I've been poking around in the "Problem-based Learning" literature for a writing project, and I mostly like what I see. The philosophy seems to be that good learning experiences can be inspired by presenting students with open-ended problems, and then helping them figure out pathways to possible solutions.
I ran into an interesting/exciting example on Twitter this morning: Casey Rutherford (@rutherfordcasey) posted a short slide show that he's using on his first day (note: the slide show uses SlideRocket to run, and I hope the link works for everyone).
Isn't that cool? Can you imagine walking into a class and seeing those four short slides, and then trying to tackle that problem all period?
I wonder if we could use this model in psychology classes, and I'd love to hear any examples you all know about. Here's my first attempt (for the memory unit)
- Slide one: The Memory Challenge
- Slide two: The goal: Figure out how many items you can memorize from a list, and decide what factors influence your ability to remember them.
- Slide three: Time frame: You have 25 minutes to do what you need to do to accomplish this task. Work with the group at your table.
- Slide four: GO
By tackling this challenge, students may uncover their own empirical data for "the magic number 7, plus or minus 2", serial position effect, chunking, mnemonic devices, massed/distributed learning, selective attention, and probably a bunch of other memory concepts that I can't even anticipate. What do you think? Does this kind of open-ended problem solving have a place in the psychology classroom?
posted by Rob McEntarffer