"They know enough who know how to learn." Henry Brooks Adams, 1838 - 1918 American journalist/author
The following list of teaching and learning interventions is by no means exhaustive. It is just some of the intervention strategies that previous GARNET participants have used. The goal of these interventions is to help students become aware of their learning and to enable them to take control of their learning. The Metacognitive Self-Regulated Learning Cycle below illustrates the various aspects of how learners learn. Each of the interventions listed below addresses one or more of the four Learning Cycle components. The resources and links associated with each intervention is just a bit to get you started.
Four step model of self-regulated learning cycle (yellow numbered boxes) and the components of the students' affective domain (white boxes) that have the potential to influence self-regulation, student behavior, and ultimately student learning.
Learning to Learn
Several GARNET participants use this document in combination with other class activities (journaling, in-class discussion, etc.) and the assignments below to help students begin to take some responsibility for their learning by becoming concious of what they do or do not do when trying to learn new content or skills. Students are asked to review and/or discuss these different topics in class or out-of-class integrated into the geoscience curriculum. This intervention gets at metacognitive knowledge and at the Planning phase of the Metacognitive/Self-Regulation Cycle. Set up: Low and Instructor Effort: Low.
How I earned an A
This intervention is used in many ways by GARNET faculty, but most commonly as a journal activity at the beginning and the middle of the semester. On the first day of class you ask students to write a letter to themselves from the future that starts, "Here's how I earned an A in this class." (An alternative could be, "Here's how I achieved my goals for this class.") Half-way through the term, students are then asked to revisit their letter and reflect on where they are relative to where they said they would be and ask them to reflect on what (if anything) needs to change in order for them to achieve their A/goals. This intervention addresses three aspects of the Metacognitive/Self-Regulation Learning Cycle - Goal Setting, Monitoring and Reflection. Set up: Low and Instructor Effort: Medium.
Journaling can be implemented in many ways over the course of a semester. Generally, students are given one or more writing prompts either as individual assignments, a regular periodic task or as part of a course portfolio of student work. This intervention addresses all four components of the Metacognitive/Self-Regulation Learning Cycle - Goal Setting, Monitoring, Regulation and Reflection. Set up: Low and Instructor Effort: High.
Several GARNET participants use reading reflections where students are given 2-3 questions to reflect on and write about after a particular reading assignment. These short writing assignments are not individually graded but students get credit for doing them. Reading Reflections get at the Monitoring and Reflection components of the Metacognitive/Self-Regulation Learning Cycle. Set up: Low and Instructor Effort: Medium. See example instructions and links below.
A knowledge survey is comprised of learning objectives framed as questions. It aims to test students' mastery of the objectives of a particular course. The knowledge survey is given at the beginning and the end of a course and/or prior to an exam. Goal Setting, Monitoring and Reflection are the aspects of the Metacognitive/Self-Regulation Learning Cycle that Knowledge Surveys address. Set up: HIgh and Instructor Effort: Low.
Knowledge Surveys: An Indispensable Course Design and Assessment Tool (Acrobat (PDF) 447kB Aug15 11)
The Knowledge Survey: A Tool for All Reasons (Acrobat (PDF) 831kB Aug15 11)
Some Examples of Knowledge Survey Questions (Acrobat (PDF) 209kB Aug15 11)
Mastery Exercises are most commonly used in a weekly quiz format where students can test their understanding of course content and their grasp of the necessary skills required by the course. These are often administered online and students can take them over again. This helps students gain mastery and allows them to monitor their learning. These are particularly effective if the questions that students repeat are NOT the same, but address the same concept. Mastery Exercises get at the Monitoring and the Reflection components of the Metacognitive/Self-Regulation Learning Cycle. Set up: High and Instructor Effort: Medium.
Exam or assignment wrappers are designed to give students a chance to reflect on the work they have done and to help them improve their future learning. The answers to the questions are used to improve both teaching and learning in a particular course. This reflective intervention when completed after or both before and after an exam can become a goal setting activity before the next exam. Wrappers address the Reflection and Planning aspects of the Metacognitive/Self-Regulation Learning Cycle. Set up: Low and Instructor Effort: Medium. Some examples of wrappers are below along with some useful links to websites on exam wrappers.
Example of a Paper Wrapper (Acrobat (PDF) 98kB Aug15 11)
Example of a Physics Homework Wrapper (Acrobat (PDF) 63kB Aug15 11)
Example of a Physics Exam Wrapper that was given both before and after an exam (Acrobat (PDF) 57kB Aug15 11)
Example of a Geology Exam Wrapper. (Microsoft Word 79kB Aug15 11)