Using Concepts from Cognitive Development to Design More Effective Learner-Centered Curricula

  • 29 Mar 2017
  • 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM


Registration is closed

It is generally accepted that students do not come to us as “blank slates,” or enter our classrooms ready to engage in active learning practices and attack complex problems. Their responses to particular learning approaches and challenges are influenced by how they define the nature and source of knowledge. How young adults conceive of the nature of knowledge (their epistemology) is not fixed, but develops from simpler concepts like dualistic (yes/no) thinking to contextual thinking.

We can improve student learning by identifying where students are located within this developmental framework, and using our understanding to design appropriate experiences. Importantly, SENCERized course goals, which aim to engage students in active learning and real-world problem solving, often align with techniques that have been demonstrated to support the development of complex ideas about the nature of knowledge. The key to effective teaching is to be able to “diagnose” our students, to identify “where” they are on the developmental spectrum, and to adjust our instructional practices to meet their cognitive needs.

During this webinar, Linden Higgins (Consultant, Education for Critical Thinking), will explore the intersection of theories of student cognitive development, the behaviors of learning, and SENCER ideals. Along the way, she will provide some reflective prompts to help you link the material presented with your own classrooms and experiences. We will talk about choosing appropriate activities for students who are inexperienced with the responsibilities of “active learning,” the importance of appropriate supporting activities for successful learning, and how we can select SENCER approaches to help students who enter our classrooms unprepared for the responsibilities of complex self-regulated learning.

When we finish, you will:

  1. Have a roadmap of three models of cognitive developmental trajectories in US adults and the intersection of these stages with behaviors of learning;

  2. Receive an outline of the learning situations that can support developmental transitions; and

  3. See how SENCER ideals can be used to increase student engagement with tasks that promote development of complex epistemology.
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