Presentation on theme: "Stephen L. Chew Samford University"— Presentation transcript:
1 Stephen L. Chew Samford University firstname.lastname@example.org Making Students More Effective Learners by Challenging their Misconceptions about LearningStephen L. ChewSamford UniversityNew American Colleges & UniversitiesWestminster CollegeJune 22, 2012
2 Goals of the Presentation Discuss the level of college readiness of incoming freshmenDiscuss what students need to know about how people learn and the development of a program to help students become more effective learners based on cognitive principlesCorrect misconceptions about learningProvide a cognitive framework for effective studyDiscuss what faculty should know about how people learn and what they can do to help students learn more effectivelyDiscuss cognitive basis of effective pedagogy
3 Teacher Beliefs about How People Learn Teaching requires a mental model of how people learn.Most teachers cannot articulate their model of learning, but they have one.Determines which teaching methods are selected, how they are implemented and assessed, and how to adjust if there are problems.If the model is accurate, the teacher will be effectiveIf it is flawed or simplistic, the teacher will be less effective
4 Student Beliefs about How People Learn Students also base their study behavior based on their models of how people (specifically themselves) learn.Determines whether or not they go to class, if and how well complete assignments, how they study material, and when material is mastered.The better the model, the better the student learnsIf the model is flawed or simplistic, it will undermine student learning
5 A typical incoming college student… Has graduated from high school with an average GPA of 3.00 (NAEP, 2009)Has probably passed a high school exit or graduation examHas been tested for scholastic achievement or aptitude many timesProbably taken an entrance exam and was admitted to college
6 % of Students Deemed Ready for College by ACT (2011)
7 A typical college freshman is Inadequately prepared for college workUnaware of the fact because it is contrary to their successful high school experienceLikely overconfident in their preparation and abilities for college-level workFew students enter college believing they will struggle
8 As a consequenceMany students will struggle academically in their first year of collegeCulture of access vs. culture of completionOverconfidence may hinder their recognition and willingness to try to make the necessary changesEven when willing to change, they do not know what changes to make (or not make)Some percentage of these students will not succeed in college even though they have the ability to do soA larger percentage will perform poorly as they adjust to college level study
9 The Primary Goal of Teaching EitherTo present information that students are solely responsible for learningIn which case student adjustment to college level work is not the teacher’s problemThe teacher cannot or should not influence learningOrTo develop a sophisticated, useful, and generative level of understanding of various academic topics on the part of the studentsIn which case student adjustment to college level work is the teacher’s problemTeachers share responsibility for student learning
10 How to help students make a successful transition to college RemediationTeach them to adjust through college transition courses, advising, study skills centers, and other resourcesPersonal and social adjustment; study “tips”, and time managementTeach them how to be more effective learners by correcting misconceptions and teaching them cognitive principles of learning
11 Evolution of a Presentation Given many workshops for teachers on how to teach effectively using cognitive research on how people learnIn 2006, I was asked to give a presentation to Samford’s entire freshman class on how to study effectively in college based on cognitive researchFocus on what students need to know about how people learn in order to make them better learners
12 It’s not that simpleStudent expect to be lectured to about how hard college is going to be and how hard they will have to work.Student overconfidence“I’m a college professor and you better study hard because college is tough!”“Look to your left…”“I’m a scary, old guy who will make you work hard for no apparent reason.”Such a lecture would be useless
13 The Challenges Overcome the negative preconceptions “I want you to succeed, and I have information that will help you meet the academic challenge.”Overcome student misconceptions about learning, e.g. mistaken beliefs and “magic bullets”Present cognitive principles and research to help students become more effective learnersMake the presentation engaging, accessible, and memorableDo it in 45 minutes
14 Goals of the Presentation Give students a coherent, research-based framework that would allow them to become effective learners in any situationMore than disconnected study tips, e.g. don’t cram at the last minute; space out learning; serial position; study in same place you will be testedShow them how to apply the framework to their studyMake it obvious to students this was useful information they should care aboutIt is worth the investment of time
15 How to Study Long and Hard and Still Fail… Or How to Get the Most Out of Your Studying Beliefs about Learning that Make You Stupid (common misconceptions)Metacognition and its consequencesSo how accurate are your beliefs about how people learn? (A quiz)A demonstration of Levels of ProcessingOperationalizing Levels of ProcessingApplying Levels to studying, note taking, and highlighting and reading
16 Giving the Presentation (about 5 weeks into Fall Semester)
17 Beliefs about Learning that Make You Stupid Learning is fastBeing good at a subject is a matter of inborn talent rather than hard work,Knowledge is composed of isolated factsI’m really good at multi-tasking, especially during class or studying
18 MetacognitionA student’s awareness of his or her level of understanding of a topicMetacognition distinguishes between stronger and weaker studentsOne of the major tasks for a freshman is developing good metacognitionIn high school, students spent years developing a metacognitive sense that is likely inadequate or even counterproductive for college.
19 Relationship between Estimated and Actual Grades: Psyc 101
20 The irony of poor metacognition Students who have the poorest metacognition have no clue how weak their understanding of a concept is.Part of being incompetent is not understanding just how incompetent you are.So the students who most need to listen closely to this talk, are the ones who don’t believe they need to.
21 So how accurate are your beliefs about how people learn?
22 Which of the following is the MOST important ingredient for successful learning? The intention and desire to learnPaying close attention to the material as you studyLearning in a way that matches your personal Learning Style?The time you spend studyingWhat you think about while studying
23 Read the instructions for the demonstration to yourselves and do your best to follow them.
24 Levels of ProcessingShallow processing focuses on spelling, appearance and sound.Rote memorization of factsFlashcards with isolated factsDeep processing focuses on subjective meaning.Relating new information to prior knowledge or other informationMaking information personally meaningful
25 Rate each word Do you find the word Pleasant? Does the word contain an E or G?Deep processing: You arerelating the words to yourown meaningful experiences.Shallow processing: You arefocusing on spelling.Orienting Task DemonstrationBetween Groups:Divide the class into two groups. Have Group one prepare a two column answer sheet labeled unpleasant and pleasant. Have the other group label theirs E/G yes or no. Read the list at about 2 seconds/word. Then give a recall task. This works intentionally or incidentally.1. Evening 13. Cold2. Country 14. Love3. Salt 15. Bargain4. Easy 16. War5. Peace 17. Hate6. Morning 18. Wet7. Pretty 19. Rich8. Expensive 20. Nurse9. Poor 21. Pepper10. Doctor 22. Hard11. City 23. Ugly12. Dry 24. HotNow turn your paper over and write down as many words as you can recall.Use a show of hands to see how many words each person recalled. Also, ask if people noticed that the words were composed of associates. This finding is very robust, and does not depend on incidental learning.These are orienting tasks that cause youto think in deep or shallow ways,regardless of your intention25
26 Four different conditions Be forewarnedyou will beasked torecall allthe wordsFrontDeep Warnedabout RecallDeepNot WarnedShallowShallow WarnedRightLeft
27 Study Conditions Front Deep Warned about Recall Deep Not Warned If motivation to learnmatters, the front tablesshould recall best3. If both deep processingand motivation matter, thefront right should recall bestDeep Warnedabout RecallDeepNot WarnedShallowShallow WarnedRightFrontLeft2. If deep processingmatters, The two rightsections should recall best
29 Which of the following is the MOST important ingredient for successful learning? The intention and desire to learnPaying close attention to the material as you studyLearning in a way that matches your personal Learning Style?The time you spend studyingWhat you think about while studying
30 Implications for Learning Intention and motivation to learn are not importantAttention and amount of study is necessary, but not sufficient for learningLearning strategy has a huge impact on learningShallow processing undermines learning, even when intention and motivation are highDeep level of processing is critical for learningelaborative, distinctive, personal, appropriate
31 Implications for Students Many students have highly practiced poor learning strategiesStudying more won’t help themIncrease overconfidence without learningThey need to unlearn highly practiced old strategies and develop new, more effective onesConsider study skills in terms of orienting tasks and level or processingStudying, note taking, reading, writing, listening
32 These findings are strongly counterintuitive All study is effective, only amount and intensity matterThe more I study, the more I learnThe more motivated I am to learn, the more I will learnMotivation automatically improves study effectivenessNot all study is the same; some is useless no matter how long you do it and some is counterproductiveMotivation is no guarantee of effective study skillsLearning is hard work, but not all hard work leads to learning
33 Implications for Faculty Pedagogy have a significant impact on learningIt isn’t all the sameConsider pedagogy in terms of orienting tasks and level of processingDesign assignments, problem sets, questions, examples to induce deep processingWhat does this activity make students think about?A badly designed assignment isn’t just useless, it can undermine learning
34 Achieving Deep Processing while Studying As you study, follow these principles:Elaboration: How does this concept relate to other concepts?Distinctiveness: How is this concept different from other concepts?Personal: How can I relate this information to my personal experience?Appropriate to Retrieval and Application: How am I expected to use or apply this concept?These properties lead to development of connected understanding
35 The aftermath The presentation was a huge success Rated most useful and interesting of freshman activitiesFaculty liked it as well as studentsI’ve presented it annually, refining it each yearAfter two years, I was asked to give a follow up presentation for “at risk” studentsBut just how successful was it?2009 Assessment
36 Method The assessment employed a two pronged approach: Study 1 involved three sections of Foundations, a course intended to help freshmen adjust to collegeFor these sections, I attended their class, gave a pretest, gave my presentation, gave an immediate posttest, then gave a follow-up survey two weeks later.Study 2 involved other Foundations sections.I asked instructors to give a pretest before the presentation, the students attended my presentation, then I gave a follow-up survey several weeks after the presentation.
37 ResultsStudents rated the presentation highly for interest and value in helping them study (Figure 1)In both studies, the presentation had a significant impact on student understanding that the key factor in learning is deep processing (Figures 2 & 3)But 43% of students maintained a misconception and correct understanding lowered slightly over time.The presentation seemed particularly effective in reducing rote memorization as a study strategy and increasing deep processing. (Figure 4)“As I study, my main strategy is to memorize the key facts and the definitions of key terms.” (F(1, 61)=12.49, p=.001)“As I study, I try to think about how I might use this information either on an exam or in my future experience.” (F(1, 67)=4.43, p=0.039
42 ConclusionsThe presentation is interesting and effective at significantly altering student understanding of learning and their practice.The presentation is particularly effective at decreasing rote memorization and increasing deep processing strategiesA significant portion of students still maintain misconceptions about learning and the positive impact may lessen with time.To address these issues, I created videotaped modules of the presentation for students to review when needed.
43 Development of Video Series Have the same helpful tone as presentationContain the same information as my two presentationsServe as a resource for students and teachers on how to study effectivelyBe as flexible as possible for different uses, such as online learningFive brief modulesBe worth the time invested in terms of information learned6-8 minutes each
44 Creating the VideosI examined the videos on studying that already existMost are either testimonials or selling productsA depressing, often boring, mix of some correct information, misconceptions, and simple tipsNathan Troost—Ace VideographerVisual sense of what works and what is interestingA psych minor and former student of mineA good editor for meAll five filmed in four hours one summer morning
45 Video Series: How to Get the Most Out of Studying http://www. samford
46 How to Get the Most Out of Studying Video 1: Beliefs That Make You Fail…Or SucceedVideo 2: What Students Should Understand About How People LearnVideo 3: Cognitive Principles for Optimizing LearningVideo 4: Putting the Principles for Optimizing Learning into PracticeVideo 5: I Blew the Exam, Now What?
47 Videos posted in August, 2011 Very well received: In use by many faculty; posted as a resource by many study and counseling centers; used in many college transition coursesNow being closed captionedFaculty love them; Advanced students wish they had had them as freshmen; but freshmen reaction is mixedIt isn’t what they want or expect to hearMisconceptions are hard to changeJust watching them is probably not sufficient
49 What might explain this pattern? When we tell students to watch them, we mean “Watch them all (maybe more than once), learn from them, work to incorporate the information into your study habits.”What students think:“I watched the first one and I figured that was enough.”“Just watching should be enough to improve my grades.Watching videos is passive, and they should be entertaining“I already know or do this stuff.” (When they really don’t)
50 What Students Want vs. What the Videos Offer How to make good gradesA concrete, foolproof, (easy) methodSimple tweaks to what I’m already doingImmediate resultsA guarantee that hard work will result in a good gradeHow to learn more effectivelyA framework for effective studyA radical change requiring much effortNo magic bulletYou can work hard and still fail
51 Using the videos effectively Just assigning them is good, but especially for weaker students, need to ensure watching and engagementNeed to scaffold contentHuge discrepancy between video content and student beliefsInformation denseIdeas are counterintuitive and contrary to popular misconceptions discuss how to apply.Need remindingIt is a resource that will save teacher time, but will not replace the teacher.
52 Some suggestions Assign one at a time and discuss in class Use study questions, assignments, or formative assessments to ensure deep processingRevisit them after the first examUse as a resource in working with struggling studentsI’m open to suggestions
53 So shouldn’t we design pedagogies that make students use deep processing all the time? (What faculty need to know about learning)
54 What are the critical factors in student learning? EngagementActive learningStruggleMany faculty believe student struggle leads to better learning
55 Cognitive Load Theory (e.g. van Merrienboer & Sweller, 2005) Mental effort is the amount of concentration that a person has available to devote to tasksMental effort is always a limited resourceCognitive Load is the total amount of mental effort a task requires to complete itA person can do multiple tasks at once as long as the total cognitive load does not exceed available mental effortIf cognitive load exceeds available mental effort, then performance suffers
56 Student mental effort must meet the demands of instructional mental load Students possessprior knowledge,learning strategiesand mental effortCognitive LoadExtraneous Load(Minimize)TeachersdesigninstructionGermane Load(Optimize)AvailableMentalEffortIntrinsic Load(Manage)Tasks and conceptspossess difficulty
57 Name the days of the week out loud and in order as fast as you can
58 About this Activity Were you engaged? Were you engaged in active problem solving?Were you working hard and struggling?What was the 4th day in the list?
59 Name the Days of the Week as Quickly as You Can In Alphabetical OrderFridayMondaySaturdaySundayThursdayTuesdayWednesday
60 Implications of Cognitive Load Theory If the cognitive load demanded of students exceeds their available mental effort, then learning will not occurIf the cognitive load demanded of students takes up most or all of available cognitive effort, then there will not be enough mental effort available for learning or schema formationDeeper level of processing causes greater cognitive loadTeachers must monitor, manage and minimize cognitive load to allow schema development as well as design activities to promote schema development
61 Cognitive Load of Various Tasks (adapted from Piolat, Olive & Kellogg, 2004)
62 About Engagement, Active Learning, and Struggle Engagement, being “active”, and mental struggle do not always lead to effective learningNeither does deep processing if cognitive load is too greatTeachers must balance deep processing and cognitive loadTeaching is an interaction of competing forces
63 The Complexity of Teaching The number of teaching methods is large and diverseNo teaching method is without limitations and pitfallsTeaching is a contextual interaction; Teaching effectiveness involves the dynamic interaction of multiple factors:the outcomes that are desired bythe characteristics of the students bythe characteristics of the instructor bythe curriculum and contentNo single best way to teach
64 An Effective TeacherMust monitor, manage, and manipulate multiple, conflicting factors, many of which are outside the teacher’s control, to achieve desired learning outcomesMust be knowledgeable about multiple teaching methods, select appropriately among them to achieve desired goals, and make adjustments during teaching.
65 Teaching As a Contextual Outcome of Multiple Agents (TACOMA) Model Characteristics of the TeacherIn-the-MomentReflectionPre-eventReflectionTopic, Content, andLearning GoalsMonitor,Manage,ManipulateManipulateMonitorManipulateTeachingStrategiesLearningStrategiesCharacteristicsof the LearnerForm ofAssessmentLevel of StudentUnderstandingPost-event ReflectionStudent-Teacher Rapportand Classroom Atmosphere
66 Take Home MessageDescribed misconceptions that students and faculty have that undermine their learningDescribed a live and video presentation for making students more effective learners based on cognitive researchAttempted to give you a more sophisticated understanding of how people learn to improve teaching effectivenessLevels of Processing and orienting tasksCognitive LoadMust keep them in balanceTeaching is a complex interaction of factors that the teacher must manipulate, manage, and monitorNo single best teaching methodRequires constant monitoring and adjustments
67 Final ThoughtWhether F2F or online, learning only occurs in one place, inside the student’s head.It takes effective pedagogy for that to take placeEffective pedagogy depends on cognitive principles.
68 Stephen L. Chew email@example.com Thank You! Questions?Stephen L. Chew
69 Discussion QuestionsWhat steps does your college or university currently take to make students better learners? What changes could be made to improve this process?What kinds of misconceptions about learning do you see in both students and faculty? How do they undermine learning and how can they be addressed and corrected?How can faculty use the information presented about depth of processing and cognitive load to design pedagogy that makes it easier for students to learn and retain information?
70 For Further ReadingHow Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching. Susan A. Ambrose, Michael W. Bridges, Michele DiPietro, Marsha C. Lovett, Marie K. Norman (2010). Jossey-Bass.The College Fear Factor: How Students and Professors Misunderstand One Another. Rebecca D. Cox (2011), Harvard University Press.Efficiency in Learning: Evidence-Based Guidelines to Manage Cognitive Load. Ruth C. Clark, Frank Nguyen, John Sweller (2005). Pfeiffer.Effective College and University Teaching: Strategies and Tactics for the New Professoriate. William F. Buskist, Victor A. Benassi (2011). Sage Publications, IncWhat the Best College Teachers Do. Ken Bain (2004). Harvard University Press.