Wednesday, August 29, 2012

YOU figure it out!

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


Brett Powers said...

Um, yes. Very much so.

SherryMD said...

That is an awesome idea! I will be using it in my class if you don't mind.

Trevor Tusow said...

I think this is a great idea. I see this as a way to introduce the unit on memory. The discussion afterwards would be really valuable as different groups will uncover different aspects of the unit.

Jillian said...

I am definitely going to give this is try. Great find for me as I'm starting this unit next week. I'd love to here more of these ideas from anyone that has created them as well.

Chris Wiegman said...

Any way to access these slides other than through sliderocket. When I click on the link, it says slides not found. Thanks!

Steve Jones said...

You might try contacting the person who created this (Casey Rutherford) through Twitter:

missmaz said...

I can't view the slides and don't have a twitter account...can these be found anywhere else?

missmaz said...

I can't view the slides and don't have a twitter account...can these be found anywhere else?

Steve Jones said...

Sorry, I don't have an ideal solution for you. I contacted Casey Rutherford on Twitter and asked for the slides, but I don't think he has them any longer. He did send this tweet (which you do not need to have a Twitter account to view) that has two pictures which shows something similar a colleague does. Hope this helps! --Steve