Pearson Learning Design Principles

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Pearson has released a new website on learning design that takes a look at the research science behind how students learn and what works to help them in the learning process.  While in some ways they are trying to “upsell” resources for their textbooks, the resources linked below are a great way to review the research in each of these areas, get some examples for implementation, and do a self-assessment.

They have identified 6 learning design principles:

  1. Foundations
  2. Practices that foster effective learning
  3. Learning environments
  4. The nature of knowledge
  5. Learning together
  6. Moving learning science research into the classroom

Each of these design principles is broken down even further into key aspects of how people learn.  One of the greatest parts of this framework is the release of 43 documents that provide a summary of the research related to it, sample ways to implement it, learner impacts, and a self-assessment rubric so you can assess your courses/practices against the research science.  A white paper for the project is available here.

Below are links to each of the PDF files.   Continue reading

Finley, Are Learning Styles Real – and Useful?

drawing of colored lightbulbs

Todd Finley has an article over at Edutopia that looks 9 varying viewpoints by “learning experts” on learning styles.  The 9 viewpoints come from:
  1. Harold Pashler, Mark McDaniel, Doug Rohrer, and Robert A. Bjork
  2. Mark K. Smith
  3. David J.M. Kraemer, Lauren M. Rosenberg, and Sharon L. Thompson-Schill
  4. Stephen Downes
  5. Howard Gardner
  6. Eric Jensen
  7. Annie Murphy Paul
  8. Carol Tomlinson
  9. David Glenn

The article provides a useful summary of the various viewpoints from these learning experts.  They address most of the pertinent issues associated with learning styles.

Socratic Questions

Socrates Statue

Socratic Questioning Prompts

Questions for Clarification

  • What do you mean by ________?
  • What is your main point?
  • How does ________ relate to ________?
  • Could you put it another way?
  • What do you think is the main issue here?
  • Let me see if I understand you: do you mean ________ or ________?
  • Jane, could you summarize in your own words what Richard has said?
  • Richard, is that what you meant?
  • Could you give me an example?
  • Would this be an example: ________?
  • Could you explain that further?

Questions about the Initial Question or Issue

  • How can we find out?
  • What does this question assume?
  • Would ________ put the question differently?
  • Can we break this question down at all?
  • Does this question lead to other questions or issues?

Questions that Probe Assumptions

  • What are you assuming?
  • What could we assume instead?
  • You seem to be assuming ________. Do I understand you correctly?
  • How would you justify taking this for granted?
  • Is this always the case? Why do you think the assumption holds here?

Questions that Probe Reasons and Evidence

  • What would be an example?
  • Could you explain your reasons to us?
  • Are those reasons adequate?
  • Do you have any evidence for that?
  • How could we find out if that is true?

Questions that Probe Origin or Source Questions

  • Where did you get this idea?
  • Have you been influenced by media?
  • What caused you to feel this way?

Questions that Probe Implications and Consequences

  • What are you implying by that?
  • What effect would that have?
  • What is an alternative?
  • If this is the case, then what else must be true?

Questions about Viewpoints or Perspectives

  • How would other groups of people respond? Why?
  • How could you answer the objection that ___ would make?
  • Can anyone see this another way?
  • What would someone who disagrees say?

Selected questions from a list compiled by Richard Paul, in Critical Thinking:What Every Person Needs to Survive in a Rapidly Changing World (Rohnert Park, CA: Center for Critical Thinking and Moral Critique, 1990).  This list was also published in Carol B. MacKnight, “Teaching Critical Thinking through Online Discussions.” In Educause Quarterly, 2000

Infographic – Multiple Intelligences

Infographic - Multiple Intelligences

Blooms (Digital) Taxonomy

Most educators are familiar with Bloom’s Taxonomy, a model that classifies different levels of human cognition in thinking, learning, and understanding. But in a digital age, educators are thinking about it as Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy. This updated version aims to expand upon the skills associated with each level as technology becomes a more engrained – and essential – part of learning.

Infographic: Blended and Online Assessment Taxonomy

Image of an infographic.  Material covered in graphic is discussed in post below.


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20+ Tips for Writing Great Quiz Questions and Response Options


Articulate LogoNicole Legault has a useful post over at the Articulate Community site on multiple choice questions.  The post is here:


Ken Bain, Testing Is Better Than Rehearsing

Ken Bain discusses how formative assessment (what he refers to as “testing in a non-threatening environment”) is actually better for students than just just studying over the information repeatedly (what he calls “rehearsing”).  He points out that there is actually a large body of research supporting this.

Webinar: The Quest for Critical Thinking


Inside Higher Ed logo

In this free webinar Inside Higher Ed editors Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman discuss The Quest for Critical Thinking — why colleges care about it so much, how they define it and how they try to assure their students engage in it.

The slide deck is available here.

A collection of essays on this topic has also been compiled to go along with this video.  That booklet is available here.

Webinar: The Quest for Critical Thinking


In this free webinar Inside Higher Ed editors Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman discuss The Quest for Critical Thinking — why colleges care about it so much, how they define it and how they try to assure their students engage in it.

The slidedeck for the webinar is available here.