Learning is hard work. The most commonly used study techniques often provoke the illusion of knowing. David Parisian, a member of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at SUNY-Oswego joins us in this episode to discuss how he helps students overcome their misperceptions by introducing them to the science of learning.
- Brown, P. C., Roediger, H. L., & McDaniel, M. A. (2014). Make it stick. Harvard University Press.
- College Info Geek (Thomas Frank)
- Learning How to Learn: Powerful Mental Techniques to Help you Master Tough Subjects
- The Pomodoro Technique
- Mind Mapping – Tony Buzan
- The Learning Scientists
- Project Blend at SUNY-Oswego
Rebecca: Learning is hard work. The most commonly used study techniques often provoke the illusion of knowing. In this episode, we discuss one faculty member’s success in helping students correct misperceptions by introducing them to the science of learning.
John: Thanks for joining us for Tea for Teaching, an informal discussion of innovative and effective practices in teaching and learning.
Rebecca: This podcast series is hosted by John Kane, an economist…
John: …and Rebecca Mushtare, a graphic designer.
Rebecca: Together we run the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at the State University of New York at Oswego.
John: Today our guest is Dr. David Parisian from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the State University of New York at Oswego.
Rebecca: Today our teas are…
John: Barry’s Irish tea.
David: I’m not drinking tea today.
David: Nope, I’m trying to cut back. [LAUGHTER]
John: With some people, it’s an addiction.
Rebecca: I have a problem. I’m drinking Prince of Wales tea today. Could you tell us a little bit about what you teach and how you became interested in incorporating evidence-based practices in your classes?
David: Well, I teach a few different courses. When I’m on loan to the Computer Science Department for the CSC 103, which is “Computer Tools and Informational Literacy for Educators” and then in the teacher prep program, I do ADO 394, which is “Interdisciplinary Methods” and then EDU 303 and oversee the “Block One Practicum” students, and do the online EDU 430, which is taking concurrent with their student teaching.
Rebecca: What is the 303 and the last one you just mentioned?
David: 303 are the “Block One Practicums.” So, their first semester junior year, when they entered the the block sequence for education, they have to spend time in a classroom. So, Field Placement secures their placements and then they spend a semester observing and helping where they can, but they’re getting their feet wet of being in a classroom. And the EDU 430—the online course—is “Professionalism and Social Justice” and that’s an online course that they take concurrent with their student teaching. So, a lot of the modules that they’re based on actually helps them in preparation for the edTPA that they have to submit for certification.
Rebecca: So how does the evidence-based practices fit into these courses that you’ve been teaching?
David: Well, one of the things that happened is the CSC 103 is designed for freshmen or transfer students that come to us for teaching certifications. So, one of the things we look at ishellip; approach that class from how technology is integrated in education. And one of the thingshellip; there was the book-read we had a few years back by Peter Brown, Make It Stick, kind of reaffirmed my doctoral work as we went through it… and I created a little quiz… a little matched-pair quiz… so that if they had to learn effective means… “does repetition build memory or does retrieval build memory?” and taking the material from the book and organizing this quiz… and what I found out was that all my students failed. So when it came to the 12 Principles within the book that we were testing on, less than one percent passed… which meant that a lot of the students we see coming to us, even though they can come to college, don’t have the knowledge or foundation of what strategies are most effective to learning. And that, in a teacher preparation program, my thought was, “do I continue that propagation through the pipeline or do I try to stop this stop that flow of students who are not effective or aware of the most effective strategies as they go out to be teachers or do we want them to have those effective strategies so they can implement them once they start teaching?”
Rebecca: So you staged an intervention?
David: Yes, it really becomes an intervention at that point and it’s really interesting because they have so many misconceptions coming in. And what we try to do is… they change their relationship with how they view sleeping. We set it up within the course so they take Barbara Oakley’s MOOC Learning How to Learn. So, they’re taught how sleep flushes out the chemicals overnight that are built up in the brain. They talk about procrastination and the Pomodoro techniquehellip; the benefits of flashcards and how to integrate that in spaced practice… and that’s one of the interesting thingshellip; I was just talking students today because they’re preparing presentationshellip; but a hundred percent of the class knew about spaced practice but no one knew how to implement it, or what it might look like.
David: So we provide opportunities for them to explore those areas, whether it’s creating flashcards where they’re using a flashcard app or have them making flashcards to build in the spaced practice to know when to practice and how to interleave and all those components that research has shown to be most effective.
John: Many of our listeners are familiar with all of these, but could you go back and talk just a little bit about the Pomodoro Technique.
David: The Pomodoro Technique is really fascinating. What it is… is for those who procrastinate, you block out 25 minutes …and actually the Pomodoro Technique is based on a tomato kitchen timer… where you set it for 25 minutes and then at the end of 25 minutes, you take a five-minute break… and then you set the Pomodoro timer and you go through it again. And what happens is you can begin to measure your workload in terms of how many Pomodoros it’d take. For the students, what I notice is they start changing their perception of assignments from a product driven “what’s the end product?” to a process of “how to get to that end product?” So many have commented on that and you can get apps on your phone that are the Pomodoro Technique, that will set up a 25-minute block. There are apps that will stop any notifications for that time so you don’t have to be keep looking at their phone because that’s the distraction that I’ve noticed, is that people are attached to their devices and have to be aware of every beep and every notification and everything that comes as opposed to blocking time. So the Pomodoro Technique has been pretty effective and most students have implemented that in terms of working on their procrastination skills or adjusting… changing behaviors.
John: So why do students have these misperceptions?
David: Good question. I come from a K-12 environment. I was a secondary science teacher for 18 years. I was a district administrator for another 12. So, coming from the K-12 environment, what my message was to them is that you were taught by loving, caring educators who were passionate about what they did and did the best they could with what they had… based on the information. That might not have been entirely best practices of what we now know about neuroscience and how the brain learns and the effective study strategies on the materials from Make It Stick. So, I think they grew up with whatever progression they went through. One thing I did notice is that students who struggled… that worked hard in school but just got into collegehellip; still struggle with the workload. What surprised me was talking to some studentshellip; is the students who were the bright ones… the ones that got it quick in school… that went through high school with no challenges… come here and all of a sudden, they’re placed in a situation where now they have to study and do all those things and they don’t have the skill sets to study. Just coming up through, I think our assumption is we feel that students know how to study because they’re in college and really what’s taking place is students aren’t really taught how to study. I think the assumption that students know how to study probably backs all the way down into fifth, sixth grade. I think we had some earlier comments where we were talking about us being in school and teachers made us write flashcards. We didn’t understand why and they might not have understood why, but we made flashcards. Now, as that is an appropriate practice, or one that works that you know, that can be integrated into a spaced practice and it’s really just teaching them a little bit about neuroscience… how the brains learns… how that all we do is encode, consolidate, and retrieve… and how do you build those principles and practices using technology… using skillsets… managing their time and trying to put that into a package where they can begin to see it. Because once they see it, then they want to improve their studies so they may begin doing it… so they go to bed earlier, they get better sleep and they begin to change their behaviors. I didn’t expect that but it was an awesome sidebar from that.
John: Part of it is, as you said, they haven’t always had much practice or training in learning how to learn and partly that may be because many of the teachers didn’t have the same…
John: …people have been just doing the same things that seemed right for an awfully long time… and one of the problems, though, with some of the evidence-based practices is that it doesn’t feel quite as good… because when you try to work on retrieval practice, after you’ve been away from a topic for a while, it doesn’t feel as good as perhaps repeatedly rereading something until it looks so familiar that you think you understand it. So there is that fluency illusion that people get that feels really comfortable and when you do some low-stakes testing or when you do some attempts at retrieval, you realize you may not understand it quite as well and it doesn’t give you the same sort of reward immediately. So it takes some training, I would think, for students to be convinced that these methods really do work. It sounds like you’ve been able to achieve that in your classes.
David: One of the advantages is it’s a setup so that we use the class and the content within the class as a training mechanism. So, they’ll practice working on a flashcard app to learn the app and then create flashcards for the content. One of the things they do have to do because the modules I set up are in a worksheet form so the initial encoding part is our instructional part. The consolidate part is them now going into another class and applying it in another class and showing the evidence in mine. So that they’re forced to, not only just use it in mine, but now go into a Psych 100 or a LIT course or whatever they’re in to create flashcards, create mind maps, begin to incorporate that… and we map out, When are your tests,?” So, how far do you already have to back up. So it’s really just coaching them on how to utilize those strategies and to get them so they can begin to internalize that to meet with their success.
Rebecca: Do you find that the students are a little resistant at the beginning or do you think because you’re providing the evidence and the science behind… the reasons behind… why you might use a method, is that what’s helping?
David: Well I think it’s a combination of both. Part of it is they have to go through the MOOC… so it’s not me presenting the science. Then we have a series of videos. There’s a gentleman by the name of Thomas Frank, who has a series of videos on studying and using it, so he has a more modern twist to it, being late twenty-something or just through college so it’s a more animated video. And then I’m in class to give suggestions, those type of things, but once they saw that on the first day school, they take a quiz and fail it and then realize that they don’t know what they think they know, then they’re pretty open to “this is what we’re gonna do for the semester.”
Rebecca: Sounds pretty motivating.
John: It is a motivating technique, yeah.
David: Well, I had one student once say like, “first day in college and I’ve already failed a quiz.” I’m like, “rather fail it now then in 15 weeks.”
David: …that’s the poise. It’s really just redefining their tool sets and introducing new ones… and not everyone takes to everything. Like, mind mapping is a classic example. whether it’s Tony Buzan’s method, but I’m very mind map oriented, but a lot of students have a negative experience towards it and I said, “if you want to be a teacher you may never do a mind map but you will know how to do a mind map, because you may have a student that needs to know how to do it and you have to be able to teach it so even if it’s not for you and you don’t like it, you darn well better know how to be able to help someone else learn it.” It’s redefining a different role for the teacher as our candidates come through as be more knowledgeable base, more pragmatic, and more understanding on what effectively works because they can then share that information with their students.
Rebecca: So what do we do for all those students who aren’t in your class in their first year, right, who aren’t becoming teachers but they’re, you know, trying to exist in this system, who might also have the same exact struggles that your students have? What’s your recommendation?
David: Well again, Thomas Francas has great videos and whether it’s how to read a college textbook, how to take flashcards, how to do any of that. That’s one aspect– knowing that you need help is another aspect. We have the success tutors that that have those skill sets, are using the same information to help other students. So, I think there’s resources on campus to support that.
John: …and our Student Success specialists or I do are very familiar with all these techniques and they work with students that are struggling to help build that up.
David: Right, and I think looking at it from a instructor side of the house, just as people become familiar with the strategies… is making those known..making the strategies known. If you’re teaching an Economics course or teaching whatever, if you say there’s a set list of vocabulary or concepts that you need to know, you know, put them in flashcards, go to these links, it’s not like you have to prepare everything because you can’t make meaning for someone else… they have to make it on their own… but you have to provide those initial concepts or the information because the student has to be able to take it in, but telling them how to take it in or just pointing them to links can facilitate that process. I don’t think anyone really comes here with a desire to flunk out, you want to be successful, but some of the times, they get paralyzed by the paralysis of the whole situation.
John: Some of it can be done through course design too, so that they are designed to include some level of retrieval practice,
John: … some amount of interleaved practice,
John: ….and some spaced practice.
David: Yup, yeah, absolutely. And those type of structures in the redesign isn’t that large of a jump to do for the professional side of the house. The biggest thing I can tell for any student, the simplest thing to do if you’re feeling that stressed is breathe. It’s kind of funny… whenever you’re upset, what do people tell you to do they tell you to breathe and just from a physiological standpoint, taking deep breaths… slow deep breaths… once you start breathing about six breaths a minute, there’s a branch of the vagus nerve of the parasympathetic system of our physiology that automatically slows the body down. So, when you’re taking a test, what do you do? Breathe slowly. If you get stressed out on it, draw a circle around every fifth question so that every fifth question, you’re just taking three deep breaths just to say, “this is all right, we can do this.” And you that will calm the physiology and reduce that stress response of seeing an exam… the fight, flight, or freeze… and we’ve all experienced those… with varying degrees of success. [LAUGHTER]
John: But we want to set up a system where students generally be successful.
David: Absolutely… Absolutely.
Rebecca: So you’ve talked about the Pomodoro Technique… you’ve talked about breathing… you’ve talked about flashcards. What are some other key things that instructors could help students think about as strategies to be successful?
John: Well, you mentioned sleep, too.
Rebecca: Sleeping’s good.
John: And that’s something students often have trouble with.
David: Well it was interesting because there was a presentation done once and one of my students… I commented that she would stay up till 2-3 in the morning texting her friends and then they got that part of the MOOC and talking about sleep and she’s the one that started to go to bed at a more reasonable hour to be able to sleep. I think if one hasn’t read Make It Stick… that’s a great book and I think for a lot of us on the professional side of the house… as instructors we’re like the great white shark of our content, we’re the rogue, we’re at the top of the food chain. But one of the things, I think, the book does is lays out for you this way in which people encode information, consolidate, and retrieve it and I think having that as a foundation and then, reaching out to the center here for like, “how would you design something? I’m struggling with this” and just say “I want to reach the students” because I think a lot of professors do want to make those connections with the students. I think there’s help and support on campus to help people in designing those strategies. Personally I start with trying to give the overview… try to give the gestalt of the course… “what’s the wholeness gonna look like” and then just lay out the clear objectives and then integrate and make the assignments, being those flashcards and studying and there’s just so many ways to communicate, I guess. Even taking Barbara Oakley’s MOOC Learning How to Learn and just learning some of the basis from the neuroscience, even from the students. Have students get together informally and go through it. It doesn’t really take a lot, all the information’s out there.
John: And if I recall, it’s offered every month isn’t it? It’s a four-week MOOC and it’s offered very regularly.
David: Well it’s a four week…, like every week now, I think. For those who aren’t aware of the MOOC through Coursera, a MOOC is a massively open online course, Coursera is a vendor for that and Barbara Oakley’s MOOC. I think last year i read in the New York Times where it was the most popular MOOC on the planet.
John: It is i believe still the most popular MOOC…
David: I know when I took it, I took it with two hundred and seventy-five thousand other people at the same time. That was a few years back. Integrating that type of information and layering it into a course just gives a different feel for the students. And as I tell them even though they’re freshmen and transfer, I said “if you’re going to be a teacher, down the road, some of your professional development is going to be delivered through these.” So, we’re just getting them ready orientating them. Well there’s just you know some really simple information that people can do to design, redesign, and be more effective, more engaging and have students be more successful.
Rebecca: I’ve had students respond very positively when you explain why you might do a particular technique or a method. At first it seems like “why are we doing this? why are we doing quizzes?” but if you explain why and how it helps they’re much less resistant and actually embrace the idea. I’ve had students ask for more quizzes because they’ve learned how it’s helpful…
David: That just reminds me of, in our lesson plan development, as the students are going through it… one of the parts of the lesson plan development I have after activating prior knowledge is setting the purpose… and setting the purpose is “so, why is this lesson important? why do you need to know it? How many courses have we ever been in that no one’s ever told us why we’re there and you’re absolutely correct. Once you say the why and give the explanation, it creates an association or connection with the student and that’s one of those underpinning things… as the more associations you can connect to them, then the more apt you’re gonna have their buy-in to engage you in the content.
Rebecca: I think a lot of times students see assessments like quizzes and tests as some sort of penalty…put you in the penalty box or whatever… and that’s a faculty member’s way of torture or something, but as soon as you say that the purpose of doing this is to help you recall information and to make sure that you have that foundational knowledge, you can continue building in these more advanced classes. They stop seeing it that way and it’s pretty amazing that it doesn’t take much of a conversation… it takes having the conversation.
John: And the more frequently you do that, the easier it is for them to get past that because high-stakes testing is stressful, but if you replace it with lower stakes testing and more regular testing, it’s easier for them to see that they’re learning from this experience and it doesn’t hurt them as much if they screw up… that it’s an opportunity for them to improve and continue…
Rebecca: However your students responded after your class like moving into these upper-level classes because you’ve been doing it long enough now that probably some of them are now in those advanced courses I would imagine.
David: Part of it is coming up through the pipeline and having viewed or patterned assessments or quizzes as the “gotcha” and getting hammered. Ken and Rita Dunne, one of the things they stressed that I always kind of stress is “high content, low threat.” So, whenever you can engage and have your material be of high content but a low threat, students are more apt to engage because they don’t have that fear reaction going on and I think it’s changing that patterning by having the conversations that these are beneficial for you. So, that’s my thought on the quizzes. Some of them continue that patterning and that’s one of the things where I try to keep it going for the semester in hopes that they’re gradually continuing to do those processes, those strategies to continue their learning. The one thing about teaching the freshmen… I’m probably one of the few faculty members that have this interesting purview because I see them as freshmen or transfers coming in, I’ll see them as their block one junior EDU 303 practicum. I’ll touch base with them again for the ADO students that take 394 as their block two, so I have them as a class and than in block 4 when they’re seniors going through the the end of the pipeline. So I can see their growth along the way from that and…
John: And ADO is adolescent
David: Yeah, the adolescent, yeah… and that one they’re constructing the lesson plans, they’re trying to see how this all fits together, trying to pull on multiple layers. We revisit Make it Stick because in all my courses that’s just part of it. So, they’ll read the book as a textbook in that section… so then they can begin to refresh like “Oh, I remember when we did this” and “how’s it going?” and then we have conversations on when they’ve been using it and how effective it’s been. I just keep trying and plugging away and stepping up to the plate…. every day you get to take a new swing
John: And the more people who do that in their classes and certainly the more people who are trained to do that at lower levels in elementary and secondary school, the better off students will be.
David: Yeah… especially nowadays when you you look at the various challenges in a k-12 environment. If you can begin to seed the ground with what works and just focus on that then we’ll be okay.
John: Do students go on and use these practices in other classes after they’ve been exposed to them in your intro level course?
David: Part of it, once they leave me is trying to continue that propagation based on the courses they’re in. Some of the strategies are more effective in some content areas than in others. Math is always a struggle in terms of looking at applying the flashcards while you can do color coding or dual coding where you’re including images or multicolored in the equations as you follow different variables through an equation sequence, those type of things. The other thing is that the strategies, and this might be one of the misconceptions students have, learning isn’t easy. Some people comment like “well if I just sit here I should get an A”…… but learning is messy… learning’s organic… learnings dynamic… and learning takes a lot of work and sometimes, depending on the student’s course load and what they’re taking… if you’re taking a 4-credit science course, you got three hours of lecture and a three hour lab somewhere in the week… having been a science major and having a lot of hours on a lab. So part of it is finding time to create the materials… the mind maps… the flashcards. Those students who have a better time management… work ethic, those are the underpinnings I think that makes this a successful student and that they put forth the time and schedule that to do all those things that are necessary, whether it’s creating a mind map or whether it’s creating flashcards or creating the time intervals for the spaced practice or when to do the spaced practice. I was talking to a friend who used flashcards and whenever she was grocery shopping for her family picked the longest line because it wasn’t about getting out of the grocery store fastest, it was about being in the line the longest as she pulled out her set of flashcards and reviewed them in the line at the grocery store. You can find intervals to do those type of things.
John: I always wondered why there were always more people in the longest lines. Maybe…Maybe they’ve been in your class [LAUGHTER].
Rebecca: Yeah… everybody’s doing flashcards.
David: Then again yeah, flashcards is just one aspect of that but you can integrate that from a quiz standpoint… from a retrieval…. and one thing that could be interesting is when you look at the research on flashcards, or how to create them, there isn’t the level of “how do you create” going down Bloom’s continuum of higher processing from a flashcard aspect. A lot of the information we see is low level…. vocabulary words, or those type of things… but how do you all of a sudden take two flashcards and compare them and say “compare and contrast these two concepts of something…” and so how do you get a bigger cognitive load going from using those… and the designing of flashcards… that’d be a great study for someone to do. I’lljust put that out for anyone who’d want to. [LAUGHTER]
John: You get to work with students a bit later in their academic careers that you worked with earlier. How do they respond when they come back in upper-level classes? What do they say about their experiences?
David: Usually, semesters later they forgot about me. [LAUGHTER]
Yeah, but one of the things we try and do at the end of the course is they have a five-minute presentation they have to do… and I give them the slides and so it’s like “how has this changed you?” and they go through and reflect on that. So, I give them a template of what the presentation is and it’s their five minutes of fame where they get to begin to find their teaching voice, and it’s the first time they’re in front of the class talking about it. So, you talk about how they how they did it. In terms of seeing them later on, the people who use flashcards and grew up continue using them and then you have various levels of people who took the buy-in to create those processes. The other thing is you try to encourage them to use it, so as they’re developing their mini unit you have them do the flashcards to go with the unit… you have them do the mind map. So, you have them go through it, and I think from that aspect, they recall fairly quickly what it is they needed to do to generate it… and then it reminds them like “oh, yeah.”
John: But, if we do this in more classes and we use them or we structure our classes so that students naturally adapt some of these practices, it’s going to help reinforce these things… and the more people are reminded of how important this is and how their usual practices may be really helpful in cramming for a test the next day but aren’t going to allow them to remember the things much past that day.
David: Right. In the real world you have to remember those things past that day.
Rebecca: A couple of the themes that you were mentioning most recently is about time management and the work ethic component fitting into this and so it seems like that’s the next discussion. How do you make sure that students know what is a good work ethic? Do they even know? Do these conversations happen? I’m not sure that they do.
David: You can see those students that have work ethic pretty quick …and I’m just trying to flashback through courses and images through my head of students… from a freshman those that are asking questions… those that are getting work done and turning things on time… those who are turning it in early… those who who show up to class earlier… and sitting there… they have a certain level of comfort within themselves… where they’ll ask a question. Truth be told, I didn’t feel comfortable asking a question in college till after seven years of college… not that it took me that long to get a bachelor’s degree… it wasn’t till after I did my student teaching a long time ago… and after I did my student teaching I learned how to study. I did the outlines before the chapter. The following semester I went for a neuroscience certification taking our geology courses. So, I outlined the chapters before I walked in there. I pre-taught myself the material. I laid out all my notes and stuff before the lecture… had the conversations because then it was internalized to me that this was important… and I think until someone gets that into their intrinsic fabric of themselves… where they want to take this as being important… and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I think that’s the big thing. People who are serious know to get the job done. They’ll do the work and they’ll do it to what they need to do… and if you give them criticism and feedback, they correct it.
Rebecca: I’m hearing a growth mindset described.
David: It is.
Rebecca: …you’re open to feedback… The the real challenge is how do you get students with the fixed mindset, who maybe don’t have that work ethic. or good time management skills. to get on board.
John: …and you mention that case about some students earlier who had done really well in high school and then suddenly struggle when they get here. Those, empirically, tend to be the students who have a fixed mindset… where they’ve been successful with the techniques they’ve used, but once they have to move into a new environment or they have to engage in more transfer than they had to earlier… suddenly face some struggle and it’s a shock to them and they often give up.
David: Well, and one of the interesting things, though, and this they’ll need to be reminded of, but within all of us we have growth and fixed mindsets.
David: So, I could have… I’m not picking on math but I’ll pick on that…. Most students… math is not a strong aspect, because really the only time you do math is in math class. No one asks you when you’re walking down a street to factor a quadratic equation, right?
John: Well, rarely… [LAUGHTER]
David: …rarely… but you consider a musician. They know with practice they get better. In sports, you know with practice you’ll get better. In math, if you practice you’ll get better. So, part of that is understanding the context of which it is. I may struggle in math but I might be a musician in the band, and so I know. So, you have to kind of transfer where they have been successful in showing them, in this part where they’re not being successful, how they can be. Because, if you can tap into a person’s growth mindset… and it could be in a K-12 environment. You have somebody I saw students riding their skateboards… phenomenal skateboarder… can do all these tricks… will spend hours learning a trick, right? That whole idea can be shifted to their studies as well. How long did it take you to learn this trick?
John: How many times did you fall you know along the way.
David: …and how many times did you fall? The culture is changing where, not only are we imparting the information to the students, but we’re also being their coach. We’re trying to nurture them. We look at them as adults coming here… without the parents for the first time. The baton we’re handed is actually trying to nurture them into the adult working life and understanding how we learn… how we process information… how we interact… the building of rapport. how do the rapport aspect is all part and parcel… I feel… what we need to do… or what we do… I know it’s what I do.
John: How did you integrate the MOOC into your class?
David: I build the class around modules that last two weeks. So, with the beginning of class, I took some of the material from the MOOC or what the topics were and then I created worksheets based around that. So, if it was procrastination then there’s articles that they were reading in, and picking up on, and getting their takeaways… So, that part was teaching the foundational aspects of of how these strategies work, and then giving them time to practice and doing them within the two weeks. The MOOC they can view offline. They can take the quizzes. The other thing I did, is with Barbara Oakley, she had Coursera set me up as an administrator for my course. So, then I could just upload my class list to it and then it would keep track of the quizzes…
John: Oh, nice.
David: …and then I could download the the grades or whatever. So, she was giving him the content on one side; we were building in related practiced and article support on the other side. Then the consolidation part… and I broke it down into it an encoding section of the worksheet, a consolidation, and a retrieval part basically patterning our learning process. So, watching videos and reading we’re encoding… applying the material was the consolidation… and then their reflection and the reflections based on making a video, responding to an interview question, or reflecting on their experience over the two weeks… and they were able to communicate those. So, part of it is just finding out what the MOOC is doing, getting materials that kind of pattern that (that’s where I brought in you know the Thomas Frank videos and other support materials).
John: The learning scientists also have some good ones.
David: Yeah, exactly, and I use a lot of the Learning Scientist’s material and McDaniel’s site deals with retrieval practice, so there’s a variety of things. We try to overlay the MOOC with Make it Stick and strategies there to create an environment that over the first four weeks they’re experiencing… they’re learning… and they’re beginning to apply… and then as we build out the other modules, we still keep repeating… For example this is module four we’re in and one of the things I’m training them in is advanced search strategies. What are the topics they’re going to be searching? Well, there’s eight setups within the lab so… elaboration… retrieval… spaced practice… those are the deep research things. So, each group has to now prepare a presentation, but they have to do the research. What’s the research that supports this? and what are strategies to help? So, now there’ll be eight presentations of the 8 strategies that they’ve learned. Trying to deepen and make touch points through the semester and keep reminding them… constantly reminding… constant… constant…[LAUGHTER]
John: So, what are you going to do next?
David: Well, next will be a continuation with the Computer Science…. Looking for more in-depth application across the content areas to help students… and then professionally, this summer, working with Educational Administration Department and their Project Blend Symposium. We’ll be doing the third installment of Resiliency and Leadership working with the Institute of HeartMath. So, outside of that, we’ll continue to work in those areas of heart-brain synchronicity and just working and having fun.
John: Thank you for joining us. It’s been a pleasure.
David: It’s been my pleasure. Thank you very much.
Rebecca: It’s always great to hear what you’re doing in your classes and the results and thanks for sharing that for everybody else.
David: Very good, thank you .
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Rebecca: You can find show notes, transcripts, and other materials on teaforteaching.com. Music by Michael Gary Brewer.