Month: July 2017

Science of Learning: Attentive Thinking

Once students have planned where they want their thoughts to go, started their task or problem solving, persisted at getting the work started, they must focus. Focusing attention and concentrating on thinking is a difficult thing to do. Because of the energy requirements for…

Why The Science of Learning?

The Science of Learning is a blend of scientific knowledge. There is a wealth of scientific knowledge that has been accumulated about how people learn. The knowledge is spread across a number of disciplines and is brought together under the umbrella term The Science…

Science of Learning: Persistence and Activation

Persistence is sticking with something, but activation is starting something. In thinking, both are important. If we don’t start thinking (activation) we can’t persist with thinking, and there is no thinking at all. Halpern has persistence as one of the vital aspects of thinking….

Science of Learning: Self Correction

I wrote earlier this week about cognitive flexibility as a hallmark of higher order thinking skills. Closely following the flexibility to consider different thinking is the second (and I think the most important) of the characteristics of higher order thinking skills. This is the…

Science of Learning: Flexibility and Lecturing

I have written several articles about thinking and the evidence showing a lack of thinking in our students when they graduate. I have also written a few articles about lecturing, one of the most dearly held belief systems in higher education. I will use…

Science of Learning: Effect of Grades on Learning

Scott Wilson asked a question in a comment on another article about the effect of grades on learning. Here is a blog entry from one of my students from a few years ago on the exact topic. I have copied it in full because linking to…

Science of Learning: Lecture Enhancements

Any discussion about lecturing in higher education is bound to become passionate with proponents going to great lengths to defend their practice but with little or no evidence to support their assertions. The most effective argument for continuing to lecture is about the enhancement…

Science of Learning: Discovery Learning

I don’t normally write about non-higher education subjects but an article in today’s CBC Alberta news prompted me to say something about discovery-based learning. Discovery-based learning is not problem-based learning, which has been demonstrated to work extremely well when it is done right –…

Science of Learning: Assessment Driven Curriculum

“…from our students’ point of view, assessment always defines the actual curriculum (Ramsden, 2003)”. We all know that this is true, and like it or not, this is the way it is. What has the evidence said about the curriculum being driven by assessment?…

Science of Learning: Using Marks or Grades

The question of whether we should use marks, ranging from 0 – 100, or grades, usually A+ to F is a topic that often vexes teachers and can lead to heated discussions. There is scientific evidence that speaks to the topic. The question is…

Science of Learning: The Consequences of Lecturing

There are too many of you reading this article without reading the article that lays out what the evidence says about lecturing as a learning event. I would strongly recommend taking a few minutes to read the evidence article before reading the consequences article. The evidence…

Science of Learning: Lecturing

This article will have more teachers turn away than anything that I have written about. As methods of teaching go, lectures are the most widely used (90%) method of teaching in higher education today with the least effectiveness. Evidence There has been a long-running…