Critical Thinking 4

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How learning works and how you can become a better learner.

How learning works and how you can become a better learner.

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  • 1. Learning and Memory in Everyday Life How Does Learning Work, and What Can You Do To Become a Better Learner?
  • 2. What is Learning?
    • A relatively permanent change in your skills and knowledge as a function of your experiences
    • Being relatively permanent implies that it can change and that as long as you use the learning it will be available
    • Psychologists know that learning has occurred because of a change in behavior
    • Change means that something new has been added to your repertoire of thoughts and actions
    • Being a function of experiences means that whatever you learn is based on events you encounter daily
  • 3. Factors Affecting the Acquisition of Information
    • The First Factor: Time on Task
    • Whenever you want to learn something, the more time you spend at it the more effective will be the learning
    • The quality of the time is more important than the actual time spent
    • Concentrate on what’s going on, participate in discussions, summarize and paraphrase ideas for yourself, and ask questions
    • Asking questions is important
    • Overcome the belief that your questions are silly or dumb or that by asking a question you’re stupid
    • Time on task is important for learning skills that are needed to do a job well
  • 4. The Second Factor: The Role of Practice
    • Active Practice Enhances Learning
    • Learning is an active process
    • Being actively involved in your learning experience enhances learning and retention
    • Time on task needs the following characteristics:
    • Appropriate levels of interest and motivation to learn
    • Attention is focused on the task
    • A goal for what must be learned is established and pursued
    • Questions are asked when something isn’t understood
    • Feedback is sought in order to learn from mistakes
    • Attempts are made to integrate and establish connections among various ideas or components of the skill
    • Rote repetition is discouraged
    • Critical thinking processes such as analysis, synthesizing, and evaluating information are emphasized
    • Whenever appropriate, ideas about and experiences with the information are written down and/or discussed with others
  • 5. More on Practice
    • Distribute Your Practice over Time
    • Massed Practice ( cramming ) doesn’t produce retention
    • Consequently, learning doesn’t occur
    • Inefficient and ineffective way to learn
    • Massed Practice taxes your ability to remember information, lowers your energy levels, produces fatigue, and enhances test anxiety
    • Distributed Practice, taking small chunks over time produces greater retention
    • Twice the information is recalled through Distributed Practice
    • On difficult and verbal learning, Distributed Practice enhances learning
    • Distributed Practice is most noticeable when information must be recalled rather than recognized
  • 6. The Third Factor: The Role of Feedback
    • The Purpose of Feedback is to Reduce the Number of Errors that can be Produced
    • Knowledge of Results enhances what is to be learned
    • External Sources: Feedback from teachers, super- visors, tests
    • Internal Sources: Perceptions of progress on task, cues from body movements and thinking processes
    • Feedback is most effective when it is immediate
    • Feedback must be detailed, specific, and constructive
    • It is important that detailed information be given about what was wrong as well as specific suggestions for how to improve: Constructive Feedback
  • 7. The Fourth Factor: The Role of Positive Reinforcement
    • Positive Reinforcers are Pleasant Stimuli that Occur after a Response and Increase the Likelihood of that Response Recurring
    • Rewards Increase the Frequency of Desirable Behaviors
    • They improve performance in sports, on the job, and in school; lead to better health habits, communications in relationships, and in communications skills themselves
    • Positive Reinforcers Can Help Reduce the Frequency of Bad Habits
    • Rewarding the behaviors that you do want will increase those behaviors
    • Positive Reinforcers Work Best When Given Immediately After a Response
    • An association is made between the behavior and the reward
    • Delay in reward may reinforce the wrong behavior
    • Some of the Most Powerful Reinforces are Secondary Reinforcers
  • 8. The Fifth Factor: Reinforcement Schedules
    • Two Basic Reinforcement Schedules
    • Continuous Reinforcement
    • Reinforcing every correct response
    • Partial Reinforcement
    • Reinforcing only a certain number of correct responses or after a given time schedule
    • Partial Reinforcement Schedules Help Maintain Behaviors Over Time
    • All reinforcement schedules have “gaps” produced by time or by the number of responses that were not reinforced
    • These “gaps” provide opportunities for other internal or external rewards to become associated with the actions and can gain control over them
    • Partial Reinforcement Schedules Allow Behaviors Leading to Distant Rewards to be Maintained
    • Long-term pay-offs after short-term losses
  • 9. The Partial Reinforcement Schedules
    • Fixed Ratio
    • The reinforcer is given after a certain number of correct responses has occurred
    • Variable Ratio
    • A reinforcer is given after a varied number of correct responses has occurred
    • Fixed Interval
    • A reinforcer is given after a fixed time period has passed after the correct response
    • Variable Ratio
    • A reinforcer is given after a varied time period has passed after the correct response
  • 10. The Sixth Factor: Extinction
    • When Responses Are No Longer Followed by the Rewards That Control Them, Extinction Occurs
    • The behaviors weaken and cease to occur
    • It is not the same as forgetting; the incentive to perform is gone
    • The reappearance of an extincted response is spontaneous recovery
    • Resistance to Extinction occurs due to:
    • They were initially learned or maintained under partial reinforcement
    • Your actions also come under the control of internal rewards (e.g., self-praise) or other external reinforcers in the environment
    • When you give yourself praise for a job well-done, you tend to be more comfortable about doing a good job the next time
  • 11. The Seventh Factor: Negative Side Effects of Rewards
    • Positive Reinforcers May Affect People and Events Beyond the Initial Target Behavior
    • Reinforcing certain actions may produce unintended reprocussions
    • People May Concentrate on Earning a Reward and Make Performing Desirable Behaviors Secondary
    • Looking for “loopholes” becomes more important than learning
    • The Effects of Positive Reinforcers May Not Generalize to Other Situations
    • What is learned in one situation may not provide the motivation to continue the previously learned behavior
    • External Reinforcers May Undermine Intrinsic Rewards
    • Rewards given for something that is already enjoyable causes a loss of interest
    • The Wrong Behaviors Can Be Inadvertently Reinforced
    • Attention is a powerful secondary reinforcer, and it may come in many forms
    • Rewards May Lose Their Attractiveness in the Long Run
    • Too much of a good thing can cause a loss of motivation and interest .
  • 12. The Eighth Factor: The Role of Negative Reinforcement
    • Aversive Stimuli Whose Reduction or Termination Increases the Likelihood that an Ongoing Behavior Will Occur
    • A Positive Reinforcer increases a response through the administration of something desirable; Negative Reinforcers remove something undesirable in order to get or keep a response going
    • When unpleasant stimuli occur people try to remove them by escaping or avoiding them
    • Escaping or avoiding the situation can bring about drug abuse, excessive daydreaming or fantasizing, or anxieties
    • Many fears and phobias are avoidance responses
  • 13. The Ninth Factor: The Role of Punishment
    • The Use of an Aversive Stimulus to Eliminate or Decrease the Strength of a Response
    • Punishment vs. Abuse vs. Discipline
    • Punished behavior tends to occur less frequently, and this can be produced through:
    • The inappropriate behavior leads to a natural and logical unpleasant consequence
    • There is an unpleasant stimulus given deliberately after a response
    • Something pleasant is taken away after an inappropriate behavior
    • Problems can occur through the use of punishment
    • Frustration and anger can develop and a focus can be more on “getting even” than learning anything new
    • A fear response develops producing an avoidance response
    • Many people can’t distinguish between punishment and abuse
  • 14. More on Punishment
    • Principles for Administering Punishment
    • It must be applied immediately
    • A connection needs to be made between the behavior and the punishment
    • The punishment should “fit” the infraction
    • For something minor, the punishment must be minor
    • It must be consistently applied
    • Punishment must occur every time a problem behavior occurs as well as an explanation for the punishment
    • It should be limited to specific responses
    • Never use punishment indiscriminately or for anything general such as making someone a “better person”
    • It should be humanely and sensitively applied
    • The physical and psychological well-being of the person needs to be preserved
  • 15. The Tenth Factor: The Role of Organization & Planning
    • Without Organization and Planning, Practice, Feedback, and Reinforcement will do Little Good
    • Effective time management aids learning
    • Short-term planning and attitudes toward the use of time are the best predictors of college grades, not academic ability
    • Flexible monthly planning along with weekly and monthly rewards leads to better performance in school
    • Time Management Practices for Success in School:
    • Short-Range Planning Attitudes Toward Time
    • Make a daily list Don’t let others infringe on your time
    • Plan each day Work on school work on school days
    • Schedule things to do Always work on improving yourself
    • Be clear on next week Use your time constructively
    • Set and keep priorities Do assignments long before they’re due
    • Quit doing activities that are unconstructive
  • 16. Remembering What You Learned
    • Memory is the ability to bring to conscious awareness the things you’ve experienced, imagined, and learned
    • Memory is the result of learning
    • Your ability to learn depends on your ability to remember previous ideas
    • Humanity’s unique ability to survive has depended on memory
    • memory involves acquiring, encoding, storing, and retrieving information
    • Two major theories of learning are the memory system approach and the levels-of-processing approach
  • 17. The Memory System
    • The Three Stages of Memory
    • The Memory System or Information Processing Approach
    • Sensory Registry (Sensory Information Storage)
    • Data is stored in full detail in the sense organ
    • Almost unlimited capacity with very rapid decay
    • Visual registry ( iconic and eidetic imagery ), Auditory registry ( echoic storage )
    • The “cocktail party phenomenon”
    • Short-Term Memory (Working Memory, Present Conscious Memory)
    • Limited to 7 +/- 2 chunks of information at a time
    • Limited to 1.5 to 2 seconds
    • The serial position effect: the recall of items depends on the position in a list
    • Primacy and Recency Effects
    • Encoding in STM is by sounds or images
    • Information is maintained in STM through Maintenance rehearsal ( Rote )
  • 18. More on the Stages of Memory
    • Long-Term Memory
    • Almost unlimited in capacity
    • Encoding is by imagery and meaning
    • Storage is through a Semantic Network or Semantic Tree
    • Transfer of information from STM to LTM:
    • Elaborative Rehearsal: an associative organization
    • Organizes the new material with what is already learned
    • Information is maintained in LTM through Elaborative Rehearsal and Rote
    • Types of LTM:
    • Episodic Memory: events or life experiences
    • Semantic Memory: facts, rules, and concepts
    • Procedural Memory: strategies for performing actions
  • 19. The Levels-of-Processing Approach to Understanding Memory
    • Memory is an active process where information is analyzed at different levels and later reconstructed
    • When given something to learn, you begin by analyzing it at a rather shallow level such as deciding if you need to go on to a deeper analysis of the word or object
    • The rapid forgetting of material is due to the shallow analysis of it.
    • The persistence of information in LTM is related to the deeper processing it receives
    • Information is transformed into a memory code based on meaning
    • Processing information to a deeper level implies spending time to attach relevant semantic and imagery codes
    • It can be an automatic or self-initiated process
  • 20. Explanations for Forgetting
    • Three Theories of Forgetting
    • The decay of the memory trace is a factor in the loss of information in sensory memory
    • When rehearsal of information is prevented, decay of the memory trace may account for forgetting in STM
    • Rehearsing in STM, or transfer to LTM, and other factors are responsible for forgetting
    • Failure to retrieve information
    • LTM has an unlimited capacity. Forgetting is due to problems with people’s ability to retrieve some of the knowledge
    • Your emotional state at the time of learning and the time of recall affect retention
    • Emotional cues can help retrieve information up to a point
    • Recall forces you to reconstruct, reproduce, or recreate the original information from memory codes
    • Interference among memory traces
    • Proactive Interference: Old memories interfere with new learning
    • Retroactive Interference: New memories interfere with old learning
  • 21. Memory’s seven fallacies
    • Transience
    • Forgetting that occurs with the passage of time
    • Absent-Mindedness
    • Often attributed to four things: 1) divided attention; 2) insufficient attention when encoding; 3) operating on “automatic” and 4) change blindness (encoding at an extremely shallow level)
    • Blocking
    • Retrieval cues are unavailable even though a word or name has been encoded or stored
    • Misattribution
    • Recalling events that never happened or recalling them incorrectly or at the wrong time or place
    • Suggestability
    • The tendency to incorporate misleading information from external cues into recollections
    • Bias
    • Memories are rescripted to fit present views
    • Persistence
    • Remembering things you wish to forget
  • 22. Improving Your Memory
    • Overlearning
    • Practice beyond the point of learning or mastery
    • Categorize Information
    • Grouping or chunking information into groups or assigning information into categories
    • Creating a cognitive map using pictures, drawings, designs to represent ideas
    • Elaborate on the Information
    • Embellish the information you’re learning by analyzing it in greater detail
    • Get beyond the facts, and integrate information
    • Reflect any ideas in writing such as in a journal relating past and present experiences
    • Ask yourself questions about the material
    • Use Mental Imagery
    • Assigning an imagery code helps you to learn faster and remember longer
    • Look for something interesting, and humorous about it
  • 23. Improving Your Memory
    • Use Mnemonic Devices
    • Use short phrases where the first letter of each word creates a recall item
    • Connect items in a short rhyming phrase or poem
    • Repeating the information with a cadence and beat with music makes it easier to remember
    • Use acronyms where words are formed out of the first letter of each item that needs to be remembered
    • Narratives are short stories containing all the items to be remembered; the sillier the narrative, the easier it is to remember
    • Substitutions convert relatively abstract materials into something more concrete and easier to remember: substitute a picture formed from the sounds in a name; substitute consonants in the alphabet, and vowels are used to fill in the gaps
    • Keywords are used to form an image of the sound and a word
    • Method of Loci is placing everything to be remembered in specific and recognizable places
    • Peg systems or peg words are hooks to attach things you want to learn