A Marginal Gains approach to learning design

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Originally posted on idealskunkworks:

This year I am a taking a cognitive science led approach to learning design within a Level 7 (MBA) module. At first, I wasn’t sure if it would make that much difference to my approach; I had considered cog-sci perspectives in previous learning design exercises and I have produced well-balanced learning environments, demonstrated via learning attainment on the part of my students (exam/assignment/dissertation scores) and the traditional post-module satisfaction survey (happy sheets), scattered with a fair number of nominations for student-led teaching awards.

The problem is that I had a L7 course bomb last year – I had a mix of international/UK/EU students who presented challenges the like of which I had not experienced before. To protect the innocent, I will not be shedding too much light on the nature of those challenges, but suffice to say that the student’s learning behaviours just didn’t meet my expectations. To be fair, if…

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A Few Remarks on Critical Thinking – Part 1


Originally posted on Anatomy of Teaching:

Women become persons under Canadian law.

Critical Thinking is an educational motherhood issue. Who could possibly be opposed to critical thinking? Surely students should learn to think critically so that they can be informed, critical citizens in a modern democratic society.

I’m not about to dispute the general value of critical thinking. Rather, I’d like to delve into the issue over a few posts to see if I can clarify what critical thinking is and isn’t, and what teachers can and should do about it.

In 1990, the American Philosophical Association published a Delphi Report on Critical Thinking, with Peter Facione as the primary author. The result was the culmination of a process by which scholars from science, humanities, social sciences and education worked (via mail!) to develop a consensus on the nature of critical thinking. The report did not prescribe teaching methods for critical thinking (see my Bad…

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LAUSD Ditches Pearson and Apple


Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

John Deasy’s ill-fated commitment to buy an iPad for every student and staff member (he called the program a civil rights issue) loaded with Pearson software for $1.3 billion is finished.

The district is canceling the program and demanding a multi-million dollar refund.

“Los Angeles Unified told Apple Inc. this week that it will not spend another dollar on the Pearson software installed on its iPads and is seeking a multimillion-dollar refund from the technology giant.

“If an agreement cannot be reached, the nation’s second-largest school district could take Apple to court.

“While Apple and Pearson promised a state-of-the-art technological solution for ITI implementation, they have yet to deliver it,” David Holmquist, the school district’s attorney, wrote in a letter to Apple’s general counsel. The ITI, or Instructional Technology Initiative, is the district’s name for its iPad program.

“Holmquist said the district is “extremely dissatisfied” with the work of…

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Is your brainstorming costing you money?


Originally posted on Bite sized brains:

Problem-solving and brainstorming in a rut? Problem-solving and brainstorming in a rut?

When thinking gets stuck

I’m sure you’ve seen it.

You know, when the team is called together around the table to brainstorm. You’re all supposed to suggest brilliantly clever ideas in enormous quantities without necessarily judging or condemning any other ideas

Except it doesn’t really work that well. Does it?

Usually, the classic brainstorm becomes a shoutfest where the earliest, loudest voices get the most airtime and grab the most attention, and subsequent ideas become variations on the already established themes.

By and large, if this is your experience of brainstorming, you’ll appreciate it doesn’t work. You’ll also see how, once we have a concept in mind, we can easily get fixed on it.

Like candles and pliers.

A cognitive problem

Duncker's (1945) candle problem Duncker’s (1945) candle problem

Here’s a puzzle. If you have a candle, some matches and a box of thumbtacks, how would you attach…

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Making Good Decisions – Cognitive Biases and Logical Fallacies

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Originally posted on The I Am Group's Blog:

By Tony Koutsoumbos, Fundraising Specialist for the I Am GroupThinking,_Fast_and_Slow

Last night I delivered a talk on the impact of cognitive biases on decision making and the logical fallacies that turn faulty assumptions into false conclusions. Below is a summary of the key points and – more importantly – a list of the most common biases and fallacies.

In a nutshell:

The ability to think quickly is a prized asset in a demanding job, yet it can lead to bad decisions by embedding flawed assumptions in our system of thinking. However, by scrutinising the link between these assumptions and the conclusions they lead us to, we can prevent this from happening.

Fast Thinking v Slow Thinking:

In his 2011 book, Thinking Fast and Slow, Nobel Prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman argues that humans have two different systems of thinking: the intuitive system and the logical system. The intuitive system is fast and…

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