I have a really long draft of a post on the project I’ve been working on with Lumen Learning for much of the last year, but it’s not polished yet <jk> so let me just make a small point about it. The project involves developing digital learning environments for two courses: Principles of Macro & Principles of Micro. The content is divided into very small chunks. At the end of each chunk is a short formative assessment using “multiple select” questions, which require students to select ALL the responses that are true. After each question students are asked how confident they feel about their answer. The idea is to try to teach students metacognition as they learn economics.
I am pilot testing the courseware in one of my sections of Principles of Macro this semester. A student in that section who was a serious student in my more traditional class last semester emailed me to ask, “Are there going to be any of these multiple select questions on the course exams, because if there are, I’m seriously thinking about dropping the course.” When I shared this with David Wiley (@opencontent), he replied that that was really interesting and he wondered why the student responded that way. I told him I thought it was probably two things: First, multiple select is something new, something different than my students are used to. And second, multiple select requires more thought. I continued to think about this until I realized that this additional thought was completely consistent with the underlying theme in the courseware of metacognition. I think that if students take that extra thinking seriously, it will likely over time lead to deeper learning. I don’t think this was what we originally planned, but that’s a hypothesis anyway!