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Hi Janet and all,
I find your comments refreshing. I know that JCRL (Journal of College
Reading and Learning---the flagship journal of the College Reading and
Learning Association) would agree. In fact, last year, JCRL published an
article in which the results of a quantitative assessment "failed," and the
authors did a wonderful job of discussing what they learned from their
"failure" (which I thought was just as insightful and thought provoking as
one with "statistical significance." Also, the journal encourages lots of
 types of assessment, including qualitative (which includes ethnography,
case studies, etc) as just as important as the traditional quantitative
ones.

So, if anyone is interested, please join CRLA in order to get the journal
twice a year---it is amazing to see what our colleagues are research and
publishing!

Best,
Diana Calhoun Bell


On Fri, Apr 27, 2012 at 10:00 AM, Norton, Janet L <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> As ever, Nic, your posts are informative and a pleasure to read & consider.
>
> I'd like to add another issue that impacts our work, though it is not
> specific to learning assistance or developmental education.  It's about
> statistics and research.
>
> For many people,  the "gold standard" of traditional quantitative research
> is the ability to claim statistical significance.   I am over-simplifying,
> but we look for methods that work 95% of the time.  If we try Method G and
> it appears to help students, then we try G again and through statistics we
> find that such good results probably didn't occur by chance.  So we share
> our results through publications and presentations.  If we try Method G
> that second time and do not get results that are statistically significant,
> we might try again, but we aren't as likely to share, nor are publications
> and conferences especially interested in accepting what doesn't work.  So
> one person who gets good results is heard, while many who don't get those
> awesome and/or consistent results sit back and feel bad about the failure.
>
> I once suggested -- not totally in jest -- that we need a forum for
> failures.  It would give us all a much richer view of the realities.
>  Anonymity, of course, would be critical.  ;)
>
> So the idea that context and individuality, student and instructor
> differences, institutional culture and program management are all integral
> to successful learning is not a cop-out or easy excuse.  The way we measure
> success does need to be reconsidered and made much richer than the
> happy-anecdote qualitative study or p-value quantitative study alone.
>  Learning IS a complex process.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:
> [log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Nic Voge
> Sent: Friday, April 27, 2012 9:28 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Information about the Cone' fabricated data
>
> Well said, Patricia. I couldn't agree more about the over-application of
> general statements about learning. Virtually all of the statements I make
> to students are prefaced with, "It depends..."
>
> However, I would add an additional reason why these statements are made
> and are appealing beyond mere fadishness. Much work on learning processes
> and strategies comes out of an experimental psychological paradigm. In an
> effort to emulate the natural sciences, most psychological science seeks to
> make universal statements about human processes. This is both an imperative
> and an assumption of much
> psychological research.   However, in our field we are usually making
> statements about, as you quote, "methods" (approaches, strategies,
> techniques, tools) and these are inherently applied and contextual.
> Thus, variety is introduced by the individual learner and the situations
> in which he/she is acting in ways that experiments seek to control and thus
> eliminate.  In short, there is a tendency to make claims about the
> application and reach of these principles without proper qualification.
> Experiments ARE contexts, and they are quite different than the contexts of
>  college classrooms in many respects.
>
> There are alternative theoretical and research paradigms that have
> been developed that are better suited to our work than conventional
> experimental psychology. There is, for instance, a much more robust
> tradition--I am told--in studying individual differences in the continental
> tradition of psychological research. Additionally, situated learning and
> literacy, cognitive anthropology, phenomenology, and other socio-cultural
> and socio-cognitive approaches do a much better job of theorizing and
> accounting for the contexts of learning.
> But, we don't have to get all theoretical about it. Our experience tells
> us that these general statements are insufficient, and similar observations
> were made long before highfalutin' terms like "situated cognition" were
> ever  imagined. Mina Shaughnessey made a compelling case over 30 years ago
> in her book Errors and Expectations. Her thesis could be simplified to: We
> must understand the institutional expectations  if we are going to
> understand students' errors.
> Correspondingly, I would argue, we must understand the context (and more
> importantly, students must understand their learning situations), if we are
> to create or "choose" appropriate learning strategies.
>
> Thanks for raising this point,
> Nic
> On Apr 27, 2012, at 9:47 AM, Maher, Patricia wrote:
>
> > Hello Saundra and others in this conversation,
> >
> > I have been following it and enjoying it, and also want to follow up
> > Saundra's encouraging words to all of you who offer your expertise
> > here.
> > So I couldn't resist this one and thanks to  Saundra for sharing the
> > link where this was debunked.
> >
> > As learning specialists, this statement from the website article
> > should become our mantra . . .
> >
> > " general statements on the effectiveness of learning methods are not
> > credible---learning results depend on too many variables to enable
> > such precision."
> >
> > Having been in education for longer than I care to admit, I have
> > always worried about the tendency in the field to latch on to the
> > latest "recipe" for success.  And yes, in many of the study skills
> > books and materials we all use still do this.  In our workshops, we
> > emphasize  that learning is complicated, highly individualized,
> > contextual, and that there are no "one size fits all" strategies.
> > We focus on helping students understand their own learning profiles,
> > and then help them learn to  analyze the learning tasks, leading to
> > strategies based on the task and capitalizing on their learning
> > preferences, or determining how they may need to develop adaptive
> > strategies.  Better understanding the task is what should drive the
> > strategic approach.  We refer to it and understanding the "target
> > zone"  In our Strategic Learning class we use the Let Me Learn system
> > for this.  But in workshops, where we only have an hour, the point is
> > simply to debunk the idea that there is one way to !
> > study and learn, and focus on the task analysis.
> >
> > And by the way, the "Count the Vowels" activity (which I picked up on
> > this listserve!)  is a great interactive exercise to demonstrate this
> > idea of studying with the wrong target zone in mind.  I wrap up the
> > discussion with this quick funny video on the target zone:
> >
> >  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kE8CUT66AMs
> >
> > Comments from the students after attending this workshop regularly
> > mention that they never thought to think first about the task before
> > they determine how to proceed.
> >
> > Thanks for all the great ideas and discussions.  Keep them coming!
> >
> >
> > Pat
> >
> > Patricia A. Maher, Ph. D.
> > Director, Tutoring and Learning Services University of South Florida
> > 4202 E. Fowler Ave.
> > Tampa, FL  33620
> > LIB 206
> > (813)974-5141
> > [log in to unmask]
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:
> [log in to unmask]
> > ] On Behalf Of Saundra Y McGuire
> > Sent: Friday, April 27, 2012 9:08 AM
> > To: [log in to unmask]
> > Subject: Information about the Cone' fabricated data
> >
> > http://www.willatworklearning.com/2006/05/people_remember.html
> >
> >
> > Saundra McGuire, Ph.D.
> > Assistant Vice Chancellor for Learning, Teaching, and Retention
> > Professor, Department of Chemistry 135A T Boyd Hall Louisiana State
> > University Baton Rouge, LA 70803
> > 225.578.6749 phone
> > Saundra Y. McGuire, Ph.D.
> > [log in to unmask]
> >
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:
> [log in to unmask]
> > ] On Behalf Of M.E. McWilliams
> > Sent: Thursday, April 26, 2012 7:29 PM
> > To: [log in to unmask]
> > Subject: Re: A great website
> >
> > The website listed below claims that Edgar Dale's Cone of Experience
> > fabricates percentages but doesn't give documentation to
> > substantiate that claim.  I have used the pictured chart in several
> > workshops so the matter is of concern to me. Anyone have a comment
> > on the subject?
> >
> > wOO HoO!
> > M.E. McWilliams
> > AARC Tutoring Center Director
> > FACEBOOK US!
> > Stephen F. Austin State University
> > 936 468 1439
> >
> > The views and opinions expressed in this message are my own and do
> > not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Stephen F. Austin
> > State University, its Board of Regents, or the State of Texas.
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:
> [log in to unmask]
> > ] On Behalf Of Saundra Y McGuire
> > Sent: Monday, April 23, 2012 11:53 PM
> > To: [log in to unmask]
> > Subject: A great website
> >
> > https://sites.google.com/a/uwlax.edu/exploring-how-students-learn/
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Saundra McGuire, Ph.D.
> > Assistant Vice Chancellor for Learning, Teaching, and Retention
> > Professor, Department of Chemistry 135A T Boyd Hall Louisiana State
> > University Baton Rouge, LA 70803
> > 225.578.6749 phone
> > Saundra Y. McGuire, Ph.D.
> > [log in to unmask]
> >
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> __________________________________
> Dominic (Nic) J. Voge
> [log in to unmask]
> (609)258-6921
> http://www.princeton.edu/mcgraw/us/
>
> Associate Director
> McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning
> 328C Frist Campus Center
> Princeton University
> Princeton, NJ 08544
>
> Individual Appointment Times:
> By appointment for Fall  2011
>
>
>
>
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-- 
Dr. Diana Calhoun Bell
Associate Professor of English
University of Alabama in Huntsville
Huntsville, Alabama 35899

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