Cerego Blog Aug18

The standard for personalized learning

College of Western Idaho instructors Teresa Rich and Holly Paquette decided to replace the sage-on-stage lecture format with active learning in their Microbiology courses.

Active learning formats focus on application and higher order thinking in class and put the burden of learning vocabulary terms on the students. “Active learning formats benefit all students, but the students need to come prepared to class so they can effectively participate,” Teresa noted.

 

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“Explaining foundational terms over and over again can use up valuable time in the classroom.

- Holly PaquetteCollege of Western Idaho instructor

 

“Explaining foundational terms over and over again can use up valuable time in the classroom,” added Holly. “If students have the terms memorized in advance, they can recall more effectively and keep up better.” Making the move to a flipped class environment posed potential challenges for their students.

“We have students from every category. Straight out of high school, returning, single parents, single wage earners for the family, first generation college students, underrepresented, refugee, homeless. Students can struggle because they don’t know effective study habits and may be embarrassed to ask for help,” said Teresa.

  

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“Students can struggle because they don’t know effective study habits and may be embarrassed to ask for help.

- Teresa Rich, College of Western Idaho instructor

 

“Many of our students have never taken a Biology course or it has been years since taking one,” added Holly.  

I wanted something that would be easy to use, effective and efficient for my time-strapped students. Daren Olson of our Center for Teaching and Learning proposed Cerego and it seems to be working.”

Because Cerego is adaptive, learners get exactly the help they need. Available on any device, Cerego is especially popular on mobile. Cerego pings the learner to review when they are beginning to forget, which is the sweet spot for building lasting knowledge.

 

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Since students know the facts and concepts by doing their Cerego homework before the lecture, instructors can spend less time reviewing the basics in class.

- Daren Olson, College of Western Idaho, Center for Teaching & Learning

 

Daren had previously identified how and why Cerego could contribute to the active learning class format.

“Since students know the facts and concepts by doing their Cerego homework before the lecture, instructors can spend less time reviewing the basics in class. Without mastery of those basic facts and concepts, students are more likely to experience cognitive overload when they try to use a process or principle to explain or predict. And that cognitive overload shuts down the students' ability to engage in any ‘higher-level thinking.’ If key facts and concepts are mastered first, the cognitive load is decreased when students learn procedures, processes, and principles.” 

 

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I like how Cerego repeatedly emphasizes in its messages to students that, when it comes to long-term retention, cramming doesn't work.

- Daren Olson, College of Western Idaho, Center for Teaching & Learning

 

Daren went on to describe an additional benefit of Cerego: the introduction of effective study techniques.

“One really nice side effect of the Cerego review schedule is that it promotes spaced study and practice over cramming. I like how Cerego repeatedly emphasizes in its messages to students that, when it comes to long-term retention, cramming doesn't work. The success students experience as they learn with Cerego helps convince them to invest their mental effort into study strategies that include spaced study and practice.”

Daren, Teresa, and Holly share the common goal of advancing instructional practice based on sound evidence. After preliminary data from use of Cerego showed promising results, Teresa and Holly decided to try Cerego in a comparative class test.  

 

How the test was set up

110 students participated in the experimental pool, with 43 students in the control pool. The experimental pool students used Cerego to study an average of 25 terms per week, with four checkpoints provided during the course of the semester. All students were tested with ten shared questions on the final exam.

 

Results

Students using Cerego scored an average of 5% higher on the ten shared questions on the final exam over those who did not use Cerego. Students who achieved level 2.7 within Cerego achieved an A. Students who achieved level 2.2 within Cerego achieved an B. Students who achieved level 1.6 achieved a C.

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Student Feedback on Cerego

88% of students using Cerego in the trial gave positive feedback regarding Cerego.

One student noted, “if you actually commit to following the promptings reminding you to study, you will do well in the course. Simple as that.”  

 

If you actually commit to following the promptings reminding you to study, you will do well in the course. Simple as that.

- Student, College of Western Idaho

 

The findings backup this student’s claims: on the average, students who worked just 1.25 hours a week on Cerego received an A- in the course.  

Another student writes, “I use Cerego every day. Cramming doesn’t work with this program. It really helps with retention if you use it as intended. Study in short bursts, don’t cram!”

Student learning biology on Cerego

 

Implications for Cerego at College of Western Idaho

For Teresa and Holly, the study shows they have a solid basis for continuing the use of Cerego. They shared these findings with their colleagues on campus and with the Society for the Advancement of Biological Education Research, and they hope to continue their study of Cerego. Additional comparative class tests are planned for the future. The conclusions they reach will help them improve their teaching practices. They will also be shared with Cerego to help improve the product.

Paul Mumma, COO of Cerego says, “We are pleased with the initial promising results shown for Cerego in this study. But as a research based company, we are interested in research partnerships that can give us objective feedback - whether positive or negative - that can help us effectively improve our system.”

 

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The lessons we learn from doing these research projects allow us to identify best practices in implementing Cerego within different types of classes.”

- Daren Olson, College of Western Idaho, Center for Teaching & Learning

 

Daren Olson has found solid evidence for expanding Cerego to other departments in the College of Western Idaho as well. “The lessons we learn from doing these research projects allow us to identify best practices in implementing Cerego within different types of classes. We’ve got some departments/schools that are planning on using Cerego a lot, whereas others are just beginning to consider it.

Our plans within the Center for Teaching and Learning for advancing Cerego are to make sure the people who are using it have a successful experience. Word of mouth drives a lot of technological innovation at this campus, so once we get a few faculty within a department using it successfully, others tend to follow within one or two semesters.”

 


 

To sign up for a free class trial of Cerego Courseware or learn more, contact Brian Gore at bgore@cerego.com.

 

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