Step 2: Evidence-Based Learning Strategies

In the Design section we discussed Active Learning.

Pairing active learning with Evidence-Based Learning Strategies maximizes your students’ time and effort while increasing their ability to attain your learning objectives.

Evidence-Based Learning Strategies are research-proven to have substantially higher positive impacts on student learning than other strategies, and can be implemented in a wide range of subjects and at any level.

The University of Nebraska has a “Top 10 Evidence-Based Teaching Strategies List” that includes the following:

Clear Lesson Goals. Stating what you want your students to know at the end of a specific lesson is 32% more effective than just setting high expectations. Clear lesson goals help you and your students to focus on what matters most (Simon & Taylor, 2009).

Show & Tell. Start with telling your students what you want them to learn, and then model what you want them to be able to do. Modeling and sharing what we want in an assignment helps to clarify what is needed to do well (Gooblar, 2015, 2016). 

3  Use of Questions to Check for Understanding.  Using questions to check for understanding, especially before moving on the next part of the lesson is a practice that allows the instructor to determine how well students are comprehending course material and what misconceptions they might have (Tofade, Elsner, & Haines, 2013). More in this article on Question Strategies.

4  Summarize New Learning in a Graphical Way. Graphic Organizers – concept maps, diagrams, timelines, charts, etc – help students organize ideas, represent relationships, and retain information. Research shows they help students better understand the material they are learning ( Narkawicz & Casteel, 2012; Weimer, 2009).  Graphic Organizers can be used as a learning activity or an assessment – either summative or formative.

5  Provide Multiple Practice Opportunities.   Research related to neuroscience and learning indicates that for easier recovery of information, mastery of material, and long-term retrieval, it is important to provide students with multiple and spaced opportunities to practice engaging in the course materials (Akresh-Gonzales, 2015).  The material that students are asked to practice should be purposeful given the stated expectations and the current stage of instruction. Spaced repetition and mastery quizzing are good examples.

6  Provide Students with Regular Feedback.  Provide consistent feedback from which students can learn and improve. This can be written or verbal feedback from you as the instructor, peer review, grading rubrics, or checklists. This Glover & Brown, 2006, article explains more.

7  Be Flexible about How Long it Takes to Learn.   Mastery Learning is based on the idea that students learn at different paces. Therefore, while the expectations and learning outcomes are the same, the time required to learn a concept varies among students (Klecker & Chapman, 2008).  Students can achieve mastery at their own pace through activities such as low-stakes, mastery quizzing (re-take until a specific score is achieved) and similar iterative assignments.

8  Have Students Work Together (in productive ways).   Collaborative learning and group work are two concepts the benefits of which have been widely researched (Hassanien, 2005).  Group work can draw on the unique strengths and perspectives of students to create a better learning experience or product than could be produced by an individual student.

9  Teach Strategies, not Just Content.   Students cannot do well in our courses without developing effective approaches to studying.  What worked for them in high school will not work in college. However, our students may not know how else to approach developing knowledge and understanding about our content.  Instruction in college should include exposing our students to different study strategies (Deslauriers, Harris, Lane, Wieman, 2012).  Sharing strategies and talking about what works well with your students can help them tremendously.

10  Nurture Metacognition.   Metacognition refers to the processes related to students’ planning, monitoring, and assessing their understanding and performance. In metacognition, students are thinking about the learning strategies that they can use and which one will lead to the desired outcome.  Fostering metacognitive skill development is not just about asking questions. Rather, it is about asking questions to get students to consider their thinking and approaches to learning, and how they can adapt for different contexts (Railean, Elci,& Elci, 2017).  Metacognitive strategies include pre- and post-assessments, reflection activities, and responding to questions about how they approached their work and what they could have done differently. 

Much of this material comes from the University of Tennessee Knoxville.

Reflect on these practices and select a few to implement in your remote course design.


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