There's a common misconception that learning facts and developing a broad base of knowledge isn't helpful for critical thinking. In fact, the opposite is true. At Cerego, we're deeply committed to helping students learn more effectively, so, we regularly work with academic institutions to uncover more about how the Cerego platform affects learning outcomes.
University of Hawaii at Manoa results
Recently, the University of Hawaii at Manoa shared anonymized question by question performance on the final exam, allowing unique insight into both multiple-choice knowledge questions and more complex 10-point analytical questions, which were designed to test deeper understanding of the material.
Data from 98 students revealed that, even after controlling for student ability (measured using prior grade point average, GPA), completing Cerego’s knowledge-building assignments improved final exam score overall by 12 percentage points—more than a full letter grade. Intriguingly, the effect was if anything higher on the analytical questions: learners who reached Level 1 retention in their Cerego assignments not only showed a 10-point increase on knowledge question scores, but a 16-point increase on analytical question scores. In other words, the retention level built in Cerego is not just a sum of foundational knowledge, but a powerful measure of the depth of understanding a learner has.
Why might this be? One reason: Students who engaged more with Cerego reported stronger foundational knowledge, but also that they were better able to follow and understand the lectures.
The test data bear this out, too: Scores on graded quizzes, midterms, and exams were consistently higher for students engaging in Cerego, and the gap grew larger over time. In other words, a solid foundation of knowledge seems to have enabled students to engage more fruitfully with the course material as they progressed, leading to compounding achievement gains and a greater understanding and reasoning ability than expected for their GPA.
Read the full report on our findings with our VP of Science, Iain Harlow, here.
Designing for decisions
Driven by our belief in the value of knowledge, Cerego’s product has grown far beyond the flashcard approach of our early days (and traditional educational software), and now approaches conceptual understanding through many formats and contexts. We're excited to see organizations from diverse disciplines build increasingly sophisticated learning pathways in Cerego—complete with a story arc, starting with the context for learning (instructional items), followed by core knowledge (retention items), and knowledge in context (scenario-based items).
The way items are structured in Cerego allows for a rich and engaging learning experience. For example, instructional content can incorporate videos, documents, or embedded interactive content, and SCORM packages can be integrated directly into Cerego courses. Concepts can be quizzed and presented in different contexts. Visual region items can train a medical student to identify abnormalities on a scan, or a driver to spot potential hazards.
With Sequence items, learners can develop understanding for more complex, multi-step procedures. Knowledge for each step is tracked separately but presented in the broader context of the entire procedure. In this way, foundational knowledge provides the scaffolding for a more holistic and applicable understanding of the process.
Try it out
Cerego’s mission is to help the world learn, which means fostering creativity, critical thinking, and understanding. We’ve designed a platform around helping learners develop real mastery and understanding of a subject, from foundational principles to complex applications, procedures, and scenarios.