Podcast about education research

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Stanislaw Pstrokonski

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Jul 15, 2021, 8:23:02 AM7/15/21
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Hi all,

I just joined the Learning Engineering group. I'm working on EDM at language learning app Busuu.

I wanted to share with you that I have a podcast about education research, Education Bookcast, that I've been running since January 2016. I talk about books and articles relating to education, placing them in context and relating the ideas to other materials. It's completely free and ad-free. Some of you might find it interesting.

All the best
Staś

Varun Arora

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Oct 13, 2021, 2:48:50 AM10/13/21
to Stanislaw Pstrokonski, Learning Engineering
Anyone else in this group listening to this podcast? This has to be the most underrated thing I have come across in a long time. If you aren't already listening, highly highly recommended!

Staś,
I'm absolutely hooked! Thank you so much for all the effort and work you have put into making every episode. What an excellent quality of work.

Varun

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Justin Matthys

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Oct 21, 2021, 9:29:12 PM10/21/21
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Varun,

Following your post the other day, I fired up the podcast and am absolutely hooked as well! Amazing quality and so useful. I'm going to get lots of my team listening to it as well.

Varun Arora

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Oct 21, 2021, 9:55:17 PM10/21/21
to Justin Matthys, Learning Engineering
So great to hear, Justin!! And I absolutely agree. Thank you!

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Justin Matthys

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Nov 21, 2021, 9:30:22 PM11/21/21
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Hi Staś,

In episode 119 "Stages of learning", you talk about a possible "stage zero" that could be helpful for learners prior to the exposure to new materials. It seemed to be geared toward the learner first realising that there is something they don't know yet, in order to overcome the cognitive biases which could otherwise impair learning. My team are really excited about this idea. Would it be something you'd be interested in testing empirically?

My organisation "Maths Pathway" (www.mathspathway.com) has about 80,000 middle school students completing 2 or 3 half-hour online 'modules' per week, which are assessed fortnightly under test conditions to check how effectively they learned. These modules are targeted to point of need; we gather evidence to check that each module's learning intention is something which the student appears to be ready to learn, but does not know yet. We're considering building a new "Entry ticket" experience at the start of each module, where we get students to first attempt the assessment items at the end so that they know clearly where they're heading, and appreciate that it's something they don't know how to do yet.

An approach we could take would be to randomly assign this condition to given students' modules. We'd have more acceptability from users if we did within-student variation, so that each student sometimes sees entry tickets; but this treatment could be applied across all modules at once. We could look for differences in pass rates between the two groups, and maybe even trade any such increase off against the time investment to see whether the rate of learning per minute is higher or lower with the entry tickets in place.

Let me know if this would be of interest; very happy to discuss. (I'm a big fan of your podcast so would love to chat!) My email address is jus...@mathspathway.com.

Cheers,

Stanislaw Pstrokonski

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Nov 22, 2021, 4:01:46 AM11/22/21
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Hi Justin,

I didn't cite any references in that episode, but the pre-test effect is a well-studied phenomenon with research going back to the late 1960's (e.g. see here). So I don't think you should view this as an empirical test of the idea in the sense that this would be the first time it would be tested. You're probably best off diving into the literature to get more details about how to do this well, and then seeing how your intervention goes (with proper AB testing). I think we all know how difficult it can be to bring research to practice in edtech applications! In particular, there are several reasons this could fail / have bad side effects in edtech contexts:
  • Users could churn because they are frustrated with being asked a question they don't know the answer to. (This is less likely if usage is coerced / required by teachers.)
  • The effect could be small because users find the fastest way to click "Next" rather than really trying to think about and answer the question. This could end up feeling like "just another screen to click through".
  • If it's put as an MCQ and they happen to guess right, perhaps it would backfire and make them overconfident. This is particularly pernicious if they got something right for the wrong reason.

Looking into the literature a little bit more I can see that a lot has been done, but all I brought to the episode is the headline that "pre-tests increase learning", which is the tip of the iceberg, plus my own musings on the issue. The intention of episode 119 was to suggest a mechanism for the pre-testing effect (direction of focus and the overcoming of some cognitive biases), rather than to suggest that the effect exists (since we know that it does).

I'd be very happy to discuss this further if you are interested. Reach out by email if you want to discuss privately. Good luck in trying this out!

Staś

p.s. if you haven't already, I would also recommend looking into the literature on word problems, e.g. episode 28 of the podcast (long ago so I knew a lot less then, but the central idea is still important).

Hà Cao

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Nov 22, 2021, 5:30:53 AM11/22/21
to Stanislaw Pstrokonski, Learning Engineering
Hi Stás

Your podcasts are rock!!! 

Keep the good work, 

Best Regards, 

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