[Session Reconding and Notes] Active Learning for All with Beth and me - Week 1

Join our first Zoom session. starting at 2022-01-17T15:00:00Z

In this meeting we’ll be discussing the topic for week one: Active Learning for All .

“This week’s material covers the deepest essence of how we learn—which can provide surprisingly helpful and practical insights for our teaching! When students are learning, ideas captured in students’ working memories are sent to long-term memory in the neocortex.

One of our biggest challenges in learning is the diversity in the size of learners’ working memory —that temporary holding place for new ideas we are thinking about. (We three instructors model these differences in working memory capacity, with Terry having high capacity, Barb low capacity, and Beth variable, depending on the material.)

Some people can hold more information in working memory—these “racecar” learners might learn more quickly, but what they learn can go by in a blur—they can jump to conclusions and find it difficult to correct themselves when they make errors. “Hiker” learners with lesser capacity working memory may learn more slowly, but they can learn more deeply, and sometimes more creatively, as a consequence. They can also find it easier to be flexible and change their thinking when they are wrong.

What this all means is that the different sizes of working memory can have their advantages and disadvantages. Scaffolded instruction is a key to being more inclusive, so we can reach all of our learners, not just the few who are easy to teach. We will also take a fresh view of active learning—those words, as you will discover, do not always mean what you think they mean!”


First Session Recording: here.

**Learner's notes** @Fabio About supplements: https://www.cocoavia.com/ and https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/lions-mane-mushroom

Rabbi Bell: The concept map can help focus the students on what they need to retrieve.

@nielda I think that’s because of that (retrieval practice) that teaching another person about what we’ve learned feels so good. Every time I teach something I’ve studied I learn it better.

@natalieandrew2702707 What are the best/ your favorite ways to go about retrieval practice?

@sadiah2595423 When you teach it’s kind of retrieval practice for you too…you learn too …so dopamine is flying

@mica_mesina I learned this from an instructor. I have a handy notebook where I write concepts that I think I will forget from time to time. And I read it. :joy:
Or when there’s a question I cannot answer, I write it down and try to make notes out of it

@Hamish Mica, as this recent study shows, it should be in that handy paper notebook, rather than on an iPad, phone etc Study shows stronger brain activity after writing on paper than on tablet or smartphone | The University of Tokyo

Berel Bell: “Is there any assessment for getting to know your working memory capacity we can use with students or we should just make a guess on it?”
Answer: Your formative assessments should give you feedback about whether your scaffolding is working for your group

Adena Schutzberg: Is it important for learners to know about the (relative) size of their working memory? That is, know if they are a hiker or race car? If so, should K-12 students? College students? Adult learners? Looking back I can see I was (am) a hiker and (somehow) found I just needed lots of practice. I still do!

@libertosiahaan555059 For adult with a need to learn multiple unrelated subjects, is it better to learn multiple subjects at the same time (longer time to learn, but better for retaining due to continuity) or to focus on one subject (faster comprehension, but when move to another subject the previous subject can be forgotten)?

@kellyparedes2228046 Thanks again for your insight Barb! It is is always so great to hear and be reminded that we are different learners. I am a slow learner and my teaching partner is a fast learner. And our opposites really help us, help students!

@conniehayek421589 I work with college students who often have had negative experiences in learning some subjects, especially math. What tips do you have for changing that mindset? I share Barb’s story of struggling with math and science in youth and going on to get degrees in Engineering. Any other tips for boosting students’ confidence in specific topics?

@sonal We had his exhibit at the MIT museum about Cajal! His hand drawn images were…

@heathersternshein Sonal, that exhibit travelled to Chapel Hill too - cajal’s drawings were gorgeous to see in person

@mdashrafuzzam2606431 from bangladesh. is the language a barrier to memorise anything in other language rather than mother tongue?

Kevin Ruse: i am a (train the trainer) Trainer and a technical trainer, I ask a tremendous amount of questions calling students by name. Quick retrieval questions. Is this an effective retrieval method?

@sonal For working memory nourishment —you recommend handwriting or typing?

@Fabio Retrieval practice tips: Focus on variety, using Flashcards (or digital versions such as Quizlet).

Adena Schutzberg: Challenge: While taking this course, think about learning things outside of academics. I’m thinking about how to teach/learn in other areas, specifically, learning my clarinet part for band and getting better at disc golf.

@Hamish I agree with asking a lot of questions. It always brings to mind Kipling’s poem ‘I Keep Six Honest Serving Men I Keep Six Honest Serving Men by Rudyard Kipling - Famous poems, famous poets. - All Poetry

@barboakley Learn Like a Pro (there you can find the assessment for short-term memory)

@sadiah2595423 I am a slow learner too and it serves me well. Every time I go over the material I discover something new I need to learn :smile:

@nielda Powerful Teaching: Unleash the Science of Learning: Agarwal, Pooja K., Bain, Patrice M.: 9781119521846: Amazon.com: Books

@sadiah2595423 Another book that dr Oakley mentioned before is How we learn by Stanislas Dehaene

@conniehayek421589 I often recommend the memory palace and chaining to students.

@kellyparedes2228046 Love this, the teachers really do make a difference in STEM. I heard this quote a few years ago and I have it posted on my classroom wall : “SMART is something you CAN get!”

@sonal True, sometimes ignorant teachers may turn off students from learning! Teacher who believes in their student will empower their students.

@conniehayek421589 Love the “SMART is something you CAN get!” quote…definitely using that one!

Julie: There’s a debate in teaching reading at the primary level on how much to emphasize learning sight words, how to teach them, and at what age. Can you help apply these ideas about working memory to 4-6 yr olds learning sight words?

Jorge Urrea: Is it scaffolding memorizing things without understanding? For example, learn by repetition a table of declension? Or for example, apps like glossika (memorizing sentences without worrying about grammar? Thank you Barb for everything.

@hiroyosaito2663406 I think Barb said Beth’s working memory varies depending on the subject. But can your working memory change based on a subject or is your prior knowledge just helping your working memory?

Eriku: The advantage that I find in spending large chunks of time studying the same thing is that there is not the overhead cost of getting back to a subject after switching.

Nicolas Acevedo: What’s the best way to make tests that are consistent with the teaching in the classroom? For example, if you do recall and quizzes in the classrooms, and you want to do a more “practical” test (to test transfer)

@sonal How about those who can not see — are blind…often sighted teachers do not understand much about inclusive teaching with empathy …

Luis C Castellanos: Downloads - Barbara Oakley

@hiroyosaito2663406 Whenever I do a workshop on learning science and talk about retrieval practice, I always get this question, how about "deep thinking."I say that you want to preserve your working memory for the action of thinking by moving the fundamental knowledge and skills into the long-term memory. I also say that you get an aha moment when you make unexpected associations among existing elements. If you do not have any existing elements, you cannot have an ah moment.I also use the example of higher order questions like, compare and contrast American revolution and French revolution. Unless you have solid knowledge about each revolution, you cannot answer the compare and contrast question. But some of them are still not satisfied. Do you have a better way to answer this “deep thinking” question?

@conniehayek421589 Love the Pomodoro Technique. Learned about it in the LHTL MOOC and I now tell students, ‘if you do one thing to improve learning, do this!’.

@hiroyosaito2663406 Pomodoro cuts the time you waste thinking about what you need to do!

Eriku: As I have been self-studying for the past couple years of high school, I might be able to give a suggestion as well. What works well is to first quickly get an idea of what there is to learn (I watch lectures at 2x speed), then quickly get answering questions with rapid feedback. From the questions, you can easily see what you still need to learn, and then go back into the reading or lectures to learn that better.

Luis C Castellanos: https://kanbanflow.com/

Eriku: I use an approach similar to Scott Young, author of Ultralearning.

Kristina Hakansson: When I find I am procrastinating I set a short pomodoro for just 15 minutes rather than 25 because it is less daunting, but then when it finishes I usually prefer to keep working anyway and I don’t need a break for quite a while.

  • I love the Ultralearning book too!

@barboakley Ultralearning is a great book, Kristina!

@conniehayek421589 Study Cycle is the 2nd thing I recommend after the Pomodoro. Sounds like what Barb talked about in looking at bold print, charts, graphs, etc.

Kristina Hakansson: I did my teacher training in the UK, we didn’t learn anything about how we learn. We just had pointless lectures at the uni and then learnt to teach from the other teachers in schools during placements.

@conniehayek421589 Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Announces $1.5 Million to Support Educator-Preparation Programs Committed to Learning Science - Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

That's it for today! See y'all soon.

I am sorry, I did not understand clip about Java Stripy, I downloaded the software but do understand what to do , I am using my phone, Anyway, happy to be in class. I hope to learn a lot about tutoring my son for his HSGED. I already find it interesting.

Thank you Fabio , you are so fast.
Wonder if you can help me, what is the name of a girl who asked question in video … Karla … something … can’t see on the screen, too small. She said she wants to keep in touch but I can’t see her name. Please and thank you. ( working memory zero …, lol)

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Sadia, can you start a new thread and we can invite everyone to share their contacts. I’ll add this to the next announcement!

Is that person @nielda - Nielda Karla?

Great session today.

Barbara mentioned some research concluding that recall alone was more effective than recalling a concept map. Is there any way to get a reference?


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pp. 161-162 of this article show that recalling is better than relying on concept maps


I have been trying all the methods discussed here and still find that these methods help temporarily as they just work “ingest and vomit” though it sounds bizarre. They system that is being presently followed in the schools in Indian tuition or training schools.
I have been impressed how the ancient system of learning - like the vedas which are repositories of enormous volume of material is memorized and it lasts a life time. They are in the form of specific tunes/rhythms. I do not know how this methodology can be incorporated, adapted or used to learn the modern subjects now being taught.
May be one day someone will find a way.

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Bookmarking this! There are so many useful sources and books that I want to check out. Thank you everyone!


Here you go, Blair: https://jarvis.psych.purdue.edu/lab-website/downloads/inpress_ODay_Karpicke_JEDP.pdf.

Hi Fabio … how are you today. Dr. Oakley is going to speak at the conference next month in Sam Francisco… yay!
The tickets are selling for $500 and up … not yay! :frowning:
Is there any chance she can give us (me) access to this conference …please?!?!?!

@sadiah2595423, I’m afraid I can’t get access to this event since, as far as I’m concerned, it’s unrelated to Class Central. Also, I’m in no position to make any request to Barb. She’s been so kind in giving her time to our Cohort and meeting weekly with no cost involved. I hope that answers your question.

No worries Fabio. Thank you so much, I understand, she is so generous in sharing knowledge.

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Thanks so much!
(I must admit I didn’t know where to look to find this response…)