How Cognitive Load Theory Changed My Teaching

Cognitive load theory is one of the lenses I use to design instruction. More than just an abstract idea, cognitive load theory recommends instructional procedures based on what we know about how the mind works. I wanted to share with you a few of the ways that my thinking, and by extension, my teaching, has … Continue reading How Cognitive Load Theory Changed My Teaching

Is Working Memory Fixed or Can it be Trained?

Many teachers allow students to play "brain games" as part of the curriculum. When I say "brain games", I'm referring to short - often fun - activities that are unrelated to the core content, but which are thought to engage the mind or make you smarter. When I was a student, if I finished my … Continue reading Is Working Memory Fixed or Can it be Trained?

Videos, Podcasts, Infographics, and Articles for Bringing Research into Practice

Many educators are eager to learn about evidence-based practices but don't know where to start. One barrier is that most research articles are paywalled, which requires teachers to buy an expensive subscription or e-mail the researcher in order to gain access to research. Another is that learning how to read and interpret scholarly articles requires … Continue reading Videos, Podcasts, Infographics, and Articles for Bringing Research into Practice

5 Meanings of Student-Centered Instruction

There's an interesting essay called "Five Meanings of Direct Instruction" where the author (Rosenshine, 2008) shows how even a term as commonly used as direct instruction can take on different meanings depending on who you talk to. Some people use it in the pejorative to refer to non-stop passive lecturing, while those familiar with the … Continue reading 5 Meanings of Student-Centered Instruction

A Weird but Popular Way to Teach Problem Solving

There seems to be two main, but very different, approaches to teaching problem solving: Begin by teaching students how to solve a particular type of problem, and then have students solve a set of similar problemsBegin by giving students a set of problems to solve, and then respond to individual students' needs through brief one-on-one … Continue reading A Weird but Popular Way to Teach Problem Solving

Demystifying Learning through Examples

Using examples skillfully and appropriately to illustrate complex ideas and procedures is integral to great teaching, no matter what discipline we're talking about. In math, examples help to demystify the steps that mathematicians take to solve problems. In foreign language class, examples help to bring permanence to sentence constructions that are slippery and transient if … Continue reading Demystifying Learning through Examples

Does More Learning Happen When Students are in the Driver’s Seat?

Most teachers will be familiar with Khan Academy, or similar learning programs, that offer a mixture of 1) problems to solve and 2) instructional supports that students can use to learn how to solve the problems. Common instructional supports in online learning environments include partial hints (e.g., click here for a hint to get you … Continue reading Does More Learning Happen When Students are in the Driver’s Seat?

Shifting to Online (again)? Check out this Poster

I am happy my community is back on campus; a beautiful learning space where teachers utilize their physical presence to guide attention and support students towards new understandings. I also realize, having been fooled too may times by COVID, that it’s possible that we’ll be forced to shift once again into a hybrid model (and … Continue reading Shifting to Online (again)? Check out this Poster

Is there a “Science of Learning” and what is in it?

A reoccurring theme (e.g., here, here, and here) of this blog is that we can improve education by leveraging findings from the science of learning. Most people in the field seem to agree with this statement, but it's not uncommon to find people who are convinced that there is no science of learning. The reasons … Continue reading Is there a “Science of Learning” and what is in it?