Planning for Effective Student Learning


Extract from Issue#14 of Teaching Tuesdays@CSU

All issues of Teaching Tuesdays can be accessed through the folder at this link

By Dr Tyler J Griffin

(How to subscribe: Staff with a CSU email address can obtain the Magna Commons CSU subscription code from Ellen McIntyre

Below the Surface: Strategies for Deep and Lasting Learning could be sub-titled A’s for enabling deep and lasting learning. The seven “A” concepts may seem familiar and Dr Griffin makes the sensible suggestion not to try and follow all of these in your own subject all at once!

As a bonus, the supplementary material for this webinar provides reflective questions for each of the A’s to help you work out the relevance to your own context.

In line with our topic this week of logical presentation of teaching material, I have drawn out two key statements from each of the A’s. This thought-provoking webinar is well worth the 45 minutes of your time to provide pointers to where you can improve your own practice.

Adjustments: Principle – most subjects need tweaks, not redesigns

  • Be proactive – tell students up front about the main struggle points
  • Identify with students, why this difficult unit is essential to their degree or context – provides motivation to engage and persevere

Audience: Principle – Learning is deeper and lasts longer when we teach learners … not lessons!

  • Know your audience
  • Recognise cognitive load – give their brains a chance to process what you’ve taught before you pile on more content

Applicability: Principle – Learning is deeper and lasts longer when students have a foundation of context and applicability to their lives

  • Use front-loaded relevance, so students understand from the start of the lesson: why they are learning the content and what they will get out of it
  • Create context before introducing learning resources – “Look for …” pointers before watching a video, or engaging with text

Adaptability: Principle – Learning is deeper and lasts longer when students “fire on more cylinders” of learning abilities

  • Where possible, use all three Ex’s of learning: Explanations, Examples (including non-examples), Experience
  • Mix it up! Deliver bite-sized blocks of instruction inter-spaced with appropriate attention getters and context builders

Accentuation: Principle – Learning is deeper and lasts longer when students process critical information in multiple ways, over time

  • List the knowledge, skills and application that you want students to NEVER forget after taking your subject/class
  • Employ the SPACING EFFECT – determines how strong the item is in memory: Recency, Frequency, Potency

Assessments: Principle – Learning is deeper and lasts longer when students work on increasingly more complex “whole tasks”

  • Front loading – here’s some of the things you are going to be able to do; here’s some of the problems you are going to be able to solve.
  • Focusing on our INSPIRING Value, Real-world assessment:

QUOTE: Encourages students to be contributing members in society, and in their families, and in their workplace, and in their communities.

Achievement: Principle – Learning is deeper and lasts longer when students know how to learn in your field

  • Help students separate “products” from the “tools” and “processes” of learning in your Discipline.
  • The analogies in this section of the webinar will explain this concept.

Presentation handouts, full transcripts and supplementary resources are available for download from the Magna Commons website if you don’t have time to listen to the seminar.