13 Feb 2003 ............... Length about 900 words (6000 bytes).
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Different meanings of deep and shallow learning
Slides, reading list and other material associated with it are available
Dept. of Psychology, University of Glasgow
Gregor Kennedy University of Melbourne.
Time and place
5pm, Wednesday 12 Jan 2003.
Centre for Science
St.Andrews Building (11 Eldon Street)
(How to get there:
(How to get
there: a bad map.)
We will discuss some of the different meanings attached in the literature to
"deep and shallow" learning. Some of the kinds of contrast or tension between
different pieces of work in this area are:
- Narrow information processing view (e.g. Craik & Lockhart), where
shallow is processing only the sensory features (e.g. lines, brightness),
and deep is processing the meaning of a sentence; versus a general broad
educational view where shallow is learning to pass an exam, and deep is
learning to understand.
- Scope or scale: how to design whole courses to promote deep or shallow
learning; vs. Saljo's work on students' comprehension of short passages of
text; vs. Craik & Lockhart's scale of single words or sentences.
- Deep and shallow as different motivations (of a learner), or as different
methods (or study skills or strategies).
In addition, we hope to mention the issue of students' expectations and
methods of judging their own learning progress. This is probably best viewed
as an aspect of their study methods or strategy. However it links to issues
such as that raised by Bill Byers in the previous seminar, with how students
often complain if material is left out and are happy if it seems complete, yet
this has no effect, or a negative one, on their actual learning. That is,
students' idea on monitoring progress by "Can I follow that?" is a poor
indicator of other (exam) measures of their learning (such as "can you apply
that to this problem?"). In fact, we could try out the idea that there is a
shallow-to-deep sequence here too: Following what is said, reproducing it,
applying it to new cases, ... understanding what its limits and the problems
with it might be.
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