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Self-regulated learning: Heuristics and illusions Robert A. Bjork University of California, Los Angeles Panel on Does Knowing What You Know Improve Study.

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Presentation on theme: "Self-regulated learning: Heuristics and illusions Robert A. Bjork University of California, Los Angeles Panel on Does Knowing What You Know Improve Study."— Presentation transcript:

1 Self-regulated learning: Heuristics and illusions Robert A. Bjork University of California, Los Angeles Panel on Does Knowing What You Know Improve Study Habits and Learning? F IFTH A NNUAL R ESEARCH C ONFERENCE Institute of Education Sciences National Harbor, Maryland June 28-30, 2010

2 Components of becoming metacognitively sophisticated as a learner Managing (optimally) the conditions of one’s own learning Spacing, variation, generation, retrieval practice, … Organizing one’s knowledge, using technology, engaging in cooperative learning, … Judging (accurately) whether learning/comprehension that will support later recall/transfer has been achieved Interpreting the meaning and predictive value of objective and subjective indices of current performance Understanding that changes from the study context to the test context will impact access to what has been learned Avoiding “foresight bias” (Koriat & Bjork, 2005) Giving appropriate weight to the impact of retention interval and subsequent study opportunities Avoiding “stability bias” (Kornell & Bjork, 2009)

3 Interpreting (and misinterpreting) objective indices of performance Learning versus performance What we can observe is performance; What we must infer is learning; …and the former is an unreliable guide to the latter. Conditions of instruction that make performance improve rapidly often fail to support long-term retention and transfer, whereas Conditions of instruction that appear to create difficulties for the learner, slowing the rate of apparent learning, often optimize long- term retention and transfer Teachers and learners alike can be fooled Teachers become susceptible to choosing poorer conditions of instruction over better conditions; … and learners to preferring those poorer conditions Examples

4 Generation Interleaving Spacing Examples of learners being fooled

5 Interpreting (and misinterpreting) subjective indices of performance Perceptual fluency or familiarity The sense of ease in processing visual or auditory information Retrieval fluency How readily information “comes to mind” Fluency of induction The sense of ease in noticing the commonalities across exemplars of a category or concept

6 Perceptual fluency or familiarity Heuristic value Misattributions and illusions Misinterpreting the cause of perceptual fluency Misinterpreting the meaning of perceptual fluency Illusions of competence Example: Reder (1987, 1988)

7 (Reder, 1987, 1988) “What is the term in golf for scoring one under par?”

8 Retrieval fluency Heuristic value Misattributions and illusions Interpreting performance as learning; illusions of competence Egocentrism in instruction and social communication Incomplete/faulty models of ourselves as learners/remembers Example: Benjamin, Bjork, & Schwartz (1998)

9 Benjamin, Bjork, & Schwartz (1998) Phase 1: 20 (easy) general-knowledge questions E. g., “Who was the first president of the United States?” Participants asked to: (a) hit ENTER as soon as the answer “came to mind” (latency recorded); (b) say the answer; (c) predict the likelihood they would be able--at the end of the experiment--to free-recall having given that answer. Phase 2: Distracting activity (spatial/map task) Phase 3: Final test Free recall: Write down as many of the 20 answers you gave earlier as you can; (Original questions were not shown again)

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12 Interpreting fluency of induction (Kornell & Bjork, 2008) The ability to generalize concepts and categories through exposure to multiple exemplars.

13 “Spacing is the friend of recall but the enemy of induction.” -Ernst Rothkopf

14 Lewis PessaniStratulatSchlorffWexlerJurasMylreaPessaniStratulatSchlorffWexlerJurasMylreaHawkins M S S M M S S M M S S M

15 Feedback Test

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17 Results ActualResponses

18 A qualification Subjective experience is not always misleading, it is sometimes even the best basis for judgments Example: Jacoby and Kelley (1987)

19 Jacoby & Kelley (1987) FSCAR ????? vs. FSCAR SCARF

20 Jacoby, Bjork, & Kelley (1994) “Subjective experience, like the public media, is unavoidable, serves useful functions, and is not to be fully trusted”

21 Why is performance a poor guide to learning? Performance is heavily influenced by local conditions—cues, predictability, recency—which can serve as crutches that prop up performance, but will not be there later at the time of test Predictions of future recall are, for example, subject to a foresight bias (Koriat & Bjork, 2005, 2006)

22 Foresight bias: an illustration Likelihood the second word will be given as a free associate to the first? Lamp: Light Find: Seek Sell: Buy Cheese: Cheddar Citizen: Tax

23 Foresight bias: an illustration Likelihood the second word will be given as a free associate to the first? Lamp: Light (.71) Find: Seek (.03) Sell: Buy (.56) Cheese: Cheddar (.03) Citizen: Tax (.00)

24 Foresight bias: an illustration Likelihood the second word will be given as a free associate to the first? Lamp: Light (.71)Forward pair Find: Seek (.03)Backward pair Sell: Buy (.56)Forward pair Cheese: Cheddar (.03)Backward pair Citizen: Tax (.00)“Purely a-posteriori” pair

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26 Foresight bias: Dynamics Judgments of learning are made in the presence of information that will be absent, but solicited, on a subsequent test The targets in cue-target pairs (e.g., Cheese: cheddar); or the answers to questions (e.g, the Capital of Australia is Canberra) We are unable to anticipate the test situation, when the cue/question alone will trigger other associations “Cheese ___?____” will trigger other strong associates, such as “mouse,” “bread,” “wine,” etc., which will compete with “cheddar.” “Capital of Australia?”—will trigger Sydney, Melbourne, …

27 Finally, the impact of intervening events: Predicting one’s own forgetting and learning We are subject to what Kornell and Bjork (2009) have labeled a stability bias: The tendency to think that a memory representation, once formed, will remain stable This bias leads to both Overestimating remembering (i.e., underestimating forgetting); and Underestimating learning.

28 Predicting one’s own forgetting (Koriat, Bjork, Sheffer, & Bar, 2004) Experiment 1 (of 9): 60 paired associates 30 related; 30 unrelated Participants judge, pair by pair, the likelihood they will remember that pair on a later cued-recall test Retention interval to the final test (between-subjects): Immediately after the study phase; One day; One week

29 Koriat, Bjork, Sheffer, & Bar (2004)

30 Experiment 7: Predicting one’s own learning 24 paired associates 12 related (Hill-Valley) 12 unrelated (Clemency-Idiom) Number of study/test cycles (within-subjects): ST STST STSTST STSTSTST During the first study trial, participants judged, pair by pair, the likelihood they would remember that pair on either the first, second, third, or fourth cued-recall test cycle Within-subjects Response panel insured that participants predicted for the designated test

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33 Actual Easy Actual Hard Predicted Hard Predicted Easy

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35 Concluding comment: People believe, in general, that forgetting happens over time and that studying fosters learning, That is, they have a theory of forgetting and a theory of learning but they do not appear to believe that access to a given item in memory will be lost over a retention interval or increased by further study.

36 The end, probably

37 Final comment, if there is time, on our subjective experience as teachers Egocentrism in social communication Newton (1990) as a parable of teaching; Piaget (1962) quote

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40 Piaget (1962) “Every beginning instructor discovers sooner or later that his first lectures were incomprehensible because he was talking to himself, so to say, mindful only of his point of view. He realizes only gradually and with difficulty that it is not easy to place one’s self in the shoes of students who do not yet know about the subject matter of the course.”

41 The end (for sure)

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44 Koriat et al. (2004) conclusions “… participants can access their knowledge about forgetting, but only when theory-based predictions are made, and then only when the notion of forgetting is accentuated —either by manipulating retention interval within individuals, or by framing recall predictions in terms of forgetting rather than remembering.” “Once the notion of forgetting is activated, people can then take into account what they know about the specified retention interval in making their recall predictions. It is indeed quite instructive that they do not do that spontaneously—even when the specified retention interval is a year (Experiment 4c)!”

45 Koriat, Bjork, Sheffer, & Bar (2004) Predicting One's Own Forgetting: The Role of Experience-Based and Theory-Based Processes. “We examined the hypothesis that judgments of learning (JOL), if governed by processing fluency during encoding, should be insensitive to anticipated retention interval.” “The initial impetus … was the dual-basis view of metacognitive judgments (Brown & Siegler, 1993; Jacoby & Kelley, 1987; Kelley & Jacoby, 1996; Koriat & Levy-Sadot, 1999; Strack, 1992).” Subjective experience: “Various mnemonic cues contribute directly to produce an immediate feeling of knowing that can serve as the basis of judgments. Thus, for example, encoding and retrieval fluency may foster a feeling of competence that can serve as [an experience-based basis for judgments of learning].” Domain-specific knowledge retrieved from memory. “Theory-based judgments, in contrast, rely on the deliberate use of specific beliefs and information to form an educated guess about one's own knowledge. Thus, JOLs may utilize such rules as “memory performance should be better on recognition than on recall memory test.”

46 Experiment 8: Predicting one’s own learning 24 difficult (unrelated) paired associates (e.g., Clemency-Idiom) Removing item differences should decrease participants’ tendency to base their judgments on intrinsic between-item differences Number of study/test cycles (within-subjects): ST STST STSTST STSTSTST Participants judge, pair by pair, the likelihood they will remember that pair on the first, second, third, or fourth cued-recall test cycle Within-subjects Response panel insured that participants predicted for the designated test


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