Archive of ‘learning styles’ category
How Can We Amplify Student Learning? The ANSWER from Cognitive Psychology
By: Kevin Yee, PhD, and Diane E. Boyd, PhD JUNE 18TH, 2018
We know now from rigorous testing in cognitive psychology that learning styles are really learning preferences that do not correlate with achievement (An et al., 2017).
An, Donggun, and Martha Carr. “Learning styles theory fails to explain learning and achievement: Recommendations for alternative approaches.” Personality and Individual Differences 116 (2017): 410-416.
To assist time-strapped instructional faculty and staff, we offer a consolidated summary of key cognitive science principles, in the form of an easy-to-remember acronym: ANSWER.
Attention: Learning requires memory, and memory requires focused attention. Multitasking is a myth, and even the more scientifically-accurate term “task-switching” yields errors compared to focused attention. The brain is quite adept at filtering out dozens of simultaneous stimuli, as it does every second of wakefulness. Attention is a required ingredient for learning. This has ramifications for syllabus policies on the use of electronic devices for note-taking, which have been shown to be irresistible and therefore lead to distraction and lower scores (Ravizza, Uitvlugt, and Fenn). Even when students are not distracted, laptops are used primarily for dictation, which does little for long-term memory; writing by hand does more to stimulate attention and build neural networks than typing (Mueller and Oppenheimer).
Novelty: variety into lesson plans, activities, and opportunities for practice, instructors amplify potential learning for their students. Further, the use of metaphors in teaching enhances transfer, hemispheric integration, and retention, so using picture prompts and images can further solidify student learning (Sousa).
Spacing: Sometimes called “distributed practice,”the spacing effect refers to the jump in performance when students study a subject and then practice with gaps of time, ideally over one or more nights (sleep helps with memory consolidation), as compared to studying all at once, as if cramming the night before a test. Cramming, or massed practice, is successful for temporary test performance, since information is loaded into working memory. But the practices that work well for short-term memory do not work well for long-term memory. The spacing effect is particularly effective when combined with interleaving, the intentional practice of mixing in older learning tasks/skills with the new ones (Roedeiger, et al.). An ideal example of this would be regular quizzes in the semester that are cumulative (think “tiny final exams”).
Why: Memory is associative; when new memories are formed, neurons wire together (and later fire together), so the context can lead to the information, and vice versa. A teaching strategy of comprised of questions to guide lesson plans (perhaps even beginning with mystery) can pique student interest and learning potential. If you use PowerPoint, Haiku Deck, or Prezi, do your slides consist primarily of answers or questions?
Emotions: Short-term memories are stored in the hippocampus, a portion of the brain associated with emotions; the same area where we consolidate short-term into long-term memories overnight.
As instructors, we create the conditions in which students will motivate themselves (Ryan & Deci, 2000) by infusing our interactions with the positive emptions of curiosity, discovery, and fun. Simple gamification (quizzes with immediate feedback, for instance) can help.
Repetition: The creation of a new memory really means the formation of synapses across neurons and new neural pathways. These pathways and bridges degrade over time unless the synapse fires again. Consider the days before smartphones, when the way to remember a phone number was to repeat it several times mentally. Repetition, in all its forms, enables more effective recall later. This is why quizzing, practice testing, flashcards, and instructor-driven questioning and challenges are so effective.
more on learning styles in this IMS blog
more on multitasking in this blog
for and against the use of technology in the classroom
on spaced learning in this blog
Purpose Games is a free service for creating and or playing simple educational games. The service currently gives users the ability to create seven types of games. Those game types are image quizzes, text quizzes, matching games, fill-in-the-blank games, multiple choice games, shape games, and slide games.
more on games in education in this IMS blog
How AR and VR are Being Used to Teach SEL
SEL social emotional learning
In his book, “Experience on Demand,” Jeremy Bailenson, the founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, writes, “No medium, of course can fully capture the subjective experience of another person, but by richly evoking a real-seeming, first-person experience, virtual reality does seem to promise to offer new, empathy-enhancing qualities.” Bailenson contrasts experiencing virtual reality with reading news accounts and watching documentaries. Those latter activities, he writes, require “a lot of imaginative work,” whereas virtual reality can “convey the feeling” of, say, a refugee camp’s environment, and the “smallness of the living quarters, the size of the camp.”
Caldwell—who used Google Expeditions to deliver a virtual reality experience set in the Holocaust—says that when his students first put on the goggles, they viewed them as a novelty. But within a minute or two, the students became quiet, absorbed in what they were seeing; they realized the “reality of the horror of what was in front of them.” Questions ensued.
Ron Berger, the Chief Academic Officer of EL Education, points to another factor schools should consider. He thinks virtual reality can be a powerful way to introduce kids to situations that require empathy or adopting different perspectives. However, he thinks no one tool or experience will bring results unless it is “nested in a broader framework of a vision and goals and relationships.”
Berger says virtual reality experiences have to be accompanied by work beforehand and follow-up afterwards. Kids, he says, need to be reflective and think critically.
immersion experiences like virtual reality should be “embedded in positive” adult and peer relationships. He adds that ideally, there’s also a resulting action where kids do something productive with the information they’ve learned, to help their own growth and to help others. He mentions an example where students interviewed local immigrants and refugees, then wrote the stories they heard. They published the stories in a book, and the profits went to legal fees for local refugees.
saving virtual reality for “very special experiences,” keeping it “relatively short” and not getting students dizzy or disoriented. A report Bailenson co-authored for Common Sense Media highlights the research that has—and has not—explored the effects of virtual reality on children. It states that the “potentially negative outcomes of VR include impacts on children’s sensory systems and vision, aggression, and unhealthy amounts of escapism and distraction from the physical world.”
The Brain Science Is In: Students’ Emotional Needs Matter
What the neuro-, cognitive, and behavioral research says about social-emotional learning
Teachers, like parents, have always understood that children’s learning and growth do not occur in a vacuum, but instead at the messy intersection of academic, social, and emotional development.
four specific insights:
• Malleability: Genes are not destiny. Our developing brains are largely shaped by our environments and relationships—a process that continues into adulthood.
• Context: Family, relationships, and lived experiences shape the physiological structure of our brains over time. Healthy amounts of challenge and adversity promote growth, but toxic stress takes a toll on the connections between the hemispheres of our brain.
• Continuum: While we’ve become familiar with the exponential development of the brain for young children, it continues throughout life. The explosion of brain growth into adolescence and early adulthood, in particular, requires putting serious work into much more intentional approaches to supporting that development than is common today.
more on VR and empathy in this IMS blog
more on SEL social emotional learning
Why Teachers Say Practicing Mindfulness Is Transforming The Work
Christa Turksma, is one of the co-founders of Cultivating Awareness and Resilience for Educators, or CARE for Teachers.
In the last few years, teacher job satisfaction has reportedly plummeted to a 25-year low, and turnover is high — almost 50 percent for new teachers.
In a soon-to-be published study, Jennings and her co-authors provided an extended version of CARE training to 224 teachers in high-poverty schools in New York City, with several two-day sessions spaced over the course of a year.
CARE TECHNIQUES TO TRY IN THE CLASSROOM
Mindfulness for students and teachers
1. Calmer Transitions
2. Take 5
3. Quiet Corner Or Peace Corner
4. Mindful Walking And Centering
Bibliography on virtual reality and students with physical and cognitive disabilities
Jeffs, T. L. (2009). Virtual Reality and Special Needs. Themes In Science And Technology Education, 2(1-2), 253-268.
Lahav, O., Sharkey, P., & Merrick, J. (2014). Virtual and augmented reality environments for people with special needs. International Journal Of Child Health And Human Development, 7(4), 337-338.
Cai, Y., Chiew, R., Nay, Z. T., Indhumathi, C., & Huang, L. (2017). Design and development of VR learning environments for children with ASD. Interactive Learning Environments, 25(8), 1098-1109. doi:10.1080/10494820.2017.1282877
Passig, D. (2011). The Impact of Immersive Virtual Reality on Educators’ Awareness of the Cognitive Experiences of Pupils with Dyslexia. Teachers College Record, 113(1), 181-204.
Ke, F., & Im, T. (2013). Virtual-Reality-Based Social Interaction Training for Children with High-Functioning Autism. Journal Of Educational Research, 106(6), 441-461. doi:10.1080/00220671.2013.832999
Collins, J., Hoermann, S., & Regenbrecht, H. (2016). Comparing a finger dexterity assessment in virtual, video-mediated, and unmediated reality. International Journal Of Child Health And Human Development, 9(3), 333-341.
Epure, P., Gheorghe, C., Nissen, T., Toader, L. O., Macovei, A. N., Nielsen, S. M., & … Brooks, E. P. (2016). Effect of the Oculus Rift head mounted display on postural stability. International Journal Of Child Health And Human Development, 9(3), 343-350.
Sánchez, J., & Espinoza, M. (2016). Usability and redesign of a university entrance test based on audio for learners who are blind. International Journal Of Child Health And Human Development, 9(3), 379-387.
Rizzo, A. A., Bowerly, T., Shahabi, C., Buckwalter, J. G., Klimchuk, D., & Mitura, R. (2004). Diagnosing Attention Disorders in a Virtual Classroom. Computer (00189162), 37(6), 87-89.
Eden, S. (2008). The effect of 3D virtual reality on sequential time perception among deaf and hard-of-hearing children. European Journal Of Special Needs Education, 23(4), 349-363. doi:10.1080/08856250802387315
Eden, S., & Bezer, M. (2011). Three-dimensions vs. two-dimensions intervention programs: the effect on the mediation level and behavioural aspects of children with intellectual disability. European Journal Of Special Needs Education, 26(3), 337-353. doi:10.1080/08856257.2011.593827
Lorenzo, G., Lledó, A., Roig, R., Lorenzo, A., & Pomares, J. (2016). New Educational Challenges and Innovations: Students with Disability in Immersive Learning Environments. In Virtual Learning. InTech. https://doi.org/10.5772/65219
more on virtual reality in this IMS blog
Unlocking the Promise of Digital Assessment
By Stacey Newbern Dammann, EdD, and Josh DeSantis October 30, 2017
The proliferation of mobile devices and the adoption of learning applications in higher education simplifies formative assessment. Professors can, for example, quickly create a multi-modal performance that requires students to write, draw, read, and watch video within the same assessment. Other tools allow for automatic grade responses, question-embedded documents, and video-based discussion.
- Multi-Modal Assessments – create multiple-choice and open-ended items that are distributed digitally and assessed automatically. Student responses can be viewed instantaneously and downloaded to a spreadsheet for later use.
- (socrative.com) and
- Poll Everywhere (http://www.pollev.com).
- Formative (http://www.goformative.com) allows professors to upload charts or graphic organizers that students can draw on with a stylus. Formative also allows professors to upload document “worksheets” which can then be augmented with multiple-choice and open-ended questions.
- Nearpod (http://www.nearpod.com) allows professors to upload their digital presentations and create digital quizzes to accompany them. Nearpod also allows professors to share three-dimensional field trips and models to help communicate ideas.
- Video-Based Assessments – Question-embedded videos are an outstanding way to improve student engagement in blended or flipped instructional contexts. Using these tools allows professors to identify if the videos they use or create are being viewed by students.
- EdPuzzle (edpuzzle.com) and
- Playposit (http://www.playposit.com) are two leaders in this application category. A second type of video-based assessment allows professors to sustain discussion-board like conversation with brief videos.
- Flipgrid (http://www.flipgrid.com), for example, allows professors to posit a video question to which students may respond with their own video responses.
- Quizzing Assessments – ools that utilize close-ended questions that provide a quick check of student understanding are also available.
Integration of technology is aligned to sound formative assessment design. Formative assessment is most valuable when it addresses student understanding, progress toward competencies or standards, and indicates concepts that need further attention for mastery. Additionally, formative assessment provides the instructor with valuable information on gaps in their students’ learning which can imply instructional changes or additional coverage of key concepts. The use of tech tools can make the creation, administration, and grading of formative assessment more efficient and can enhance reliability of assessments when used consistently in the classroom. Selecting one that effectively addresses your assessment needs and enhances your teaching style is critical.
more on digital assessment in this IMS blog
Cognitive load theory: Research that teachers really need to understand
AUGUST 2017 Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation
Cognitive load theory is built upon two commonly accepted ideas. The first is that there is a limit to how much new information the human brain can process at one time. The second is that there are no known limits to how much stored information can be processed at one time. The aim of cognitive load research is therefore to develop instructional techniques and recommendations that fit within the characteristics of working memory, in order to maximise learning.
Explicit instruction involves teachers clearly showing students what to do and how to do it, rather than having students discover or construct information for themselves
how working memory and long-term memory process and store information
Working memory is the memory system where small amounts of information are stored for a very short duration (RAM). Long-term memory is the memory system where large amounts of information are stored semi-permanently (hard drive)
Cognitive load theory assumes that knowledge is stored in long- term memory in the form of ‘schemas’ 2 . A schema organises elements of information according to how they will be used. According to schema theory, skilled performance is developed through building ever greater numbers of increasingly complex schemas by combining elements of lower level schemas into higher level schemas. There is no limit to how complex schemas can become. An important process in schema construction is automation, whereby information can be processed automatically with minimal conscious effort. Automaticity occurs after extensive practice
Schemas provide a number of important functions that are relevant to learning. First, they provide a system for organising and storing knowledge. Second, and crucially for cognitive load theory, they reduce working memory load. This is because, although there are a limited number of elements that can be held in working memory at one time, a schema constitutes only a single element in working memory. In this way, a high level schema – with potentially infinite informational complexity – can effectively bypass the limits of working memory
Types of cognitive load
Cognitive load theory identifies three different types of cognitive load: intrinsic, extraneous and germane load
Intrinsic cognitive load
relates to the inherent difficulty of the subject matter being learnt.
subject matter that is difficult for a novice may be very easy for an expert.
Extraneous cognitive load relates to how the subject matter is taught.
extraneous load is the ‘bad’ type of cognitive load, because it does not directly contribute to learning. Cognitive load theorists consider that instructional design will be most effective when it minimises extraneous load in order to free up the capacity of working memory
Germane cognitive load refers to the load imposed on the working memory by the process of learning – that is, the process of transferring information into the long-term memory through schema construction
the approach of decreasing extraneous cognitive load while increasing germane cognitive load will only be effective if the total cognitive load remains within the limits of working memory
more on educational theories in this IMS blog
The future of collaboration: Large-scale visualization
Henry Hwangbo http://usblogs.pwc.com/emerging-technology/the-future-of-collaboration-large-scale-visualization/
More data doesn’t automatically lead to better decisions. A shortage of skilled data scientists has hindered progress towards translation of information into actionable business insights. In addition, traditionally dense spreadsheets and linear slideshows are ineffective to present discoveries when dealing with Big Data’s dynamic nature. We need to evolve how we capture, analyze and communicate data.
Large-scale visualization platforms have several advantages over traditional presentation methods. They blur the line between the presenter and audience to increase the level of interactivity and collaboration. They also offer simultaneous views of both macro and micro perspectives, multi-user collaboration and real-time data interaction, and a limitless number of visualization possibilities – critical capabilities for rapidly understanding today’s large data sets.
Visualization walls enable presenters to target people’s preferred learning methods, thus creating a more effective communication tool. The human brain has an amazing ability to quickly glean insights from patterns – and great visualizations make for more efficient storytellers.
Grant: Visualizing Digital Scholarship in Libraries and Learning Spaces
Award amount: $40,000
Funder: Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Lead institution: North Carolina State University Libraries
Due date: 13 August 2017
Notification date: 15 September 2017
NC State University, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, invites proposals from institutions interested in participating in a new project for Visualizing Digital Scholarship in Libraries and Learning Spaces. The grant aims to 1) build a community of practice of scholars and librarians who work in large-scale multimedia to help visually immersive scholarly work enter the research lifecycle; and 2) overcome technical and resource barriers that limit the number of scholars and libraries who may produce digital scholarship for visualization environments and the impact of generated knowledge. Libraries and museums have made significant strides in pioneering the use of large-scale visualization technologies for research and learning. However, the utilization, scale, and impact of visualization environments and the scholarship created within them have not reached their fullest potential. A logical next step in the provision of technology-rich, visual academic spaces is to develop best practices and collaborative frameworks that can benefit individual institutions by building economies of scale among collaborators.
The project contains four major elements:
- An initial meeting and priority setting workshop that brings together librarians, scholars, and technologists working in large-scale, library and museum-based visualization environments.
- Scholars-in-residence at NC State over a multi-year period who pursue open source creative projects, working in collaboration with our librarians and faculty, with the potential to address the articulated limitations.
- Funding for modest, competitive block grants to other institutions working on similar challenges for creating, disseminating, validating, and preserving digital scholarship created in and for large-scale visual environments.
- A culminating symposium that brings together representatives from the scholars-in-residence and block grant recipient institutions to share and assess results, organize ways of preserving and disseminating digital products produced, and build on the methods, templates, and tools developed for future projects.
This call solicits proposals for block grants from library or museum systems that have visualization installations. Block grant recipients can utilize funds for ideas ranging from creating open source scholarly content for visualization environments to developing tools and templates to enhance sharing of visualization work. An advisory panel will select four institutions to receive awards of up to $40,000. Block grant recipients will also participate in the initial priority setting workshop and the culminating symposium. Participating in a block grant proposal does not disqualify an individual from later applying for one of the grant-supported scholar-in-residence appointments.
Applicants will provide a statement of work that describes the contributions that their organization will make toward the goals of the grant. Applicants will also provide a budget and budget justification.
Activities that can be funded through block grants include, but are not limited to:
- Commissioning work by a visualization expert
- Hosting a visiting scholar, artist, or technologist residency
- Software development or adaptation
- Development of templates and methodologies for sharing and scaling content utilizing open source software
- Student or staff labor for content or software development or adaptation
- Curricula and reusable learning objects for digital scholarship and visualization courses
- Travel (if necessary) to the initial project meeting and culminating workshop
- User research on universal design for visualization spaces
Funding for operational expenditures, such as equipment, is not allowed for any grant participant.
Send an application to firstname.lastname@example.org by the end of the day on 13 August 2017 that includes the following:
- Statement of work (no more than 1000 words) of the project idea your organization plans to develop, its relationship to the overall goals of the grant, and the challenges to be addressed.
- List the names and contact information for each of the participants in the funded project, including a brief description of their current role, background, expertise, interests, and what they can contribute.
- Project timeline.
- Budget table with projected expenditures.
- Budget narrative detailing the proposed expenditures
Selection and Notification Process
An advisory panel made up of scholars, librarians, and technologists with experience and expertise in large-scale visualization and/or visual scholarship will review and rank proposals. The project leaders are especially keen to receive proposals that develop best practices and collaborative frameworks that can benefit individual institutions by building a community of practice and economies of scale among collaborators.
Awardees will be selected based on:
- the ability of their proposal to successfully address one or both of the identified problems;
- the creativity of the proposed activities;
- relevant demonstrated experience partnering with scholars or students on visualization projects;
- whether the proposal is extensible;
- feasibility of the work within the proposed time-frame and budget;
- whether the project work improves or expands access to large-scale visual environments for users; and
- the participant’s ability to expand content development and sharing among the network of institutions with large-scale visual environments.
Awardees will be required to send a representative to an initial meeting of the project cohort in Fall 2017.
Awardees will be notified by 15 September 2017.
If you have any questions, please contact email@example.com.
–Mike Nutt Director of Visualization Services Digital Library Initiatives, NCSU Libraries
Teaching Critical Thinking: Some Practical Points
By: Linda B. Nilson, PhD
Critical thinking scholars also agree that questions are central to students acquiring critical thinking skills. We must ask students challenging, open-ended questions that demand genuine inquiry, analysis, or assessment—questions like these:
- What is your interpretation/analysis of this passage/data/argument?
- What are your reasons for favoring that interpretation/analysis? What is your evidence?
- How well does your interpretation/analysis handle the complexities of the passage/data/argument?
- What is another interpretation/analysis of the passage/data/argument? Any others?
- What are the implications of each interpretation/analysis?
- Let’s look at all the interpretations/analyses and evaluate them. How strong is the evidence for each one?
- How honestly and impartially are you representing the other interpretations/analyses? Do you have a vested interest in one interpretation/analysis over another?
- What additional information would help us to narrow down our interpretations/analyses?
Some teaching methods naturally promote inquiry, analysis, and assessment, and all of them are student-active (Abrami et al., 2008). Class discussion may be the strongest, and it includes the debriefings of complex cases, simulations, and role plays. However, debates, structured controversy, targeted journaling, inquiry-guided labs, and POGIL-type worksheets (https://pogil.org/) are also effective.
more on critical thinking in this IMS blog
Chinese, Americans Truly See Differently, Study Says
Richard Nisbett, a psychologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Westerners and Easterners see the world differently