Science of Learning: Extrinsic Learning in Education

After talking about both extrinsic and extrinsic motivation, how does this apply to education? I'll start by touching on some of the extrinsic motivators in education that get us and our students to play our part. In formal education, the further along you progress, the more extrinsic the motivators become. By the third grade, children … Continue reading Science of Learning: Extrinsic Learning in Education

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Science of Learning: Intrinsic Motivation

When I was growing up, I was a Yankees baseball fan. They were winning, my third-grade teacher read us a story about Mickey Mantle, and my dad loved the Dodgers – so I picked the Yankees. I listened to an interview on the radio with Reggie Jackson one day – Mr. October – and was … Continue reading Science of Learning: Intrinsic Motivation

Science of Learning: Extrinsic Motivation

Over the next few days, I will present a few articles about academic motivation. First, I need to lay the groundwork for understanding the basics of motivation. Ryan and Deci are the two principle researchers in this field, and they tell us that intrinsic motivation is the self-desire to seek out new things and new … Continue reading Science of Learning: Extrinsic Motivation

Cramming – You Don’t Learn from Episodic Memory

Thoughts about Higher Education

Actually cramming works to pass a test, and for millions of students that is the only goal for their education. Eighty-five percent of the students entering university in 2016 were doing so in order to get a qualification that would lead to a better job. For them, cramming works, because they have no intention to learn anything, just get a degree.

Research tells us that immediately following a lecture, students recall about 42% of the material. Two weeks later, they recall about 20%. A year later, they recall less than 10%. Although cramming will get a student through an exam, they don’t really learn anything.

The why is really quite simple. When students study for a test they are using what is called episodic memory. Episodic memory is a type of memory that we use every day. When you think about what you ate for breakfast this morning or what…

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The Failed Promise of Technology

Thoughts about Higher Education

Why is it that technology has not revolutionized education. The promise of the decades has failed to fundamentally change education in any meaningful way. With all the educational technologies promising to change the world, I still have to agree with  William Bagley (1934) “If I were seriously ill and in desperate need of a physician, and if by some miracle I could secure either Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, or a young imgresdoctor fresh from John Hopkins School of Medicine, with his equipment comprising the latest developments in the technologies and techniques of medicine, I should, of course, take the young doctor. On the other hand, if I were commissioned to find a teacher for a group of adolescent boys, and if by some miracle, I could secure Socrates or the latest Ph.D. from Teachers College, with his latest technologies and techniques of teaching,… I am fairly certain that I…

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What is Needed for Learning to Think

Thoughts about Higher Education

There are three primary ingredients necessary to teach students how to think. They are 1) a way to motivate the students to engage in the process, 2) the ideal way for them to learn how to think, and 3) a technology that allows you to bring the other two together and scale it up to class sizes just under 100. It took some time for me to find a way to bring all three together, but I figured it out and have been teaching that way for about seven years now.

The method of teaching works when the students have a basic background in the subject. This method has worked across a variety of subjects from Learning and Education  and Social Cognition (subjects you would expect the students to love learning with the method I use), to Advanced Research Methods. When you teach students they way they learn and…

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Higher Thinking and Higher Education

Virtually every higher education institution has in its mission statement or some other sloganistic pronouncement reference to the development of critical thinking skills - also known as higher thinking skills of formal operational thinking. We know from extensive research that brain development during adolescence confers on adults without intellectual disability the ability to engage in … Continue reading Higher Thinking and Higher Education

Willful Blindness & Education

Thoughts about Higher Education

Both the education and the higher part of higher education is broken.Research is the only game in town and as that relies more and more heavily on private (read: commercial) funding the research game becomes more and more private (and trivial).

Research is the only game in town and as that relies more and more heavily on private (read: commercial) funding the research game becomes more and more private (and trivial).

In my last post, I presented the sorry state of affairs in equipping our graduates with thinking skills. The ability to engage in formal operational thinking may be inherent, but the skills necessary to use formal operational thinking must be taught. With up to 40% of our graduates unable to engage in formal operational thinking, we aren’t doing a good job of teaching it. This is what the higher in higher education stands for, higher thinking skills.

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Cognitive Development and Higher Education

Thoughts about Higher Education

Cognitive development across the lifespan throws up an interesting problem for us here in Higher Education.There is fairly widespread agreement that Piaget got his developmental stages pretty close to the mark as he described how people develop from infancy through to adulthood. Although there is some argument about the details, with some adjustments that have been made here and there, the basic premise has pretty well stood the test of time.

There is fairly widespread agreement that Piaget got his developmental stages pretty close to the mark as he described how people develop from infancy through to adulthood. Although there is some argument about the details, with some adjustments that have been made here and there, the basic premise has pretty well stood the test of time.

The quandary faced by the higher education community lies in the final stage of cognitive development proposed by Piaget. The formal operational thinking…

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Information Scarcity – Students

Although faculty and the institutions strive to keep the information scarcity model of information alive and kicking for their own benefit, students are just as resistant to change as the other two. This seems paradoxical as students are the primary beneficiary of a move to an information abundance model. We know that students gain little or … Continue reading Information Scarcity – Students