What should you have learned in Part 6?

Here we remind you of Key Terms we’ve introduced, recap the Big Ideas you’ve explored, and leave you with a few Enduring Questions to help you further refine your design decisions.

Key Terms

  • Memory begins with an external stimulus. Once we attend to the stimulus, we encode the information, consolidate it, and then store it in long-term memory. Stable, reproducible memories are created when we regularly retrieve the information, reconsolidate, and restore it.
  • Spaced-retrieval practice is a learning strategy that involves actively recalling new information or practicing new skills spaced out over time rather than crammed or massed.
  • Elaboration is a learning strategy that involves explaining, describing, connecting, interrogating, and expanding information, and relating new to old information.
  • Interleaving is a learning strategy that involves mixing multiple topics or subjects together while studying.
  • Active learning is an umbrella term that refers to several models of instruction that place the responsibility of learning on learners.
  • Pedagogical or instructional strategy is an instructor's overall approach to day-to-day instruction as well as the sequencing and pacing of learning activities.
  • Scaffolding involves breaking up complex learning tasks into smaller, more manageable ones.
  • Pacing describes the speed and flow at which you and students move through your course.

Big Ideas

  • “Memory is the residue of thought” (Willingham). The more often you can get students to think about your course and its concepts and ideas in varied ways, the more likely they are to remember those things well beyond the test.
  • Learning is hard! Students will have to struggle through complex ideas, reconcile misconceptions, take risks, and continually practice the skills they learn. The best course designs purposely include these “desirable difficulties” (Bjork) into the learning environment.
  • Equity-focused course designs integrate effective learning strategies, rely on varied active learning experiences, and utilize transparent instructional strategies that carefully consider pacing and scaffolding.

Enduring Questions

  • How might you design your learning activities to create an equitable and inclusive learning environment?
  • What would your course look like if you built in little “spirals” that continuously return students to older material so that they can better take advantage of spaced-retrieval practice?
  • How might you creatively encourage elaboration and meaning making?
  • How might changes to scaffolding and pacing in your course improve student motivation, learning, and educational equity?

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