The Science of Learning April 26 2014


Published on

We review some of the latest developments in the science of learning, including working on memory, learning styles, best ways to study, etc.

Published in: Education
1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

The Science of Learning April 26 2014

  1. 1. THE SCIENCE OF LEARNING Professional Development Meeting April 26, 2014
  2. 2. “Learning is an acquired skill, and the most effective strategies are often counterintuitive.”* “Learning is deeper and more durable when it effortful. Learning that’s easy is like writing in sand, here today and gone tomorrow.”* *From: Make it Stick , by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, Mark A. McDaniel; Belknap Press (2014) Photo by Fylkesarkivet i Sogn og Fjordane
  3. 3. PURPOSE OF TODAY’S PRESENTATION  Tutors need information about how to best help students achieve in school  Goals for today’s meeting:  Review key areas of learning theory  Use science and evidence-based techniques to improve teaching and tutoring  Provide tutors with practical suggestions and skills
  4. 4. PRE-EXERCISE Make Some Predictions  Please take a minute to write down five things you expect me to teach you during today’s presentation.  Hand them in.  We’ll see how you do!
  5. 5. 1. BACKGROUND INFORMATION Hope/Well-being/Engagement with School  Declines from elem. thru MS and HS  % Engaged in elem is 76%, but in HS it’s 44%  Elemenary instruction is more hands-on, tactile, visually- oriented  High School instruction is mostly lecture-based Source: The Gallup Student Poll
  6. 6. 1. BACKGROUND INFORMATION Executive Function/ADHD  Executive Function Skills Scale: <---------Good--------Poor--------ADHD---->  Students with ADHD lag 2 to 3 years behind other students in executive function skills.  80% of feedback that ADHD students receive in school is negative.
  7. 7. 1. BACKGROUND INFORMATION Executive Function/ADHD  However, one charismatic adult with a positive relationship with the student can make the difference (Psychology: An Introduction, Julius Segal, 1988).  Strategies don’t work without the emotional connection. Emotion is the key to engagement.  Key point -- Empathize, reflect their feelings back to them instead of negating their feelings.
  8. 8. 1. BACKGROUND INFORMATION Executive Function/ADHD  Note: kids do not listen to more than 11 to 15 words when they feel judged.  Be careful not to tell the student what to do, but instead, help him come to the correct conclusions about what to do. Lead him in the right direction, but let him “figure it out.”
  9. 9. 2. LEARNING-TO-LEARN Metacognition  Definition: awareness and understanding of one's own thought processes  It is one of the keys to learning; Passive Learning/Listening is only the beginning of the learning process Source: Educational Psychology: A Practical Approach, by Edward Vockell, Ph.D.
  10. 10. 2. LEARNING-TO-LEARN What doesn’t work?  We are poor judges of when we are learning well. Sometimes the strategies we think work well, are actually very unproductive. Examples: 1. Rereading text 2. Massed practice – repetition of something ; “practice, practice, practice.” These two strategies make us feel like we are learning but in reality neither has been shown to improve mastery or durability of knowledge.
  11. 11. 2. LEARNING-TO-LEARN Metacognition Self-evaluation Weak students are often astonished when they perform inadequately on a test. When they fail, extremely weak students often have no idea what their problem is. Good students know where their strengths and weaknesses are. Good students are able to use failure as a foundation for a plan to do better.
  12. 12. 2. LEARNING-TO-LEARN Metacognition  Self-testing  Use of practice tests to determine whether the information has been learned  Makes learning a more active process  “Testing is a powerful means of improving learning, not just assessing it.”* *Source: Test-Enhanced Learning, Henry L. Roediger, III, and Jeffrey D. Karpicke, Psychological Science 17 (2006)
  13. 13. 2. LEARNING-TO-LEARN Metacognition Self-Regulation of Learning
  14. 14. 2. LEARNING-TO-LEARN Metacognition Self-Regulation of Learning It would be nice if your students could…………. (but they probably need your help)  Analyze and interpret task requirements  Set goals  Implementing strategies  Monitor progress toward goals  Adjust strategies based on perceived progress towards goals  Use motivational strategies to stay on task
  15. 15. 2. LEARNING-TO-LEARN Metamemory  Definition: a student’s awareness of and knowledge about his own memory systems and strategies for using their memories effectively  awareness of different memory strategies  knowledge of which strategy to use for a particular memory task  knowledge of how to use a given memory strategy most effectively
  16. 16. 2. LEARNING-TO-LEARN Metamemory  Retrieval practice – recalling facts, concepts, or events from memory e.g. Flashcards or practice tests  More effective than rereading  Strengthens memory and interrupts forgetting  A single, simple quiz after reading a text or hearing a lecture is more effective than rereading or reviewing lecture notes.
  17. 17. 2. LEARNING-TO-LEARN Metamemory Application/Examples  Use of Mnemonics  Songs  Webbing/Mapping  Flash Cards  Study Groups  Teach someone else
  18. 18. 2. LEARNING-TO-LEARN Metamemory  Math Trying to solve a problem before being taught the solution leads to better learning, even when errors are made in the attempt.
  19. 19. 2. LEARNING-TO-LEARN Metamemory Improve retrieval by:  Spacing out practice sessions  Interleaving study of two or more subjects Seems more difficult, but the extra effort gives more durable results and more flexible application of memory in the future.
  20. 20. 2. LEARNING-TO-LEARN Metamemory  Interleaving study of topics within a discipline  Allow student to develop an understanding of a underlying principles or rules, rather than just learning by rote.  Examples: • Compute volumes and surface areas of a variety of geometric solids to look for similarities. • Study bone structures of different mammalian species
  21. 21. 2. LEARNING-TO-LEARN  Learning Styles  It turns out that the notion of individual learning styles is a myth (not supported by research).  However it is true that multi-sensory and multi-modal instruction are most effective.  In other words, people learn better when a variety of learning style approaches are used.
  22. 22. 2. LEARNING-TO-LEARN Metacomprehension  Definition: a student’s ability to monitor the degree to which she understands information.  recognize failures to comprehend  employ repair strategies when failures are identified
  23. 23. 2. LEARNING-TO-LEARN Metacomprehension Application/Examples  Make Predictions  Middle-school math students asked to anticipate how linear and exponential factors work—before this information was taught—became more curious about the content of the lessons they then proceeded to learn.  Even more importantly, the act of venturing predictions prompted them to understand the material more deeply as they engaged in reasoning and sense-making about math instead of mere memorization.
  24. 24. 3. THE LEARNING PROCESS  All new learning requires a foundation of prior knowledge.  Examples:  To learn trigonometry, you must have a knowledge of algebra and geometry
  25. 25. 3. THE LEARNING PROCESS  Putting new knowledge into context helps learning. The more of the unfolding story you know, the more you can learn. The key is to (literally) make neural connections to existing knowledge.
  26. 26. 3. THE LEARNING PROCESS  Every time you learn something new, you change the brain. Therefore you can actually increase your intellectual ability. But it requires hard work.  New mental models enable us to reason, solve, and create.  Making mistakes and correcting them build bridges to advanced learning
  27. 27. 3. THE LEARNING PROCESS Cognitive restructuring  The student uses cognitive (intellectual) processes to restructure (state in a different manner) the information that he or she is trying to process.  This is the key to getting information from short-term memory to long-term memory
  28. 28. 3. THE LEARNING PROCESS Cognitive restructuring  Examples Write an essay on the topic Create an outline Create a web or map with the information Teach others Act it out* Other ideas? *Activity and Imagined Activity Can Enhance Young Children's Reading Comprehension. By Glenberg, Arthur M.; Gutierrez, Tiana; Levin, Joel R.; Japuntich, Sandra; Kaschak, Michael P.; Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol 96(3), Sep 2004, 424-436.
  29. 29. 3. THE LEARNING PROCESS Purpose  If you see a way to gain something (either a natural consequence or an artificial benefit) by learning something, you are going to learn more from it than if you see no point.  Weak students often read academic materials simply because they are told to do so; but good students see a purpose in their reading.
  30. 30. 3. THE LEARNING PROCESS Self-testing  Use of practice tests to determine whether the information has been learned  Identify your weak areas so you can correct them  Iterative process -- wash, rinse, repeat
  31. 31. 3. THE LEARNING PROCESS Use of Metaphors  A great way to tie new information to existing knowledge.  People who learn to extract the key ideas from new material, and organize them into a mental model, and connect that model to prior knowledge, learn better.
  32. 32. 3. THE LEARNING PROCESS Attention  The true test of attention is the ability to sustain focus on something you don’t like. It is an issue of attention regulation rather than overall ability to pay attention.  This set of skills involves the student’s awareness of whether he is attending to a task. If learners develop conscious control of this process, learning improves.
  33. 33. 3. THE LEARNING PROCESS Attention Control in Childhood  As the frontal lobes mature, children's capacity to exercise attentional control increases, although attentional control abilities remain much poorer in children than they do in adults.* *Gogtay, N.; Giedd, J. N.; Lusk, L.; Hayashi, K. M.; Greenstein, D.; Vaituzis, A. C.; Nugent Iii, T. F.; Herman, D. H.; Clasen, L. S. et al. et al. (2004). "Dynamic mapping of human cortical development during childhood through early adulthood". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 101 (21): 8174–8179. doi:10.1073/pnas.0402680101. PMC 419576. PMID 15148381.
  34. 34. 3. THE LEARNING PROCESS Attention Control in Childhood  Some children show impaired development of attentional control abilities, thought to arise from the relatively slower development of frontal areas of the brain, which sometimes results in a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).* *Shaw, P. Lerch, J., Greenstein, D., Sharp, W., Clasen,L., Evans,A., Giedd,J., Xavier Castellanos, F., Rapoport, J. Longitudinal Mapping of Cortical Thickness and Clinical Outcome in Children and Adolescents With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder" Archives of General Psychiatry 2006;63:540-549.
  35. 35. 3. THE LEARNING PROCESS Attention Control  Mindfulness  Even four days of mindfulness meditation training can significantly improve visuo-spatial processing, working memory and executive functioning.* *Zeidan, Fadel; Johnson, Susan K.; Diamond, Bruce J.; David, Zhanna; Goolkasian, Paula (1 June 2010). "Mindfulness meditation improves cognition: Evidence of brief mental training". Consciousness and Cognition 19 (2): 597–605. doi:10.1016/j.concog.2010.03.014. PMID 20363650.
  36. 36. 3. THE LEARNING PROCESS Attention Control  Mindfulness is useful in treating a variety of psychological problems – for example in helping to reduce anxiety, depression, and stress; "central component" of the therapies' effectiveness.*  Note: Given the low quality of the underlying data, it is however possible that this conclusion was overstated. *Khoury, B.; Lecomte, T.; Fortin, G., et al. (August 2013). "Mindfulness- based therapy: a comprehensive meta-analysis". Clin Psychol Rev (Meta-analysis) 33 (6): 763–71.
  37. 37. 3. THE LEARNING PROCESS Metacognition  Goal setting  Short-term goals are more likely to be completed than long- term goals. Students will learn more if they can set both long-term and short-term goals and know the difference between them.
  38. 38. 3. THE LEARNING PROCESS  Goal setting  Goals should be SMART‎
  39. 39. 3. THE LEARNING PROCESS Metacognition  Self-evaluation This set of skills focuses on monitoring progress toward a goal. At this point we are verifying whether we are on track to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves.
  40. 40. 3. THE LEARNING PROCESS  Goal setting  Communication with Parents  Clarify goals with parents up front.  Make sure to keep parents informed about changes to goals. For academic coaching students this is even more important.  Goal-setting worksheet: alvaluation/popup/heacox.html
  41. 41. ADDITIONAL READING  Make it Stick , by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, Mark A. McDaniel; Belknap Press (2014)  Homework Made Simple: Tips, Tools, and Solutions to Stress-Free Homework by Ann Dolin; Advantage Books (2010)  Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary "Executive Skills" Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential by Peg Dawson and Richard Guare; Guilford Press (2009)