Category Archives: personal

Interleaving: Variety is the Spice of Learning

3-Star learning experiences

Paul A. Kirschner & Mirjam Neelen

interleaving 1

Last year, we wrote a blog on spaced learning and right before summer, we published one on retrieval practice. Both strategies are proven to be very effective for learning. There’s a third one that falls into the ‘effective learning strategy’ category –it’s evidence-informed – and that’s interleaving. And, no surprise probably, that’s what this blog is about. 😊

Two scenarios to paint the picture; one in an educational context, one in a workplace context.

interleaving 2Education – You, as the teacher, have taught a lesson or given your students a piece of text that they need to learn. Hopefully, they’ve learned the content of the lesson or the text and now they’re ready for the next step: practice. What we usually see is what we call ‘crammed practice’ or ‘massed practice’, meaning that students practice something repeatedly until they know it or until get…

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What if this study is correct and believing in neuromyths doesn’t matter?

From experience to meaning...

There is a new interesting study published in Frontiers on how the believe in neuromyths doesn’t seem to matter as the best teachers believe as much in neuromyths as regular teachers. You can check the study here and read a good analysis by Christian Jarrett at BPS Digest here. Ok, I want to add maybe just one thing to the analysis. The researchers picked teachers that were selected as winners of best teacher elections. The authors acknowledge this is a weak spot, as we don’t know how those teachers were selected. If you read the new book by Dylan William, you will discover how it’s almost impossible to find out which teachers are actually really good or which ones are doing a bad job. It’s hard to observe the difference between a bad teacher having a good day and a great teacher having a bad day.

It may…

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What often makes discussions about education so difficult, is what we all have in common

From experience to meaning...

There are always fierce discussions about education on Twitter, but this happens also outside the social media bubble. Some of those discussions can end op in real life cold wars. On a conference a few years back I experienced this strange situation: I’m talking with person A and a person B joins us. The three of us are all new to each other. Person B introduces himself to us and names the institute he is working for. Person A immediately states that he doesn’t want to talk to person B because their view on education. I was left feeling flabbergasted.

The strange thing is that most people discussing education have often more in common than they themselves might think.

  • we are all progressive, as in: we all want our children to progress,
  • we all hate the idea that social background determines your future,
  • we all want to best for children…

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A study prone to be misunderstood: a possible link between social media groups and academic performance

From experience to meaning...

Show me which groups you take part in on social media or which pages you like, and I’ll tell you how good you’ll do in school. Well, that could well be the interpretation of this study, but a couple of things:

  • correlation doesn’t mean causal relation (!)
  • being part of some social media groups means higher risk on performing less, but not necessarily.
  • Neither vice versa!
  • And no: it’s not a good idea to check the social media profiles of your students – privacy!!!

Now you know this, do read on. From the press release:

High school students’ membership in certain social media groups can be used to predict their academic performance, as demonstrated by Ivan Smirnov, junior research fellow at HSE’s Institute of Education. The analysis of school students’ membership in groups and communities was used to detect low-performing and high-performing students. https://www.aaai.org/ocs/index.php/ICWSM/ICWSM18/paper/viewFile/17798/17027 Teenagers’ performance at school can be…

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How to effectively build and leverage a personal learning network (PLN)

3-Star learning experiences

Mirjam Neelen & Paul A. Kirschner

This blog was inspired by a workshop on personal learning networks (PLNs), led by Helen Blunden, and attended by Mirjam in Ghent, Belgium at Learning Tech Day.

Intuitively, the usefulness of building and leveraging a PLN to continuously learn to improve your work makes a lot of sense (at least, it does to us). But what does the research say? And how do you effectively build and use a PLN?

We start by exploring what a PLN is and why it’s important in today’s work world. Then, we discuss how you can effectively build and leverage your own PLN (and as a bonus, you can use these pointers to support others to do the same!).

What’s a PLN and why is it important in today’s work world?

We define a PLN as a trusted network of current and former colleagues or other…

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What predicts best how much you will earn? A very novel way to study this…

From experience to meaning...

This morning Jan De Mol sent me this study and at first I was looking at the outcomes – remembering the present Marshmallow debate. But tonight when I looked again at the study I noticed that the method is the bigger news. The researchers used machine learning to compute a whole lot of data, and it left me wondering how this will influence further research.

Let’s look at the summary in the press release:

For the first time, Temple University researchers have used machine learning to rank the most important determinants of future affluence. Education and occupation were the best predictors — but surprisingly, a person’s ability to delay instant gratification was also among the most important determinants of higher income, beating age, race, ethnicity and height. Published in Frontiers in Psychology, the study suggests that interventions to improve this “delay discounting” could have literal payoffs in terms…

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Cognitive biases and educational research, an overview by John Hattie

From experience to meaning...

John Hattie published an interesting post with an overview of possible cognitive biases translated to educational research. I do urge you to read the full post here, but wanted to share the biases here too:

Cognitive Bias Category Description
Authority Bias Tendency to attribute greater weight and accuracy to the opinions of an authority figure – irrespective of whether this is deserved – and to be influenced by it

EDUCATION: Don’t be swayed by famous titled gurus. Carefully unpick and test of all their assumptions – especially if they are making claims outside the specific area of expertise. Be particularly suspicious of anyone who writes and publishes a white paper [!!!]

Confirmation Bias

 

Post-Purchase Rationalization

 

Choice-Support Bias

The tendency to collect and interpret information in a way that conforms with rather than opposes our existing beliefs.

And when information is presented which contradicts current beliefs this can…

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