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Any good education journals, magazines, etc.?

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SamRoss
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I had to suffer through a lot of pseudo-science to earn my master's in education. I am suffering through more of it now while I "study" for my administration license. In fact, because anachronistic theories such as VAK (visual, auditory, kinesthetic learners) get floated around so much in the education community, I have put off even searching for good research because I believed none existed. I'm still not sure, but I'd like to find out and I trust the PF community about a thousand times more than I trust the professors of the courses I'm taking. Can anyone recommend journals, magazines, books, websites, stone tablets, or anything else that are based on solid research?
 

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  • #2
berkeman
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Welcome to the PF. :smile:
In fact, because anachronistic theories such as VAK (visual, auditory, kinesthetic learners) get floated around so much in the education community
In my training experience (mostly in EMS and the Medical field), this is a valid concept. People learn best in different ways, which is why we use all of those modalities in our training.

Can anyone recommend journals, magazines, books, websites, stone tablets, or anything else that are based on solid research?
In general, if you do a search for articles on a subject, look for links that are to peer-reviewed literature and at very reputable websites like NCBI, AMA, etc. When reading Wikipedia articles, look at the reference list and click into links at peer-reviewed journals.

Here is what we have in the PF Rules for how to determine if a link posted in our technical forums qualifies:

Acceptable Sources:
Generally, discussion topics should be traceable to standard textbooks or to peer-reviewed scientific literature. Usually, we accept references from journals that are listed here:

http://ip-science.thomsonreuters.com/mjl/

Use the search feature to search for journals by words in their titles. If you have problems with the search feature, you can view the entire list here:

http://ip-science.thomsonreuters.com/cgi-bin/jrnlst/jlresults.cgi?PC=MASTER
 
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In my training experience (mostly in EMS and the Medical field), this is a valid concept. People learn best in different ways, which is why we use all of those modalities in our training.
If you mean that people learn best when presented with material in different ways that seems to be valid, but that such learning styles exist and have benefits is dubious.

Can anyone recommend journals, magazines, books, websites, stone tablets, or anything else that are based on solid research?
Research about what? Learning in general? Teaching in a particular subject area?
 
  • #4
SamRoss
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Welcome to the PF. :smile:
Much appreciated (although actually I've been here for quite some time).

In my training experience (mostly in EMS and the Medical field), this is a valid concept. People learn best in different ways, which is why we use all of those modalities in our training.
I won't get into it here, but I have a great deal to say on this topic. I'll probably start a thread on it in the near future.

In general, if you do a search for articles on a subject, look for links that are to peer-reviewed literature and at very reputable websites like NCBI, AMA, etc.
Those appear to be related to medicine, but I appreciate the response.
 
  • #5
SamRoss
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If you mean that people learn best when presented with material in different ways that seems to be valid, but that such learning styles exist and have benefits is dubious.
Agreed.

Research about what? Learning in general? Teaching in a particular subject area?
Learning in general is an interesting subject, but in my experience, discussions and articles on this topic tend not to be of much practical use. I am after the answers to very simple and specific questions. Some examples: Are students better able to answer percents word problems by drawing diagrams or by plugging into equations? Do students retain more information from a read-aloud or independent reading? Which blended learning models have shown the most success? Is there a point of diminishing returns when it comes to repetitious exercises and if so, what is it (for instance, if a student is still shaky after attempting two integration by parts problems, five more might help, but if the student is still shaky after twenty then it might be a good idea to switch gears)?
 
  • #6
berkeman
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I am after the answers to very simple and specific questions. Some examples:
You are in the right place now. By virtue of our rules and the PF members who are in touch with those rules, this is the right place for you to post your questions. You will rarely get pseudoscience oriented replies here, and those will be deleted within nanoseconds. :wink:
 
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The best professional development I've ever done was when a professor emeritus of neuroscience came to our small school to discuss with the faculty what is known about how the brain learns. It sounds like you need some good resources about educational neuroscience. Unfortunately I am not aware of any and my 3 minutes on google didn't turn up much for promising results. There are some (new) journals that have been started, but the field looks perhaps too new to have a single well-established journal. I would love to be corrected on this if someone knows of one/some!

Are students better able to answer percents word problems by drawing diagrams or by plugging into equations? Do students retain more information from a read-aloud or independent reading? Which blended learning models have shown the most success? Is there a point of diminishing returns when it comes to repetitious exercises and if so, what is it (for instance, if a student is still shaky after attempting two integration by parts problems, five more might help, but if the student is still shaky after twenty then it might be a good idea to switch gears)?
To answer your questions: yes.

There is no one approach to anything that will work better than any others. The more areas of the brain that you can engage in the learning process the stronger the learning will be. That is one of the major takeaways I've learned about learning. The large role that the amygdala plays in learning is interesting. The more that one's emotions are engaged in the learning process the stronger the learning outcomes.

Sorry I can't be of more help about a solid source of information!
 
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  • #8
Andy Resnick
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I am after the answers to very simple and specific questions. Some examples: Are students better able to answer percents word problems by drawing diagrams or by plugging into equations? Do students retain more information from a read-aloud or independent reading? Which blended learning models have shown the most success? Is there a point of diminishing returns when it comes to repetitious exercises and if so, what is it (for instance, if a student is still shaky after attempting two integration by parts problems, five more might help, but if the student is still shaky after twenty then it might be a good idea to switch gears)?
Some STEM education-focused journals we have recently published in- meaning the Journal has rigorous peer-review, etc.- that you may find articles of interest:

J. STEM Education: https://www.jstem.org/jstem/index.php/JSTEM
International Journal of Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education

Just be aware that those simple questions you list above don't have simple answers- a typical answer to most of them would be 'it depends.'
 
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SamRoss
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Thanks very much. This is just what I've been looking for. :)

Just be aware that those simple questions you list above don't have simple answers- a typical answer to most of them would be 'it depends.'
That's true, but it doesn't mean there's nothing to be learned from investigating. If Class A was taught some material using Strategy A, and Class B was taught the same material using Strategy B, and 70% of Class A ended up mastering it while only 50% of Class B did, that's worth knowing! I know I don't have to convince you of this, but I am often frustrated when I speak with my peers about setting up rigorous educational experiments only to be blown off with platitudes like "Everyone learns differently."
 
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That's true, but it doesn't mean there's nothing to be learned from investigating. If Class A was taught some material using Strategy A, and Class B was taught the same material using Strategy B, and 70% of Class A ended up mastering it while only 50% of Class B did, that's worth knowing! I know I don't have to convince you of this, but I am often frustrated when I speak with my peers about setting up rigorous educational experiments only to be blown off with platitudes like "Everyone learns differently."
Why don't you ask them if they think that the whole section of the APS on Physics Educational Research (PER) is completely useless. Ask them if they think that the extensive research on active learning, Peer Instruction, etc. are bunk. And then turn around and ask them if they have extensive data, beyond just anecdotal observation, that their way of doing it works and is most effective.

Zz.
 
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Andy Resnick
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That's true, but it doesn't mean there's nothing to be learned from investigating. If Class A was taught some material using Strategy A, and Class B was taught the same material using Strategy B, and 70% of Class A ended up mastering it while only 50% of Class B did, that's worth knowing!
Glad to hear the references are useful! However, your thought experiment is rife with "it depends": did the same instructor teach both classes? How did the student makeup differ between class 'A' and class 'B'? And, if the teaching strategies differ, how can you ensure that the *same* material was taught *equally* in both classes?

A counterexample (a real one that I was personally involved with): given 2 Calc I sections, both taught by the same instructor during the same semester, both sections served as 'negative controls': no interventions were used for either class. The only easily quantified difference between the two classes was that one was offered 10-11 am MWF, the other offered 2-3pm MWF. The pass rates for these two sections differed by 100%: one had a pass rate of 80% while in the other, only 40% of the students passed.
 
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Did the better section have exams before or after the worse section?
 
  • #13
SamRoss
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...your thought experiment is rife with "it depends": did the same instructor teach both classes? How did the student makeup differ between class 'A' and class 'B'? And, if the teaching strategies differ, how can you ensure that the *same* material was taught *equally* in both classes?
Pardon my face slap. Yes, you're right - one experiment with two classes could not be taken as rock-solid evidence. Ideally, the experiment would be run again and again with the same teacher, at the same time of the day, in the same environment, and so on in order to eliminate other factors. Or the experiment could be run with many different teachers at many different times, etc. I didn't think it would be necessary for me to state all that. Respectfully, I sometimes get the feeling that whereas people in other sciences understand that eliminating other possible causes is hard work (and therefore requires more rigorous research), educators use the difficulty of accounting for external factors as an excuse for not doing research in the first place, hence the constant "Everyone learns differently" and "It depends". I'm really sorry if I'm coming off a bit harsh here. I truly don't mean any disrespect but after years working in what I view as a highly inefficient system, it's difficult for me to even talk about this and many other education-related subjects without getting riled up.
 
  • #14
Andy Resnick
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Ideally, the experiment would be run again and again with the same teacher, at the same time of the day, in the same environment, and so on in order to eliminate other factors. Or the experiment could be run with many different teachers at many different times, etc. I didn't think it would be necessary for me to state all that.
But that's one essential difficulty with running education 'experiments': what would be the duration of your proposed experiment, and when you are done, what is your sample size? For the example I provided- using a large-enrollment required course- we still needed 4 years (8 semesters), about a dozen instructors and 3 dozen tutors and over 1500 enrolled students to draw any statistically significant conclusions- and the primary result was simply "more time on task generates improved outcomes". Hardly insightful.
 
  • #15
Andy Resnick
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Did the better section have exams before or after the worse section?
The better section was in the morning, and we (as best as we could) designed the experiment to minimize the role of cheating.
 
  • #16
SamRoss
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...and the primary result was simply "more time on task generates improved outcomes". Hardly insightful.
It sounds to me like no insightful conclusions were reached because the experiment was not designed to garner any. Teachers were not testing out any new, interesting strategies - they were just doing what they normally do - so of course the only difference between the two classes ended up being some mundane factor.
 

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