This slides below summarizes the workshop at the 2016 Teaching Academic Survival Skills (TASS) Conference in Fort Lauderdale, FL., on March 21. While the slides don’t include the interactive activities and ad-lib segments of the presentation, they summarize much of the events content.
The 45-minute workshop was presented by Leonard Geddes, founder of The LearnWell Projects.
Students cannot solve their academic problems with the same thinking that created them. Thinking drives all academic activity. It affects every aspect of learning — studying, writing, reading, note taking, problem-solving, etc. Yet students don’t understand the relationships among critical components of their thinking. Without this appreciation, they are destined for ineffective thinking and academic underperformance. This workshop uses research-based insights and field-test tools to help educators develop effective thinking practices among their students.
Students often become aggrieved at professors when they feel like their studying is futile. They don’t realize that they’re in the midst of a negative knowledge transfer experience. Researchers have identified two specific types of transfer: near and far. Near transfer experiences are those in which the skills are similar across contexts, while far transfer involves skills that differ across contexts. The farther the transfer experience, the less likely the skills are to transfer. The common experience students report of feeling like the material they studied is not reflected on their tests and tasks is a far transfer experience. We will learn what far transfer experiences look like, feel like and sound like, and how to convert them into near transfer experiences. The result will be more effective studying and higher performance.
Students have faulty mental models about what complex learning entails. The S-Curve of Learning portrays a more accurate depiction of complexity. It provides students a mental model to locate their learning experience as they grapple with complex topics. They can literally visualize the imperceptible abstract changes that occur as content transforms from fragile, surface information to stable, usable knowledge.
An oldie, but goodie! Most people define metacognition as “thinking about thinking.” However, the construct is far more complex. This is one of my favorite definitions because it distills and operationalizes metacognition.
Metacognition creates the conditions for how one will think. These are some questions that metacognitively aware students will reflexively ponder as they navigate their learning task.
Metacognition has been linked to an impressive array of successful learning qualities. By enhancing students’ metacognitive skills, we impact a variety of critical learning characteristics.
Used my more than 3,000 college and universities throughout the world, the ThinkWell-LearnWell Diagram helps align students’ metacognitive functioning and cognitive activity with their learning outcomes. It then solidifies this process by helping students ascribe value to various cognitive processes. Superficially, the diagram serves as a powerful metaphor that helps visualize learning phenomena that occur in every learning environment. Functionally, it’s used to: 1) differentiate commonly conflated thinking skills, 2) align critical cognitive components, and 3) ascribe value to learning outcomes. Students work horizontally and vertically from isolation toward integration as they develop into critical thinkers and deep learners.
The 1st column is the most important aspect of the diagram because it triggers everything else. The greatest challenge is detecting its operation.
The second column features Bloom’s Taxonomy of Higher Order Thinking Skills. It is the most recognizable column to educators. However, students’ thinking is triggered by the encompassing metacognitive conditions (the 1st column).
The third column features the most visible element of learning. The outcomes in this column are the result of the preceding work.
How do students determine what their work is worth? Far too often students overestimate the quality of their work. Researchers categorize this process as “judgments of knowledge,” and they’ve found that students are poor judges of their knowledge. When educators and students value work differently significant problems can occur. The brain associates value to repeatedly used functions. So when students who’ve consistently used memorization on academic tasks enter environments that require higher-level thinking, their brain may still automatically trigger memorization skills. By helping students ascribe new values to thinking skills, they can recalibrate their thinking. Learning is mutually rewarding for educators and student when they judge their knowledge similarly.
This image shows the flow and progression of students’ cognition as it moves from ephemeral interactions to solid outcomes. When we make the components of students’ thinking more visible, they become better managers of their learning and more effective learners.
Studying is what researchers call a goal driven activity. This simply means that we don’t study for the sake of studying, we do so to meet goals. For students, these goals are rarely defined, yet they still dictate students’ learning. By tapping into the cognitive metrics and psychological confirmations that guide students’ learning, we can help them emerge as successful learners. The Learning Sufficiency Diagram enables students and educators to perceive students’ metrics and confirmations, and helps them determine when students have shifted from one thinking skill to another. Download a PDF version for FREE at: https://www.thelearnwellprojects.com/tools/
Below are a few articles from our blog that expound upon many of the points contained in these slides.