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Self-regulated learning September 6, 2011

Posted by mareserinitatis in education, engineering, teaching.
Tags: , , ,

This week, I tried to cram a whole bunch of stuff into one lecture.  I was worried about it being too short, but I ended up cutting some of the details to make it fit into my 50 minute slot.

As a complete aside, I’m amazed that I have managed to write two lectures and have them fit into a 50 minute slot.  No, I didn’t run through them beforehand to make sure they were the right length.  I don’t imagine I’ll be this lucky so often.

The class had four segments.

First, I talked about what self-regulated learning is, i.e. that students should set goals for their learning and continually be evaluating and learning from their lecture, homework, and exam experiences.  I tried to make the discussion very high level. (For more information on self-regulated learning, you can take a look at the presentation by Marsha Lovett (pdf) or the Carleton geoscience pages on teaching metacognition.)  I then said we were going to practice this, so I covered a bit about active listening practices.  I made a point of showing them a plot contained in the Lovett presentation showing how badly students will overestimate, in most cases, their comprehension of the information.

The next segment of the lecture came from the book Brain Rules: I went over how we learn physiologically, and impediments to learning (stress, lack of sleep, multitasking/distractions).  The reason I did this is because it serves as a basis for later recommendations on studying.  For instance, Brain Rules talks about how it is important to repeat exposure to information within an hour lest that information be lost.  When talking to students about studying, this provides a reason for reviewing notes as quickly as possible after class.

I then had the students break into groups and try to come up with the themes for the previous segment.  Most groups got the section on how the brain learns and the impediments to learning.  A couple groups threw in active learning, and several groups broke out some of the subsections for the different parts of the talk.  We went over what each group thought were the themes and then I discussed what I thought were the themes so that they’d have some feedback.

The last part of the talk was about notetaking.  Some of the information on this was taken from the book Learning Outside the Lines (which I bought for the older boy and then immediately stole from him), mixed in with some of the information from Brain Rules.  I told them that notetaking has three parts: going over information before class (and preparing questions), the actual act of notetaking in class (and several variations of layout/methods, which was the largest part of the discussion), and then reviewing the notes after class, taking time to evaluating meaning.

Their assignment for next week is to try a couple different methods of notetaking and then evaluate them.  Again, this goes back to being a self-regulating learner: they need to try new things and then evaluate them, implementing changes if a particular method doesn’t work.

When I was writing up the lecture, it didn’t hang together too well, and I realized that some of it was that I was focusing on the individual sets of information I wanted to get across.  Once I realized I needed to shoot for themes, it went together much better and followed a logical progression.

And only two students slept through the lecture this morning.  We’ll see how the rest of the week goes.



1. Kari - September 6, 2011

two students out of how many?


mareserinitatis - September 6, 2011

About 25 or 30.


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