Automated feedback of Learning Styles. Is it just a horoscope? Dr. Delia Wakelin Northumbria University Dr C Smith Dr A Porter Dr C Colbourn Dr H Dudiak R Lever Psychology Learning & Teaching 2006 Conference
Cognitive Learning Strategies in Students • Interested in flexible learners who need to cope with many ways of instruction, assessment and learning • How can we encourage students to explore? • Two stages • Measure student strategies (styles) • Encourage and enhance students
Cognitive Learning Strategies in Students • Reviewed then administered many measures • Students filled in the questionnaire, and we soon decided to do this on the internet. • Students were given feedback • The value of this exercise was then determined.
Learning Strategies • Four measures were used. • Curriculum Questionnaire • LSQ (Mental/Behavioural/Self Regulation) • ASSIST (Deep/Strategic/Surface) • VARK (visual/auditory/read-write/kinaesthetic) • [olfactory]
Automation • Found a fair degree of overlap in feedback • Decided to try to automate the procedure by using what was essentially ‘a production system • Sequence of ‘IF THEN’ combinations • With rules relating to scores
Correlations - measures and assessments • Lsq - poor correlations • Assist - only negative correlations with surface • Some low correlations with vark totals • First year marks highly correlated • Correlations reasonable with curriculum questionnaire
Using feedback • Can ask students to explore • However too much information • Can hope recommendations will focus • Not sure it will • Can run a guidance tutorial • More chance of working
Changing students • We should liken change for students in the same was as in therapy • How can change occur in therapy? • Challenging beliefs • We have achieved first step of providing a way of externalising the beliefs about learning and assessment xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx With students
Methods for changing students • Make more use of CBT strategies • E.g black and white thinking, focussing on negative, poor beliefs about others • Have we got time • Enhancement module provides the tools, but need a better way of using it.
Cognitive consistency • Some criticisms of CBT • Doesn’t explain why people are resistant to change • Students are also resistant to change • Leahy 2002
Cognitive consistency • Leahy 2002 • Characteristic of depression is the apparent low motivation, low energy, indecisiveness and self-criticism that constitute a core of resistance to change • Characteristic of weaker students is the apparent low motivation, low energy, indecisiveness and self-criticism that constitute a core of resistance to change
Investment model • Individuals make decisions about how to allocate their resources based on their estimate of present and future resources available, tolerance for risk, and probability and value of gains and losses. • Depressed individuals (poor strategy students) resist change, and hesitate in making decisions
paradox • Some students don’t seem motivated to pursue reward • Decisions seem to be based on ‘expectations of future outcome and have strategies to avoid loss and inhibit risk.’ • Strategy is not a bias but an adaptation • Poor learners believe to abandon learning strategy will enhance loss
How can I lose? • Cost is the default • Prevarication and waiting adopted • Under stress students will fall back on their ‘safe’ approaches • Need to give more opportunity to explore other methods in safe environment • Need more focus on these issues in course • Once a semester isn’t enough
Changing students • Looks as if the problem is unattainable given the constraints of time - staff and student - maintaining interest • The guidance program is going to be critical in relation to validity of CLaSS • But students do change - whatever we were doing in the course had some influence
questions • How should students use the resource? • How should guidance sessions work? • Do we need a protocol? • Do staff need to be trained? • Do we have to include more innovations in our syllabi? • Do students need to be trained? • Do we need to measure some motivational/emotional factors?
Thanks for contributions • HEFCE • Dr Chris Smith - CLaSS director; Dr Helen Whiteley • Rachel Lever – CLaSS manager • Colleagues in Partner Institutions • Students at Northumbria University
Critique from F. Coffied • Practice of identifying students learning style and tailoring teaching methods to student needs should be abandoned • Diagnosis of verbalisers, visualisers etc and subsequent teaching is invalid. • 13 methods examined only Entwistle and Vermont models of any value
Critique from F. Coffied 2 • Learning style implied fixed preference which took no account of student experiences or environment • Our study takes the situation from the other direction. If style doesn’t work, can students recognise it, and adapt