Module 2: Principles of Learning, Part 2
Feedback and Motivation
In this module, you’ll explore a few key principles of learning drawn from cognitive and psychological science research. You’ll hear from experienced STEM instructors about how these learning principles play out in their classrooms. Module developers Derek Bruff and Michele DiPietro will explain these principles and discuss teaching practices that tap into them. And we’ll ask you to reflect on your own experiences as learners to better understand these principles and set the stage for future weeks of the course.
Please see the Facilitator Guide 2015 for Module 2 for some suggestions of activities you can do in your MCLC or classroom to dive deeper into these topics.
Principle #3: Feedback
Week 2 Introduction (2.1.0)
Dr. Derek Bruff from Vanderbilt University and Dr. Trina McMahon from the University of Wisconsin introduce the concepts and content that will be covered in week two of the course.
Challenge Cycles in Engineering, Part 1 (2.1.1)
Dr. Anita Mahadevan-Jansen from Vanderbilt University provides insight into the difficulties a professor can face when using a traditional didactic approach to present difficult concepts and complex information.
Practice, Feedback, and Mastery (2.1.2)
Dr. Michele DiPietro from Kennesaw State University introduces the progression from initial practice to mastery in student learning.
The Expert Blindspot (2.1.3)
Dr. Michele DiPietro from Kennesaw State University addresses the disconnect between possessing knowledge and conveying that knowledge to students. He presents the idea of an “expert blindpsot” in which educators overlook basic aspects of a given subject when teaching because it seems self-evident to the educator. He also discusses how acknowledging this blindspot can improve teaching practices as well as feedback provided to students.
Discussion: Explore the notion of “unconscious competence” by selecting an everyday task in which you’re an expert, like making a peanut butter sandwich or tying your shoelaces. Write detailed instructions for the task you’ve selected and share them here on the forums. Was it challenging to articulate what you usually do unconsciously?
Structuring Practice, Providing Feedback: From Instructors (2.1.4)
Dr. Derek Bruff from Vanderbilt University provides multiple examples of the most effective forms of practice and feedback that educators can use in their courses.
Structuring Practice, Providing Feedback: From Peers (2.1.5)
Dr. Derek Bruff from Vanderbilt University provides instructional strategies for peer to peer feedback along with research based justifications for the suggestions.
Structuring Practice, Providing Feedback: For All Students (2.1.6)
Dr. Derek Bruff from Vanderbilt University discusses the concept that all students should have a chance to practice and receive feedback in each class. He provides several strategies concerning how educators can implement this concept in the allotted class time.
Discussion: Given the importance of practice and feedback to learning, why do you think lectures are so common in undergraduate STEM classrooms? What barriers do you see to the adoption of more active learning techniques?
Challenge Cycles in Engineering, Part 2 (2.1.7)
Dr. Anita Mahadevan-Jansen from Vanderbilt University discusses how to she effectively implements challenge cycles in her biomedical engineering courses.
Principle #4: Motivation
Motivation Matters (2.2.1)
Multiple professors discuss their experiences with student motivations in their courses.
Motivation and Learning, Part 1 (2.2.2)
Dr. Derek Bruff from Vanderbilt University identifies several categories that underlie student motivations and how instructors can take advantage of student motivations to improve as educators.
Discussion: Describe a learning experience you’ve had that motivated you to continue in STEM. Which of these factors—competence, autonomy, purpose, and community—contributed most to your motivation during that experience? How so?
Motivation and Learning, Part 2 (2.2.3)
Dr. Derek Bruff from Vanderbilt University provides an in depth discussion of how instructors can leverage student motivations to increase interest in a course and therefore improve knowledge acquisition and performance.
Shane Hutson, Introductory Physics (2.2.4)
Dr. Shane Hutson from Vanderbilt University discusses his teaching strategies, the organization of his courses and what he has found to be most effective in his teaching.
Margaret Rubega, Ornithology (2.2.5)
Dr. Margaret Rubega from the University of Connecticut discusses her teaching strategies, the organization of her courses and what she has found to be most effective in her teaching.
Andrew West, Alien Worlds (2.2.6)
Dr. Andrew West from Boston University discusses his teaching strategies, the organization of one of his most popular astronomy courses and what he has found to be most effective in his teaching.
Discussion: In what ways do the teaching choices described in the module’s faculty interviews leverage the intrinsic motivators of competence, autonomy, purpose, and community?
Persistence in STEM Fields, Part 1 (2.2.7)
Dr. Mark Connolly from the University of Wisconsin Madison discusses the trend for students to leave STEM fields of study as they progress into higher education. He provides research based explanations concerning the declining numbers of STEM students as they progress through higher education.
Discussion: Suppose you hear the following statements in response to the news that as many as 40% of undergraduates who start as STEM majors switch to non-STEM fields: (A) “Some students just don’t have what it takes to major in STEM.” (B) “You know, if students find something else they like better, that’s fine with me.” Given what you’ve learned about the Talking about Leaving study, how would you respond to these statements?
Persistence in STEM Fields, Part 2 (2.2.8)
Dr. Mark Connolly from the University of Wisconsin Madison addresses the motivation of students who either stay in STEM fields of study or move away from STEM as well as instructional approaches that can keep students interested in STEM fields.
Discussion: The Talking about Leaving study explored reasons students switch out of STEM majors, but two of the three faculty interviews in this module focused on courses for non-majors. In what ways should our strategies for motivating students in major courses differ the strategies we use in non-major courses? Or should our major courses use more of the strategies typically seen in non-major courses?