Among the variety of research journals and outlets focused on the juncture between learning and technology, a promising but oft-overlooked sector of research focuses on psychology. This subset includes critical topics such as: memory in the context of learning, problem solving, decision-making, skill and performance, and developmental and experimental psychology.
With one of the top Impact Factor scores, the Memory & Cognition journal is perhaps the most important source of psychological processes research applied to learning. Below are two of the most intriguing research articles made available thus far in 2018.
Surprise-based learning. Moodle applicability: Medium to Low
Ortiz-Tudela, J., Milliken, B., Jiménez, L. et al. (2018). Attentional influences on memory formation: A tale of a not-so-simple story.
In the context of memory formation, is surprise (or “expectation violation”) a trustworthy strategy? Common wisdom supports the idea that at least some kinds of unexpected events are more memorable than expected ones. However, this state-of-the-art research (funded by Spain’s Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness) seems to put the final nail in the coffin by stating that surprise often offers a null effect on memory formation, or if it does add any value, it’s not easily achieved. It also raises doubts about the idea that processing difficulty enhances memory.
Meta-cognitive judgement cues. Moodle applicability: High
Undorf, M., Söllner, A. & Bröder, A. (2018). Simultaneous utilization of multiple cues in judgments of learning.
This research builds upon the relatively recent work on metacognition and meta-cognitive training which, by focusing on incorporating self-assessments of skill, can help deal with students’ uncertainty about their own proficiency, whether manifested as over- or under-confidence. This time, researchers at the University of Mannheim focus on the metacognition-based cues that enhance the accuracy of people’s “judgments of learning.” Preliminary findings suggest that a mixture of concreteness and emotionality define the attributes of an optimal cue, but they can ultimately depend on the individual student. In Moodle, metacognition is one of the bases for the Certainty-Based Marking method in Quizzes.
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