attention.* Attention is the gatekeeper to further learning. I wonder if some of the next generation learning platforms that employ some level of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled features, will look to a learner’s preferences (as stored in their cloud-based learner’s profile) in order to help gain/maintain such attention.

And this also helps explain why allowing more learner agency — i.e., more choice, more control — in pursuing their own interests and passions really helps: A motivated learner is paying closer attention to what’s going on.

 

Attention is the gatekeeper to further learning.

 

 

From DSC:
And along these lines, that’s one of the key reasons I’d like to see more involvement from the Theatre Departments, Computer Science Departments, and from those involved with creative writing across the land — in terms of helping develop content for remote and online-based education. Actors, actresses, set designers, costumer designers, audio/video editors, programmers/software developers, and more who could collaborate on these kinds of ideas.

Last comment on this. I don’t mean that we should present our classes like many advertisements do (i.e., running a thousand images by me within 30 seconds). But changing things up periodically — both visually and audibly —  can help regain/reset your students’ attentions.

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian