This guest post from Dr. Rashmi Kumar, Specialist in STEM Learning at the Weingarten Learning Resources Center describes our Ready, Set, Succeed series developed in collaboration with the Tutoring Center. Register now for our session on October 18, 2015.
The acquisition of knowledge is often viewed in three forms—declarative, procedural, and critical. Each of the above has different, although, sequentially significant aspects. Declarative knowledge focuses on the notion of ‘knowing what,’ procedural knowledge is anchored in ‘knowing how to,’ and critical knowledge is driven by the quest of ‘why.’
STEM courses are fundamentally geared to the constant pursuit of answering how and why.
At the simplest level of exploring new sources of information, the natural inclination is to assimilate the ‘new’ by understanding and remembering. Often, during periods of time crunch and when faced with overwhelming amounts of information, people resort to memorizing without understanding. The kinds of questions that are served well by these efforts ask one to list, recall, state, define whereas the how and why kinds of queries strive for probes, connections and comparisons.
Within the above context, we are motivated to create a deliberate and focused pathway for students to conceptualize how they study, prepare for exams, maximize the impact of practice exams towards clear goals, and utilize (free/open source) mobile technologies to fortify their efforts.
Towards the above goals, we will create structured opportunities for students to individually survey their course materials and reflect on exam experiences through a guided process. Next, using small group and individual activities, students will explore the overall structure of questions in science and math courses by using an updated version of Bloom’s Taxonomy and discuss strategies for learning with effective use of practice exam questions. Additionally, four apps – Evernote, Notability, Simple Mind and Coggle IT – that can reinforce study strategies will be introduced. Lastly, discipline-specific study strategies will be shared by tutors.