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No Zombies in Zwolle

To my utmost dismay, I couldn’t find any Zombie in Zwolle! In smaller cities, zombies were found to ‘attack’ inhabitants as is always depicted in movies. In the absence of zombies, however, I found very interesting things about Zwolle and I’ll share few with you.

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My new found love city is Zwolle! This city is a home to around 120000 people and the capital of the Overijssel province in the northeastern Netherlands. Its about an hour drive from the capital, Amsterdam. Perhaps, the name that is synonymous to the city is diversity. Lots of people with different backgrounds can be found in this small city.

The people are very friendly and willing to provide help to strangers as well. Anybody I approached to ask a question about whether they speak English or not were proud to say Of course, I speak English’. A phrase that I normally don’t hear in other cities in Europe. There are lakes, forest and other forms of nature that always attract inhabitants. The night clubs are booming! Some of the scenes in the city have been captured below.

 

Typical of all European countries, this city has its own special places which every tourist can visit. In Zwolle, one can visit the following places;

  • Museum de Fundatie
  • Museum de Peperbus
  • Sassenpoort tower
  • Artificial beach (Stads strand Zwolle)

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To my utmost dismay, I couldn’t find any Zombie in Zwolle! In smaller cities, zombies were found to ‘attack’ inhabitants as is always depicted in movies. In the absence of zombies, however, I found very interesting things about Zwolle and I’ll share few with you.

  • Bicycle lane in the middle of the road. Perhaps, throughout the whole of the Netherands, this is a common scene. However, from my coloured lens, it was the first time I came across such.
WhatsApp Image 2018-05-21 at 21.40.36
Bike lanes in the middle of the road

Both bikes and cars ply the same route. In the picture above, the red lanes are for bikers. It will take me a couple of years before I could be used to this road system both as a biker and as a driver.

  • Supermarket inscriptions on the floor! In a bid to get few groceries for the evening, I went to supermarket to get some few stuffs. With my eyes up, I searched for the various sections that I could locate the group of stuffs I was looking for.
WhatsApp Image 2018-05-21 at 21.40.37
Inscription on the floor in a supermarket

Did I get what I wanted? After frantic efforts, I came across the bakery section (of course that’s my favourite section!). As I walked through then I came across several inscriptions on the floor (one as pictured above). Omg! Why would the supermarket write names of items on the floor? A little pondering over this further revealed the creativity of Zwolle. These days, our sight is virtually from screen-bound. Even during shopping hours, most people write the items on their smart devices. It is evident everybody reads their smart devices when shopping and hence their heads are always down. Therefore, putting an inscription on the ground seemed to meet the demands of ‘screen -lovers’. When one watches the screen, the probability of watching downwards (the floor) is higher than that of the watching upwards.

The city of Zwolle is vibrant with ancient monuments, the people are lively and the city opens its widest arms to welcome. The next time you travel to the Netherlands, I recommend Zwolle to you. The Netherlands is not only about the Red light district in Amsterdam, the ICC in The Hague, the Utrecht, the Maastricht, etc., smaller cities like Zwolle equally provide you with a good atmosphere as a tourist.

Visit Zwolle, for there are no Zombies in Zwolle!

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Multimodal data to understand students’ cognition, metacognition, motivation and emotions in a learning process-Sanna

It is an undeniable fact that the learning process is a complex one (Norman, 1978; D’Mello, 2012).  A thorough understanding of these complexities characterizing the learning process is hence required. A deeper knowledge about the occurences or episodes prior to or after the learning process is capable of describing the progress or failure of the learning process (Järvelä, Järvenoja, Malmberg, Isohätälä  & Sobocinski, 2016). These complex learning processes emanate from the interaction of several aspects of learning such as cognitive, emotion, social, motivation, behaviour, metacognition, etc (Schunk  & Zimmerman, 1997; Miller, Järvelä  & Hadwin, 2017). Even in these broad categorizations, there are micro level phenomena that equally play roles in compounding the complexities of the learning process. All these complexities arise with a single problem; inability of a single methodology to cater for all these complex phenomena. Consequently, this presentation aimed to highlight the need for a multimodal methodological approach in ensuring that all the complexities of the learning process are captured (Järvelä, 2018). Specifically, it aims to present the multimodal data collection and analysis being used by the research team in the learning, education and technology (LET) at the university of Oulu.

Multimodal Methods

In the LET team, the following multiple instruments or gadgets are commonly used for data collection;

  • Sensors for physiological reactions e.g. Empatica E3 sensor
  • Log data e.g EdX
  • Mobile Eye tracking
  • Video e.g. 360° video camera
  • On-line evaluation forms

All these different sources can be used to gather data from both individual learners as well as groups. These multiple sources of data complement each other. What one method could not capture could equally be captured by another method. An interplay of both objective and subjective methods are important for complementing each other. Further, multimodal method ensures and cements triangulation of data (Jick, 1979; Denzin, 2012). Finally, the cyclicality, temporality, sequences and the critical phases of the regulatory processes are made visible when multimodal data collection techniques are used (Malmberg, Järvelä & Järvenoja, 2017; Sobocinski, Malmberg & Järvelä, 2017; D’Mello, Dieterle & Duckworth, 2017).

Is multimodal method a means to an end? Even though, the multiple sources of data has inherent advantages, there are still challenges that cripple it. For example, the multiple sources of data requires multiple analytical techniques. These multiple analytical techniques in turn require different expertise. Therefore, a multidisciplinary team are highly recommended in dealing with multimodal data collection methods.

The implications of this presentation is a shift from a ‘big’ data to a ‘deep’ data. Usually, the multimodal methods result in huge amount of data from each of the sources. It is thus imperative to dig deeper into these data to unravel interesting phenomena from them. The big data is good, however, when there are no meaningful findings from such data then it becomes less interesting. Going deeper into such huge data require lots of patience, perseverance and a strong will. Hence, it is important that prospective researchers, including myself, who intends to follow such need to have such qualities. Secondly, it is important to acknowledge that towing such research line require great collaboration with different researchers from different learning backgrounds. Hence, one need social and interpersonal skills to be able to thrive in such environment.

 

References

Norman, D. A. (1978). Notes toward a theory of complex learning. In Cognitive psychology and instruction (pp. 39-48). Springer, Boston, MA.

D’Mello S. (2012) Monitoring Affective Trajectories During Complex Learning. In: Seel N.M. (eds) Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning. Springer, Boston, MA

Järvelä, S., Järvenoja, H., Malmberg, J., Isohätälä, J., & Sobocinski, M. (2016). How do types of interaction and phases of self-regulated learning set a stage for collaborative engagement?. Learning and Instruction43, 39-51.

Schunk, D. H., & Zimmerman, B. J. (1997). Social origins of self-regulatory competence. Educational psychologist32(4), 195-208.

Miller, M., Järvelä, S., & Hadwin, A. (2017). Self-regulation, co-regulation, and shared regulation in collaborative learning environments. In Handbook of self-regulation of learning and performance (pp. 99-122). Routledge.

Jick, T. D. (1979). Mixing qualitative and quantitative methods: Triangulation in action. Administrative science quarterly24(4), 602-611.

Denzin, N. K. (2012). Triangulation 2.0. Journal of mixed methods research6(2), 80-88.

Malmberg, J., Järvelä, S., & Järvenoja, H. (2017). Capturing temporal and sequential patterns of self-, co-, and socially shared regulation in the context of collaborative learning. Contemporary Educational Psychology49, 160-174.

Sobocinski, M., Malmberg, J., & Järvelä, S. (2017). Exploring temporal sequences of regulatory phases and associated interactions in low-and high-challenge collaborative learning sessions. Metacognition and Learning12(2), 275-294.

D’Mello, S., Dieterle, E., & Duckworth, A. (2017). Advanced, analytic, automated (AAA) measurement of engagement during learning. Educational psychologist52(2), 104-123.

Järvelä, S. (2018). 413320S Multimodal data to understand students’ cognition, metacognition, motivation and emotions in a learning process, LET2018 Conference. [Lecture PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from https://letmaster.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/jc3a4rvelc3a4-let-24042018.pdf

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Hiking in the nature to promote learner’s agency and competence- Pirkko

Twenty-first century teaching and learning is somehow complex; comprises of different aspects and perspectives. One of such perspectives is the ubiquitous learning environments that seem to characterize learning. A blend of learning environments such as traditional face-to-face, online, computer-mediated, museums, science centres, nature,  etc. are often encouraged to be used in this 21st century (Krokfors et al., 2015). This report will concentrate on nature as a learning environments. Quite recently, most curricular are emphasizing on outdoor learning, e.g Finnish curricular (FNBE, 2016). Outdoor learning has been seen to provide unique experiences to learners in an interdisciplinary manner (Dolan, 2016; Martin & Franc, 2017) as well as promoting learner’s agency (Hyvönen, 2011). The current topic aimed at exploring how outdoor learning activities in a Finnish wilderness promotes student’s agency and competences. The following research questions were asked (Siklander, 2018);

  1. In what way (s) students’ agency emerges during a hiking course?
  2. How are the competences needed in the activities of the hiking are manifested?

The data was obtained from twenty-one (21) 8th grade students with their two (2) teachers. The participants took part in the 3-day annual hiking course to a 35 km Pyhä-Luosto National Park in northern Finland. A researcher-as-participant type of research methodology was used since the researcher took part in the hiking course. Data were mostly obtained from students digital diaries such as audio-recorded field notes, photos. Both teachers and students were also interviewed intermittently when the researcher observes interesting episodes during the journey.  A qualitative inductive content analysis technique (Schreier, 2012) was used in analysing the data.

The analazed data revealed that responsibility, resilience, collaboration and feeling of success were the situations that student’s agency emerged (RQ1) (Siklander, 2018). It implies that learners took responsibility of their own welfare throughout the trip, initiated and collaborated with other when the need arose, persisted despite challenges throughout the hiking. When they were able to take agency for all these, they felt accomplished in achieving something worth dying for. For the students to be able to achieve such autonomy and agency, there were certain competences that were dominant. Among such competences included social and negotiation skills, problem-solving and personal and social responsibilities (RQ2) (Siklander, 2018). These competences manifested throughout the hiking period.

The results provide key advocacy for outdoor learning. Outdoor learning can be seen as affordance that stimulates the creativity of students (Martin & Franc, 2017). Such affordances are natural and provide authentic learning settings for the students. The results imply that if teachers want learners to experience some sort of autonomy and agency, then outdoor learning such as a hiking is key.

References

Krokfors, L., Kangas, M., Kopisto, K., Rikabi-Sukkari, L., Salo, L., & Vesterinen, O. (2015). Learning. Creatively. Together. Educational Change Report 2016.
Finnish National Board for Education (FNBE) (2016). Retrieved on 21.04.2018 at http://www.oph.fi/download/174369_new_national_core_curriculum_for_basic_education_focus_o n_school_culture_and.pdf
Dolan, A. M. (2016). Place-based curriculum making: devising a synthesis between primary geography and outdoor learning. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 16(1), 49-62.
Martin, A., & Franc, D. (2017). Outdoor and Experiential Learning: An Holistic and Creative Approach to Programme Design. Routledge.
Hyvönen, P. T. (2011). Play in the school context?: The perspectives of Finnish teachers. Australian Journal of Teacher Education (Online), 36(8), 49.
Schreier, M. (2012). Qualitative content analysis in practice. Sage Publications.

Siklander, P. (2018). 413320S Hiking in the nature to promote learner’s agency and competence, LET2018 Conference. [Lecture PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from https://letmaster.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/hiking-course-current-trends.pdf

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Cognition and Metacognition in Self-Regulated Learning (SRL)

Introduction

In this post, I explore the two inter-related concepts cognition and metacognition. The terminologies are related because according to Flavell (1979), metacognition is defined as knowledge about cognition. It involves reflecting and being aware of ones own various cognitive processes.

Planning Phase

I missed the lecture involved in this topic. However, to overcome the deficit, I planned to do a lot of reading pertaining to the topic. The reading materials were not only limited to the recommended articles provided by the course. It also included reading related concepts, websites, blog posts, people’s understanding of the concept, etc. In so doing, I had a wider idea about the topic metacognition and cognition in SRL. To this, I set out to achieve the following goals by the end of the tasks;

  • to identify and describe the components of metacognition
  • to summarise the concept of metacognition in a concept map
  • to provide general strategies that may help learners to become aware of their cognitive processes.

The three goals listed above entails a lot. However, since the goals are attainable within the time frame, I am confident to achieve it. In the worst case, if I am able to achieve 2 out of the 3 goals, I think I will still consider myself as achieving my goals.

Working Phase

Knowledge about metacognition is essential in learning. This statement is true since a good correlation has been found between people who have high metacognitive awareness and their learning successes since metacognitively aware individuals are able to plan, sequence and monitor their learning in a way that directly improves performance (Garner & Alexander, 1989; Pressley & Ghatala, 1990). In simple terms, metacognition refers to the ability of one being conscious of his thinking and thinking processes. It connotes one’s reflection on how they are able to accomplish a task or a cognitive activity. These thoughts trigger questions such as;  why am I doing this task in this way? How is my mind processing the information am reading? Not only does the metacognition contribute to one becoming conscious of their thinking but also reflecting on strategies to be employed to maximize one’s capabilities.

In this task, I would like to explore in detail the concept of metacognition as well as provide strategies that would aid learners in becoming metacognitively aware of their own learning. In Fig. 1, I provide a concept map about the concept of metacognition. The essence of this concept map is to provide a real and  concrete version of the otherwise abstract concept of metacognition. This will further aid in understanding. In addition, since I am visual learner, I will have the opportunity to dissect the concepts into pieces for easily comprehension.

Metacognition popplet

Fig. 1: A concept map displaying the various components of metacognition.

According to Flavell, the elements of metacognition are knowledge of cognition and regulation of cognitive (metacognitive regulation). Under these elements, metacognition can also be sub-categorized into metacognitive knowledge, metacognitive experiences and metacognitive strategies. The first two can best be put under the heading of knowledge of cognition whereas the the last one under metacognitive regulation.

Metacognitive Experiences

Metacognitive experiences are the experiences that one has that makes metacognitive knowledge to be attained or metacognitive regulation to occur. This involves the interactions that serves as triggers to make one become aware of their cognitive enterprises.

Metacognitive Knowledge

This type of knowledge concerns itself with the belief or knowledge about factors that affect and interact with cognitive enterprises.  This includes an individual’s self-acquired beliefs about a a task/topic. For instance, when given a specific learning task, the metacognitive knowledge a student has will aid him in asking the questions such as: what knowledge do I have about this task? How do I proceed in solving this task? What are the strategies available for me and which ones are suitable for this particular task? A students’ diagnosis of such questions presumes their knowledge about the task and hence their metacognitive knowledge. Metacognitive knowledge is further divided into declarative knowledgeprocedural knowledge, and conditional knowledge.

In declarative knowledge, one’s own knowledge about a task or topic is demonstrated. It includes the factual knowledge an individual needs before being able to process learning tasks or topics. It could also mean the knowledge one has about their skills, capabilities, and intellectual resources as a learner. For the latter definition, declarative knowledge has been termed as personal knowledge (Madeline, 2017). For example, if I want to learn about the topic cooking, my declarative knowledge about cooking will include facts about ingredients, nutrients, boiling, etc. as well as knowledge about my skills such as using the knife, stove, saucepan, etc.

For procedural knowledge, learners are required to have knowledge about the procedure and processes of completing learning tasks. It entails the knowledge about the strategies to be taken in order to complete learning tasks. It includes both the length (how much time and space required) as well as the content (what are the constituents) of the task.  Again, procedural knowledge comprises of the perception an individual has concerning the difficulty or easiness of a task. Considering the learning tasks associated with this blog post, my procedural knowledge includes the various strategies, such as the use of concept maps, I employed in achieving my learning goals. Further, the knowledge I had about what should make up my blog content as well as the deadline associated with all the blog posts demonstrates my procedural knowledge about this task.

Conditional knowledge concerns itself with the knowledge about the situation and circumstances under which declarative and procedural knowledge are applied. It involves the knowledge about when and why to use a specific strategy for a specific purpose. For example, if I use I strategy such as mnemonic to remember facts in my history class, the knowledge I have about whether that strategy can be transferred or applied in my mathematics class constitutes my conditional knowledge.

Metacognitive Strategies

In all the aspects of SRL, adaptation and review of a learners’ motivation, emotion, cognition, behaviour, etc. are of paramount importance. Of what use is the knowledge of oneself if it does not result in a positive change? To this, metacognitive regulation (metacognitive strategies) are discussed. Metacognitive strategies are the strategies that individual’s use in order to ‘regulate’ the processes in their cognitive enterprises. The following general strategies have been compiled to aid learners to become aware of their metacognition. The list is inexhaustive and they include;

  • Summarizing
  • Paraphrasing
  • Creating analogies
  • Note taking
  • Creating questions
  • Self-observation or recording
  • Mind maps
  • brainstorming.

Reflection Phase

Generally, I succeeded in my learning tasks as well as attaining my learning goals. To be able to achieve my learning goals, I read through the reading materials intensively. This was partly due to the fact that I missed the lecture involving the topic. As a result of missing the lecture, I was required to write about a 500 word task on the role of metacognition in SRL. Thus, I had two tasks; blog post and assignment related to this topic. This ushered me to read extensively to be make me well vexed in the concept of metacognition and cognition.

Notwithstanding attaining my learning goals, there were challenges associated with this task and I would like to share. The concepts were too abstract and one needed to concretize it in order to grasp its content. To overcome this challenge, I mostly used concept maps and other visuals to help bring the concepts into ‘reality’. When I understand the concept, it is easier to make connections, similarities, etc in a visual form through mind mapping. Apart from making mind maps about the abstract concepts, I also related the concepts to real life experiences. In this way, I was able to ‘personalized’ the concepts and came up with my own examples. Further, I searched for  other sources, outside the recommended reading materials, to expound my knowledge and understanding of the concepts.

Possibly, there are alternative ways I could overcome such a challenge. For instance, I could have discussed my knowledge about the concepts to my peers and receive their feedback. In this way, the healthy discussions could help ‘polish’ concept misunderstandings, confusions, etc. My peers will aid in the co-construction of the knowledge about the abstract concepts. In addition, it would have been prudent to have a peer teaching about the concepts. I could have arranged for a peer teaching, where I present the ideas I learned about the concepts to my friends. Teaching to my peers has two advantages; planning and preparing for the teaching and feedback from students (peers). The planning and preparation of the lesson I would need to teach will require diligent and high content knowledge about the abstract concepts. Hence, I would gather as many information as possible to avert being ‘mocked’ by my peers. The feedback from my peers will also help shape my understanding of the concepts.

References

Philip H. Winne. 11 Sep 2017 ,Cognition and Metacognition within Self-Regulated Learning from: Handbook of Self-Regulation of Learning and Performance Routledge. Accessed on: 18 Nov 2017

https://www.routledgehandbooks.com/doi/10.4324/9781315697048.ch3

Veenman, M. V., Van Hout-Wolters, B. H., & Afflerbach, P. (2006). Metacognition and learning: Conceptual and methodological considerations. Metacognition and learning, 1(1), 3-14.

Flavell, J. H. (1979). Metacognition and cognitive monitoring: A new area of cognitive–developmental inquiry. American psychologist, 34(10), 906.

Madeline, “Metacognition (Flavell),” in Learning Theories, April 6, 2017, https://www.learning-theories.com/metacognition-flavell.html
Garner, R., & Alexander, P. A. (1989). Metacognition: Answered and unanswered questions. Educational psychologist, 24(2), 143-158.
Pressley, M., & Ghatala, E. S. (1990). Self-regulated learning: Monitoring learning from text. Educational psychologist, 25(1), 19-33.

 

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Motivation and Emotions in SRL

Introduction

This third blog post reflects my learning on the subject Motivation and Emotion in SRL. The lectures were offered by Hanna Järvenoja on 14th November, 2017. As someone who has and is working on emotions and motivation regulation, it was no surprise to see Hanna’s passion during the lectures. the outline or guideline for writing this post is presented in Fig. 1.

Screen Shot 2017-11-14 at 23.51.40

Fig. 1: Outline for writing the blog post.

Planning Phase

This task encompasses my reflections on emotions and motivation. This subject, emotions and motivation constitute an aspect of learning that need to be ‘regulated’, as highlighted in the previous post Introduction to SRL. It is, therefore, imperative to have an in-depth knowledge about the what, how, when and why to regulate our emotions and motivation for successful learning outcomes. The topics which were covered in both the lecture and the articles include the definition of motivation and emotion, the constructs of motivation, supporting motivation and emotion. In addition, concepts such as how is emotion regulation linked to the SRL process, emotion regulation strategies, how students regulate their emotions in class (See Boekaerts, 2011) are discussed. My goals for this  task are;

  • To understand motivational constructs (what are the determiners/factors that influences one’s motivation?)
  • Emotion regulation strategies (what strategies do I need to regulate my emotions?

My goals look very hectic and broad. However, with persistence, perseverance and determination, I am confident to reach that goal. As such, I will pay much attention to the sub-headings that captures my goals in the reading articles. To arrive at this goal, I have attended the lecture session on that and notes have been taken. In addition, I have had the chance to read the recommended articles for a couple of times; first skimming, scanning and then deep reading. Unfortunately, I could not read the optional studies attached. I hope to read it after my post.

Working Phase

The broader aspects of this topic motivation and emotion in SRL requires that I select an interesting component that suits my goal. Before, I select the two ideas, I want to briefly describe the two terminologies emotion and motivation. Motivation is the ‘will’ of performing a task. It takes into account one’s determination and perseverance to complete a task, regardless of the obstacles that will arise. Connecting motivation to SRL, it is obvious that without the motivation of achieving learning goals, it will be of no use for students to ‘regulate’ their learning. Thus, motivation answers the why question in SRL, example why am I doing this blog post? During the lecture, Hanna came an argument that motivation is the driving and direction force of SRL. In effect, not only does motivation take you to your learning destination but also where to pass to reach that learning destination. Emotions involve one’s affect, feelings that arises during the learning process. The emotions could be either positive or negative and both have repercussions on the learning outcomes.

Since this task involves two terminologies; motivation and emotions, I will consider taking one idea from each terminology. Consequently, motivational constructs and emotion regulation strategies are the ideas I wish to elaborate and delve into. These two are very important to me in order for me to be able to work in group (emotion regulation strategies) and have focus on my career plans (motivational constructs). The winter is here and the dark days are approaching; depression, motivation drop, laziness will abound so its important I know what are the influencers of my motivation, write them down and post it in my room in order to remind me, anytime I feel a drop in motivation. Recently, during my collaboration learning tasks, I am quick to interrupt when other colleagues are making their points. To this, it is important for me to know the strategy that I can use to monitor and ‘control’ my emotions during collaborative working environments, and in life in general.

Motivational Constructs

In this context, the term motivational construct refers to the factors or determiners that urges an individual in performing task. It includes internal (passion, interest, self-belief, etc.) as well as external (grades, reward, certification, etc.) factors. Examples of such ‘drivers’ of motivation are presented in Fig. 2.

Motivational_Constructs

Fig. 2: Motivational  constructs.

Goals are a broader objectives set for a given course. They outline what one intends to achieve at the end of performing tasks. These goals shape one’s attitude towards the attainment of intended learning outcomes. They are often seen as the destination at which one wants to reach; they are the targets to be reached. An important goal set by an individual will urge the person in striving to reach set a target. This can be manifested in the classroom in so many ways. For example, if a student set the goal of achieving technological skills, they will go all out in making sure that by the end of the course/programme, such a goal is met. As I set out in getting an in-depth knowledge about emotions and motivation regulation in SRL, I have devoted so much time in reading related articles in order to arrive at my goal. When students set achievable goals, they able to work assiduously towards its attainment. It is so rewarding to achieve set objectives that one will usually not be ‘carried away’ by challenges. Hence, acting as a fuel and consequently a motivational factor for completing tasks.

Closely linked to goals are the interests. Similar to goals, interests also enhances one’s motivation for doing a task. Interest can be seen as the feeling of wanting to perform a task or reach a target. We display various interests in different aspect of our lives e.g I want to be in a relationship, I want to get a degree, I want to drive a car, etc. While some of the interests are individual-oriented, others are situational-oriented. As an example, a student may have the interest of designing a 3D object (individual) but may not necessarily be interested in mathematics. However, since mathematical concepts such as shapes, measurement, etc are involved in the 3D design, such a student will need to adapt his interest in order to be able to achieve his goals (situational). This adaptive (situational) and individual feeling will spur the student on in reaching their goal. Hence, interests shapes and powers one’s motivation towards reaching set targets.

Further, causal attributions have been identified to influence one’s motivation. By causal attribution, I mean causes that contributed to the failure or success of a project/course etc. When identified objectively, causal attributions will aid one’s motivation in subsequent tasks or performance. For instance, when am able to identify that I got low grades in a course, I will objectively reflect on what went wrong. Once am able to identify the cause, I will then make attempts not to repeat what went wrong. In so doing, I will be conscious, monitoring and be motivated to select alternative strategies that will help me in getting good grades. It is important to point out that students are usually not objective enough in identifying the causes of their performance, especially when the performance is bad. They are always blaming colleagues, teachers, etc for their ‘misfortune’, instead of critically looking at the cause from their inner perspective. Consequently, the cause of a failure blamed on teacher, for instance, will decrease the emotion of the student. On the other hand, if the cause is objectively scrutinized and the various remediation steps taken, students performance will increase and eventually increase their motivation in subsequent courses. Again, if a failure is objectively scrutinized and causes identified, it will motivate students in not repeating what resulted in the failure. In essence, whether the causal attribution is objectively or subjectively identified, it will have effect on students motivation; either positively or negatively.

Another equally important influencer for one’s motivation is their values. Values are the norms, beliefs, perceptions, standards that one has set for himself. It influences motivation in a way that it helps the individual in selecting items which are consistent with their values. In the school environment, students who are conscious about the environment and the effect of human settlement on wildlife, will join clubs, for example, that shares the same beliefs. With the same beliefs and viewpoint, the student will be able to choose courses which offer understanding in wildlife, environment, etc. Since their values are in cognisance with such courses, their motivation will be aroused and sustained throughout the course. If such motivation is monitored regularly and action taken, then we are talking about SRL.

Moreover, self-efficacy has been found to affect an individual’s motivation. Self-efficacy refers to the belief in one’s self (Bandura, 1982). In other words, how people believe in their inherent capabilities to perform a task. People with high self-efficacy beliefs are more motivated in performing tasks. Conversely, if the self-efficacy beliefs of students are low, they tend to lose motivation and eventually leading to under performance. Constantly monitoring one’s self efficacy leads to a motivation regulation and consequently, self-regulated learning.

Emotion Regulation Strategies

Emotions are affectively charged cognitions,, moods, feelings, affect, and well being (Boekaerts, 2011). Human emotion have varying consequences on learning outcomes. For example, a student who is angry about the mathematics teacher may not find any interest in studying mathematics. During the collaborative learning tasks, arguments arise and this in turn triggers strong emotional feelings. When such strong emotions are not controlled, the conducive learning environment will be compromised. In the subsequent paragraphs, I will explain how one will be able to regulate their emotions. The strategies to be discussed could either be preventive (strategies to be taken to avoid the occurrence of the emotions) or remedial (strategies to be taken when the emotions occur).

One way to regulate your emotions is to suppress it when one is emotional. This is a remedial strategy since it happens after the emotion has occurred. Suppressing one’s emotion is a conscious effort that the individual should adopt anytime they identify that their emotions are getting ‘out-of -hand’. During a live telecast of a national award, those who were not able to win the awards try to restrain from being dissappointed, frustrated, etc. Once, they are able to suppress their emotions, they muster courage to congratulate the winner. Similarly, in the school setting, it is important for a student to suppress their excitement when his friends could not get good grades while he obtained outstanding grades. Further, for the students that received the low grades, better for them to hold their frustrations against the teacher and friends as well. Before the start of an examination, students can breathe in and out in order to suppress their anxiety.

Equally important to suppressing one’s anger is to express one’s anger. On a casual look, venting or expressing one’s emotions might not be a good one and may have the tendency of affecting the group’s emotional atmosphere. However, most people by nature ‘explode’ when their emotions are accumulated. In such an instance, its a good practice to express one’s emotions freely so that issues that resulted in the strong emotions are not repeated. Expressing one’s emotions are remedial strategies; they are taken after the emotions have been registered and once its vented out, remedial actions are taken.

Moreover, Acquiring and providing social support have been found to be a useful strategy for regulating one’s emotions (see Sarason, Sarason & Shearin, 1986; Karabenick & Newman, 2009). Teachers and parents are key agents that provide social support to students when the latter expresses their emotions. Providing and acquiring social support could either be preventive or remedial. For example, during a visit to the war museum, teacher can give advanced cues to students to alert them of the possible emotions that may arise during the tour.

‘This educational movie contains disgusting footage of child abuse, etc’. Teachers can provide this statement at the beginning of watching the movie so that the students are already aware of what to expect in the movie (preventive strategies). On the other hand, parents, teachers and colleagues will prompt the individual if they see that he is becoming too emotional. ‘Ike, you seem upset about what Tom said’. Such a statement from a colleague, teacher or parent will make Ike become aware of his emotions and hence regulating them. The teacher can also ask the class or an emotionally-charged individual to take a break or drink coffee, when the teacher realizes that the emotional atmosphere in the classroom or during the collaborative learning is not a healthy one. In other cases, students will seek help from specialist when they experience trauma, depression, etc. The latter examples illustrated constitute remedial emotional regulation strategies.

Reflection Phase

To achieve my aim of writing this post, I attended the full lecture session. Notes and key points were written down on my laptop. After the lectures, I familiarized myself with the recommended reading materials. This augmented my understanding in concepts that I learned during the lecture session. Further, to express my understanding of the concepts, I created mind maps to represent my ideas and how to write this post. These are manifested in Figs 1 and 2 in this post. I then set out to ‘concentrate’ on my intended goals for this task. Assembling the materials was a tough task in this assignment. This is because one of the reading materials (that is Boekaerts, 2011) was a book chapter and I could not get access to the full version of the book chapter. I was limited to the number of pages I was allowed to view or read. For instance, when a concept will be introduced and just after the explanation in page 419, the next page reads ‘Page 420 is not allowed to be viewed’. When page 421 starts, probably it concludes on the concept and a new concept is introduced.

In such a scenario, I need to search for that concept in the other reading material or related materials to get a full picture of that concept. If the search for related concepts prove futile, I search for contrasting concepts to get understand the opposing side if the concept. For instance, if I could not read the full version of the concept suppressing emotions as a strategy to regulate one’s emotion, I will search for opposite concept such as enhancing emotions. From the contrasting perspective of the concept, I will derive my own understanding and get practical examples to support my argument. In the future, I intend to visit the library to see if I could get a hard copy of the recommended books. Alternatively, I will message my friends to see if any of them have been able to get the full online versions of the books.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Bandura, A. (1982). Self-efficacy mechanism in human agency. American psychologist, 37(2), 122.
Boekaerts, M. (2011). Emotions, emotion regulation, and self-regulation of learning. Handbook of self-regulation of learning and performance, 408-425.
Karabenick, S. A., & Newman, R. S. (2009). Seeking help: Generalizable self-regulatory process and social-cultural barometer. Contemporary motivation research: From global to local perspectives, 25-48.
Sarason, I. G., Sarason, B. R., & Shearin, E. N. (1986). Social support as an individual difference variable: Its stability, origins, and relational aspects. Journal of Personality and Social psychology, 50(4), 845.
Wolters, C. A. (2003). Regulation of motivation: Evaluating an underemphasized aspect of self-regulated learning. Educational psychologist, 38(4), 189-205.

 

Research questions, research methods and philosophical assumptions

An important step in scientific writing. The correlation between research questions and research methods. Worth reading. Very good insights

Qualitative Researcher Dr Kriukow

“There are no right answers to wrong questions.” – Ursula K. Le Guin

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Research questions are central to every study. Not only do they help you develop the study in the right direction (to enable you to understand the situation you are trying to understand/solve the problem you’re trying to solve, etc.), but they will also later help the reader evaluate the extent to which you really have achieved these goals.

When I am asked to help someone with their study, either as a tutor or a research associate (e.g. to analyse and describe the data or to help develop research methods), the first thing I will ask of them is to tell me about the aims of the study and to tell me their research questions. I can do without knowing the former, but I cannot do without knowing the research questions. Similarly, one of the first things the…

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Reflection on Session 4

This session of the LET2018 conference saw very interesting research methodologies. A blend of early-stage, post PhD and experienced researchers came to give us different ideas about doing research. the presenters were Arttu Mykkänen (a PhD student), Kristiina Kurkki (a recently graduated PhD student) and Pirkko Siklander (a senior lecturer and docent). Both Arttu and Kristiina continued with the regulation of learning while Pirkko concentrated on learning environments. Even though both Arttu and Kristiina talked about emotion regulation, their contexts were different. While the former’s context was high school students, the latter’s was children.

The new perspective of regulated learning with the children was very appealing and I would want to elaborate about them. First, until recently, children’s regulatory phenomena has been under-researched (Eisenberg et al, 1996). This knowledge is important for people who would like to tow this path of research with children. The implication is that there is more to be explored when it comes to children regulation of learning. Secondly, the findings from Kristiina’s research was interesting. However, the dissemination of the findings to a crucial stakeholder; parents was somehow missing. Perhaps, this is a key indicator of most research; lack of connection between research and actual implementation. In the study under discussion, there are differences between the regulatory strategies used by children with or without teacher’s involvement (Kurki, Järvenoja, Järvelä & Mykkänen, 2016). Such an information could be channeled to parents for them to be aware of when to or not to provide co-regulation for their children. This will facilitate the development of the children.

The second interesting thing I would want to reflect on is the outdoor learning and its educational affordance. There has been a recent outcry on moving traditional classroom education to a more constructive learning environment (Wilson, 1996) and ecologically friendly ones (Ballantyne & Packer, 2005). Nature such as forests, lakes, etc. fit into these constructive learning environments. Such outdoor learning provide learners with different learning styles and preferences (Dillon et al., 2006; Ouvry, 2003), especially for early year school children (Knight, 2013). The question that I have been asking all along is why is outdoor learning not common in schools? Pondering over this question puts a lot of responsibility on me as a teacher. Perhaps, the fears and the phobia, the numerous preparation needed to embark on outdoor learning and the hostilities sometimes shown by schools towards outdoor play inhibit teachers from exploring this rich form of learning. Despite these challenges, I would endeavor to put my students through this lifetime experience.

 

References

Eisenberg, N., Fabes, R. A., Guthrie, I. K., Murphy, B. C., Maszk, P., Holmgren, R., & Suh, K. (1996). The relations of regulation and emotionality to problem behavior in elementary school children. Development and psychopathology, 8(1), 141-162.
Kurki, K., Järvenoja, H., Järvelä, S., & Mykkänen, A. (2016). How teachers co-regulate children’s emotions and behaviour in socio-emotionally challenging situations in day-care settings. International Journal of Educational Research, 76, 76-88.
Ballantyne, R., & Packer, J. (2005). Promoting environmentally sustainable attitudes and behaviour through free‐choice learning experiences: what is the state of the game?. Environmental Education Research, 11(3), 281-295.
Wilson, B. G. (1996). Constructivist learning environments: Case studies in instructional design. Educational Technology.
Dillon, J., Rickinson, M., Teamey, K., Morris, M., Choi, M. Y., Sanders, D., & Benefield, P. (2006). The value of outdoor learning: evidence from research in the UK and elsewhere. School science review, 87(320), 107.
Knight, S. (2013). Forest School and Outdoor Learning in the Early Years. SAGE.
Ouvry, M. (2003). Exercising muscles and minds: Outdoor play and the early years curriculum. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Exploring regulatory interactions among young children and their teachers in day – care context – focus on teachers’ monitoring- Kristiina

Does young children regulate their learning?  Which form of regulation is visible among young children? These answers and many more related to young children are the focus of this presentation by Kristiina Kurkki. The traditional scope of studies of regulation of learning has been confined between higher ages (ca. more than 10 years) (e.g Schunk & Zimmerman, 2011; Heikkilä, Niemivirta, Nieminen,  & Lonka, 2011; Pintrich, 2004). However, at very early ages, regulatory skills develop among children (Eisenberg, Spinrad & Valiente, 2016; Whitebread & Basilio, 2012) and such skills relate to their overall successful development (Hernández et al., 2016; Blair & Raver, 2015).

To this, the current presentation aimed at exploring the regulatory interactions among young children with their teachers. The focus was on how the teachers monitored the regulatory strategies of the children in a normal day-care context. The research questions include (Kurkki, 2018);

  1. what kinds of emotion and behaviour regulation strategy types children use independently or with teacher support?
  2. how does teachers’ level of monitoring contribute to children’s strategy use?

The research covered 30 day care children (ages between 2-5 years) and 8 teachers in an authentic open day-care facilities designed for research purposes. The activities of the children were video recorded.  A time-stamped video analysis was used. By time-stamped, the researcher only identified episodes of the children’s interaction which were socio-emotionally driven. The subsequent of the video analysis involved coding for children’s strategies and adaptations. Teacher’s support of monitoring was also coded and finally statistical connections (using SPSS) between teacher’s support and children’s strategy and adaptation use was performed.

From these analysis, it was evident that the most independently used strategy by the children were situation modification, response modulation and situation selection (Kurkki, 2018). However, with the teacher’s support, the children were found to use redirecting activity as their most used strategy (Kurkki, 2018). With teachers’ showing active monitoring, the children were found to adapt their strategies more.

This studies has corroborated with earlier studies that children also regulate their own learning. However, conspicuous with the children’s regulation is an external or co-regulator. Such co-regulators could be parents, teachers or peers. Since children spend considerable number of hours at school and home, it is important to disseminate such information to both teachers and parents. This will help parents and teachers to ‘understand’, example, strategies that the children are using to overcome challenges. The parent and teacher awareness would eventually facilitate the development of the children.

References

Schunk, D. H., & Zimmerman, B. (Eds.). (2011). Handbook of self-regulation of learning and performance. Taylor & Francis.
Heikkilä, A., Niemivirta, M., Nieminen, J., & Lonka, K. (2011). Interrelations among university students’ approaches to learning, regulation of learning, and cognitive and attributional strategies: a person oriented approach. Higher Education, 61(5), 513-529.
Pintrich, P. R. (2004). A conceptual framework for assessing motivation and self-regulated learning in college students. Educational psychology review, 16(4), 385-407.
Eisenberg, N., Spinrad, T. L., & Valiente, C. (2016). Emotion-related selfregulation, and children’s social, psychological, and academic functioning. Child psychology: A Handbook of Contemporary Issues, 3rd Edn, eds C. Balter and CS Tamis-LeMonda (New York, NY: Routledge), 219-244.
Hernández, M. M., Eisenberg, N., Valiente, C., VanSchyndel, S. K., Spinrad, T. L., Silva, K. M., … & Southworth, J. (2016). Emotional expression in school context, social relationships, and academic adjustment in kindergarten. Emotion, 16(4), 553.
Whitebread, D., & Basilio, M. (2012). The emergence and early development of self-regulation in young children. Profesorado, Revista de Currículum y Formación del Profesorado, 16(1), 15-34.
Blair, C., & Raver, C. C. (2015). School readiness and self-regulation: A developmental psychobiological approach. Annual review of psychology, 66, 711-731.

Kurkki, K. (2018). 413320S Exploring regulatory interactions among young children and their teachers in day – care context – focus on teachers’ monitoring, LET2018 Conference. [Lecture PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from https://letmaster.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/earli2017-presentation-kristiina-kurki.pdf

Students’ interpretations of a group awareness tool in a collaborative learning setting- Arttu

Collaborative learning is multi-faceted. The various individuals coupled with the processes of collaboration make it a complex and challenging one. Group awareness is necessary for increasing the performance of the group (Leinonen, Järvelä & Häkkinen, 2005; Rogat & Linnenbrink-Garcia, 2011). Tools, such as technological tools,  have the capacity of making the awareness of groups visible. Such group awareness tools function as giving peer feedback and support within the group (Phielix et al., 2011), informing the group about other group member’s participation (Janssen, Erkens & Kirschner, 2011) and as a prompt for monitoring the progress of collaboration and socially-shared regulation of learning (Miller & Hadwin, 2015; Järvelä et al., 2015).

Despite these benefits that group awareness tools bring to the collaborative learning situations, not much research has been done to investigate the perceptions and interpretations that learners have concerning such tools. Consequently, this presentation aimed to unravel the how learners in a collaborative learning scenarios interpret group awareness tools. The following research questions were asked (Mykkänen, 2018);

  1. What types of advantages relating to the group awareness tool use do students describe after a series of collaborative tasks?
  2. What types of disadvantages relating to the group awareness tool use do students describe after a series of collaborative tasks?

The study consisted of 44 second year teacher education students grouped into 11 solved a mathematical didactic course in a 7-week period. The group awareness tool called S-Reg was used to monitor the group activities while a semi-structured interview was administered after the course. A data driven content analysis of the interview data was coded by 2 independent coders and a good inter-rater reliability was obtained (κ = .72).

There were both positive and negative interpretations about the use of the S-Reg group awareness tool (this is in consonance with the 2 research questions above). Of the positive interpretations, learners acknowledged that the group awareness tool (Mykkänen, 2018);

  • prompts their discussion
  • aids the group with task understanding
  • helps to understand one’s own and other group members state of mind
  • initiates the onset of their group activities

For the disadvantages that characterized the use of the group awareness tools, the learners agreed that  S-Reg (Mykkänen, 2018);

  • might increase the frustration of the group members
  • was not generally beneficial to the group
  • was ignored or hastily used by the group

In spite of the fact that there were other ‘issues’ raised regarding the use of the group awareness tool, the other positive side about the use of the tool is worth elaborating. Learners agreed that the S-Reg  tool aided them in regulating their cognitive (task understanding), emotional (helping to understand one and the group’s state of mind) as well as in their planning (initiates the beginning of group activities). The emergence of such and their regulatory strategies sustains and improves the overall group performance. This is consistent with earlier studies (e.g. Phielix et al., 2011; Järvelä et al., 2015).

Probably, the reason why the groups admitted of not using the awareness tool regularly was that the groups were familiar with each other. Since the target group were second year teacher education students, it presumes that they had already known themselves as colleagues for over a year. In that instance, the use of a group awareness tool was not of benefit to them. The implication is that for subsequent designs, the group formation and didactics should take into consideration such factors.

References

Leinonen, P., Järvelä, S., & Häkkinen, P. (2005). Conceptualizing the awareness of collaboration: A qualitative study of a global virtual team. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), 14(4), 301-322.
Rogat, T. K., & Linnenbrink-Garcia, L. (2011). Socially shared regulation in collaborative groups: An analysis of the interplay between quality of social regulation and group processes. Cognition and Instruction, 29(4), 375-415.
Phielix, C., Prins, F. J., Kirschner, P. A., Erkens, G., & Jaspers, J. (2011). Group awareness of social and cognitive performance in a CSCL environment: Effects of a peer feedback and reflection tool. Computers in Human Behavior, 27(3), 1087-1102.
Janssen, J., Erkens, G., & Kirschner, P. A. (2011). Group awareness tools: It’s what you do with it that matters. Computers in human behavior, 27(3), 1046-1058.
Miller, M., & Hadwin, A. (2015). Scripting and awareness tools for regulating collaborative learning: Changing the landscape of support in CSCL. Computers in Human Behavior, 52, 573-588.
Järvelä, S., Kirschner, P. A., Panadero, E., Malmberg, J., Phielix, C., Jaspers, J., … & Järvenoja, H. (2015). Enhancing socially shared regulation in collaborative learning groups: designing for CSCL regulation tools. Educational Technology Research and Development, 63(1), 125-142.

Mykkänen, A. (2018). 413320S Students’ interpretations of a group awareness tool in a collaborative learning setting, LET2018 Conference. [Lecture PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from https://letmaster.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/awareness_mykkanen_earli_2017_2_9.pptx