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Tag Archives: Lev Vygotsky
Fig.1. The Forgetting Curve. Ebbinghaus (1885)
‘The psychological conclusion demands a distribution of repetitions such that some of them should be produced at a later time, separated from the first repetition by a pause’. (Vygotsky, 1926)
More recently, in the last ten years in fact, Dr B Price Kerfoot of Harvard Medical School (2006) created a platform called SpacedEd (now Qstream) that uses multichoice questions, typically and most successfully with first year medical students, where sets of questions are randomised then sent out as text or email to tackle, I suppose, what Ebbinghaus (1885) identified with his ‘Forgetting Curve’. An evidence based paper on the effectiveness of ‘spaced learning’ showed how there was better retention three months, six months and a year down the line.
Ebbinghaus, H (1885) Memory: A contribution to experimental psychology.
Kerfoot, B, P (2006) SPACED EDUCATION. Interactive Spaced-Education to Teach the Physical Examination: A randomized Controlled Trial.
Vygotsky, L (1926) Educational Psychology
- Harvard Business Review: When Trying to Remember Something Don’t Forget to Consider Your Forgetting Curve (economicpolicyjournal.com)
- Pioneers of Psychology: Lev Vygotsky (psychology.about.com)
- What is a mind burst? (mymindbursts.com)
- Here’s how to improve retention in e-learning – scaffolding, mentors, interaction and community (mymindbursts.com)
- Strangers To Ourselves (andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com)
- Overcoming the “Forgetting Curve”: How to Improve Passwords (securityskeptic.typepad.com)
Fig. 1. The Open University’s Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE).
Expressed as a Wordle. A personal collection of key influencers based on those tagged in this blog. Includes my own reading and indulgences.
On Friday, at midday, My OU student blog reached a significant milestone.
I’ve been at it for 33 months. I’ve blogged the best part of FIVE modules now – most of which required or invited some use of the blog platform (or another). I required little encouragement – I used to keep a diary and have found since 1999 that in their digital form they are an extraordinarily versatile way to gather, consider, share and develop ideas.
The investment in time, on average, an hour a day in addition to – though sometimes instead of coursework over 1000+ days.
(This excludes 8 months I spent on the Masters in Open and Distance Learning in 2001)
To mark this event, and as I need to go through this online diary, this e-journal, this ‘web-log’ (as they were also once momentarily called) ahead of some exciting meetings coming up next week I thought a simple task might be to click through the tags to identify who have been the key influencers in my reading and thinking over the last two and a half years.
Fig.2. Another way of looking at it.
Beetham, Conole and Weller are key MAODE authors from the Open University. John Seely Brown is a vital undercurrent, Engestrom one of several enthusiasms like Vygostky. While Gagne, second hand hardback, needs to be on your desk for frequent reference.
What I thought would take an hour has taken nearly 40 hours.
Clicking on a tag opens a corner of my head, the notes take me back to that day, that week, that assignment or task. It also takes me back to the discussions, resources and papers. And when I find an error the proof-reader in me has to fix. Aptly, as we approach November 5th, and living in Lewes where there are marches and fireworks from late October for a couple of weeks peaking of course all evening on the 5th, my head feels as if someone has accidentally set light to a box of assorted fireworks.
Just as well. Meetings these days are like a viva voce with eager ears and probing questions – they want the content of my mind and whatever else I bring to the subject after thirty years in corporate training and communications.
Fig. 3. Wordle allows you to say how many words you want to include in the mix.
To create weight I had to repeat the names I consider most important twice, three or four times in the list. I also removed first names as Wordle would have scattered these into the mix independently like peppercorns in a pan of vegetable stock.
- List all authors who have been part of my learning and thinking over the last couple of years.
- Include authors that my antennae have picked up that are relevant to my interest in learning, design, the moving image and the english language.
- Visualise this and draw some conclusions
I can never finish. Take this morning. I stumble upon my notes on three case studies on the use of e-portfolios from H807 which I covered from February 2010-September 2010. To begin with I feel compelled to correct the referencing in order to understand the value, pertinence and good manners (let alone the legal duty) to cite things correctly. (Even though this post was locked – a ‘private’ dump of grabs and my thoughts).
Then I add an image or two.
These days I feel a post requires a visual experssion of its contents to open and benefits from whatever other diagrams, charts or images you can conjure from your mind or a Google Search – ‘the word’ + images creative commons – is how I play it.
Fig. 5. From David Oglivy’s book ‘Ogilvy on advertising‘ – a simple suggestion – a striking image, a pertinent headline and always caption the picture. Then write your body copy.
A background in advertising has something to do with this and the influence of David Ogilvy.
I spend over two hours on the first of three case studies in just one single post. At the time I rubbished e-portfolios. The notes and references are there. Tapped back in I can now make something of it. A second time round the terms, the ideas – even some of the authors are familiar. It makes for an easier and relevant read. What is more, it is current and pertinent. A blog can be a portfolio – indeed this is what I’d recommend.
From time to time I will have to emerge from this tramp through the jungle of my MAODE mind.
Not least to work, to sleep, to cook and play.
Fig. 6. In a word
Gagne, R.N. (1965) Conditions of Learning Holt, Rinehart and Winston
- What’s in Your Word Cloud? (raventools.com)
- Chapter Sixteen Wordle (faceofthesky.com)
- Year End Blog Wordle and My Rock (henriksenlearning.wordpress.com)
- My personal learning environment (PLE) (mymindbursts.com)
- Wordle My Journal 2012 (gemhelen.wordpress.com)
- How do you use an Activity System to improve accessibility to e-learning by students with disabilities? (mymindbursts.com)
‘Expansive learning is based on Vygotsky, though three times removed; it implies that we learn within activity pockets as individuals and groups. The interplay between these groups are the consequential objects of learning that in turn transmogrify in the presence of other objects. Solving problems, dealing with contradictions, may come about as these learning systems slide or shift’. Engeström (2001)
I’ve taken this, from Engestrom and considered this as the interplay between SIX people (or groups) – or a mix of the two. Six people who are bringing to the discussion their different backgrounds and ideas in order to address a topic. At arm’s length, the objects, the ideas, views or knowledge that they have begins to take on an identity of its own.
‘Expansive learning is based on Vygotsky, though three times removed; it implies that we learn within activity pockets as individuals and groups. The interplay between these groups are the consequential objects of learning that in turn transmogrify in the presence of other objects. Solving problems, dealing with contradictions, may come about as these learning systems slide or shift’.
Amyone care to comment?
This is my take on a topic that has taken me through the briar-bush and out the other side. Has the struggle been worth it. The challenge I feel I face when reading papers such is this is how to make the subject matter comprehensible to the non-academic, I challenge I throw down to every academic: it is possible to make yourselves understood by the majority, rather than a minority.
Fig. 1. Spaced education randomised trial. Kerfoot (2008)
‘The psychological conclusion demands a distribution of repetitions such that some of them should be produced at a later time, separated from the first repetition by a pause’. (Vygotsky, 1926:Location 2686)
So wrote the educational psychologist Lev Vygostsky over 80 years ago. Putting this into practice using email (and now Smart Phone apps and eventually Facebook), the team at Spaced-Ed have created a learning system that works.
SPACED EDUCATION – DR B PRICE KERFOOT
Interactive Spaced-Education to Teach the Physical Examination: A randomized Controlled Trial
Several studies have documented that physical examination knowledge and skills are limited among medical trainees.
The objective of the study is to investigate the efficacy and acceptability of a novel online educational methodology termed ‘interactive spaced education’ (ISE) as a method to teach the physical examination.
Randomized control trial.
170 second year medical students.
- Spaced-education items (questions and explanations)
- Validated by two experts
- Piloted and 36 items selected for inclusion
- 6 spaced-education e-mails each week for a 6 week cycle.
- Students submitted answers to the questions online and received immediate feedback
- An online end-of program survey was administered.
RESULTS: Successful 85% participants recommended the ISE programme for students the following year.
CONCLUSIONS: ISE can generate significant improvements in knowledge of the physical examination and is very well-accepted by students.
While many studies have documented the dearth of physical examination knowledge and skills among trainees, ISE has the potential to remediate these deficiencies across the spectrum of medical education’. (p977)
Students do the training, but may still have poor recall a year later. Spacing works.
The spacing effect is the psychological finding that educational encounters that are spaced and repeated over time (spaced distribution) result in more efficient learning and improved learning retention, compared to massed distribution of the educational encounters (bolus education). (P973)
As Vygotsky expressed it 80 years previously:
‘It should also be emphasized that every person has his own customary rate of response, and that any change in this rate, either speeding it up or slowing it down, weakens the force of recall’. (Vygotsky, 1926:Location 2686)
And so here students can tailor the timing of questions they are fed – spacing them out or bunching them as they see fit and circumstances change. Go try it, there are courses you can do on topics that a far less demanding that second year physical examinations. Try world history in maps, for example, or getting the most out of your iPhone.
A distinct neurophysiologic basis for the spacing effect has been identified
‘Spaced education’ refers to online educational programs that are structured to take advantage of the pedagogical benefits of the ‘spacing effect’.
Interactive spaced-education (ISE) combines the pedagogical merits of both the ‘spacing effect’ and the ‘testing effect. (974)
Each spaced-education item consists of an evaluative component (a multiple choice question based on a clinical scenario) and an educational component (the answer and explanation)
Based on item difficulty, point-biserial correlation, and Kuder–Richardson 20 score, 36 of the questions were selected for inclusion in the ISE program.
- Students receive spaced-education e-mails at designated time intervals which contain a clinical scenario and question (evaluative component).
- Upon clicking on a hyperlink in this e-mail, a web-page opens which displays pertinent images and allows the student to submit an answer to the question.
- Upon downloading this answer to a central server, students are then immediately presented with a webpage displaying the correct answer to the question and an explanation of the curricular learning point (the educational component).
- By having the provider submit a response before receiving the correct answer and an explanation, this process requires greater interactivity, which educational theory argues may improve learning outcomes.
- The submitted answers of students were recorded using the MyCourses™ web-based education platform
The survey was constructed and administered online using the SurveyMonkey web-based platform.
Future developments and assimilation of spaced-education alongside traditional medial school teaching methods
For example, as ISE utilizes traditional web-pages for the submission of answers and for the presentation of learning points, it should be possible to use all of the functionalities of web-pages within the ISE program to meet the training needs of care providers. For example, physician trainees learning how to auscultate the heart can be presented with ISE items which contain an audio recording of an unknown heart sound, and then, trainees can be asked to identify the murmur.
Micro-learning is favoured over more substantial time being given to this. I can imagine many applications.
This finding is in stark contrast to the strong resistance we encountered when conducting a recent trial of web-based teaching modules among 693 medical residents and students. In this trial focusing on systems based practice competency education, trainees were expected to spend 20 minutes per week over 9 weeks completing web-based teaching modules (interactive web-pages and online narrated slide presentations). (p977)
This high acceptability also likely reflects the ease of use of the spaced-education delivery system, the immediate relevance of the content, and the importance that students attribute to learning the physical examination. (p977)
Some items to cover if you are thinking of being a professional and thorough as the team at Harvard and Spaced-Ed:
- · Conflict of Interest:
- · Funding/Support:
- · Financial Disclosures:
- · Author Contributions:
- · Conception and design:
- · Acquisition of data:
- · Analysis and interpretation of data:
- · Drafting of the manuscript:
- · Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content:
- · Statistical analysis:
- · Obtaining funding:
- · Ethical Approval to Perform the Study:
- · Corresponding Author:
And a finaly word from Lev Vygotsky.
‘Rhythm plays a decisive role in the learning process, unifying some of the material, conferring on it a sequential symmetry, and, finally, organizing the various elements into a unified whole’. (Vygotsky, 1926)
Kerfoot . B. P (2006) SPACED EDUCATION. Interactive Spaced-Education to Teach the Physical Examination: A randomized Controlled Trial.
Kerfoot. B. P (2008) Interactive Spaced-Education to Teach the Physical Examination: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Armstrong,E.G., O’Sullivan,P.M., JOURNAL OF GENERAL INTERNAL MEDICINE Volume 23, Number 7 Harvard Medical International.
Vygotsky, L (1926) Educational Psychology
- Here’s how to improve retention in e-learning – scaffolding, mentors, interaction and community (mymindbursts.com)
- 10 Ways Augmented Reality Could Change Learning Experience (classroom-aid.com)
- Lev Vygotsky: Pioneer of Psychology (learnpsychology.wordpress.com)
- Does Online Ed Spell Doom for Traditional Universities? (blogs.the-american-interest.com)
I can appreciate that a psychologist or therapist can guide someone through patterns of thinking and behaviour in order to resolve issues. However, reflection without guidance, without parameters, might simply re-enforce the underlying patterns of behaviour and thinking.
Does it help to dwell on the past?
Might it be no better than what Vygotsky calls ‘ideal wool gathering’? (1998:23)
Might it not be better to worry more about what you do next, your mood, behaviour and attitude in the future – this you can effect, the past you cannot. If reflection is used in any way as a form of assessment then it is inviting the student to expose themselves, to provide a biased insight into how they go about things.
If psychologists are to be understood, as well as the views of some very successful woman, whilst men will overplay their skills and abilities, women will underestimate them. If used as a tool to form a view of a student’s successful acquisition of subject knowledge will such reflection therefore tend to favour men over women?
Would we not achieve more if we treated this reflection as an audit, an objective statement of what took place in the past?
Then, instead of reflection we ‘project,’ we envisage, predict or plan, simple set-out what we’ll do next, do in the future? i.e. we put more thought, if not most of our energy, into thinking what we are going to do, rather than what we did.
I come to this conclusion after three decades of keeping a diary, often reflective.
Far from reassuring me about the value of reflection to change behaviour I detect patterns of behaviour that are so repetitive it becomes boring – too much navel gazing. Some successful people I know don’t give the past a moment’s thought, indeed, I do wonder if it is this that allows them to be successful. Instead of travelling with their head constantly turning to look back, their thoughts and actions are fixed firmly on the future.
Or is reflection of the moment? It is neither of the past or the future. Is it simply a mulling over of things? How prescribed can it be? Is it an objective or subjective exercise? Could someone else do it for you, or of you? Would the views of someone else not in fact be of greater value? Instead therefore of ‘looking at yourself in a mirror,’ you look into the eyes of someone else and ask them what they see.
Most importantly, by reflecting on the past, you plan your future actions, trying to build on experience and to avoid making the same mistakes.
Vygotsky, L.S. (1998). Child psychology. The collected works of L. S. Vygotsky: Vol. 5. Problems of the theory and history of psychology. New York: Plenum.