Speaker / Workshop Leader


Bruce Wainman

Talk Title - X reality and the concorde fallacy in education. 

Since the invention of stereoscopes in the 19th century technology-mediated reality (X Reality or XR) in anatomy education has been dominated by extravagant promises of educational efficacy. Careful testing of XR anatomy over the last 8 years has shown that 3D projections, mixed reality and virtual reality are about as effective for learning cadaveric anatomy as pictures showing the key views of a specimen and 15-20% less effective than solid models. The superiority of the solid, physical model appears to be the result of stereopsis not, as one might expect, handling the model or the similarity between the model and the test material. The huge investment required to make and market consumer-ready products and the prestige of making the “killer app” for anatomy has led to considerable sunk monetary and emotional costs which has subverted much of the rational evaluation of this technology.

Megan Sumeracki

Megan Sumeracki

Talk Title - Applying the science of learning from the laboratory to the classroom 

Decades of cognitive research can inform classroom learning. However, the research is not always translated into practice. During the talk, Dr. Sumeracki will describe the way in which cognitive research spans the laboratory to the classroom, providing examples from her own program of research on retrieval-based learning. She will then discuss ways that she and her colleagues have worked to create more bidirectional communication between learning researchers and classroom teachers through The Learning Scientists.

Veronica Yan

Veronica Yan

Talk Title - A toolkit for building better learners 

Given that the majority of learning takes place in the learners’ own hands, it is important that we understand how to manage our own learning effectively and efficiently. Despite being engaged in learning throughout our lives, research shows that our intuitions about how we learn are oftentimes exactly wrong, leading us to choose suboptimal learning strategies over more effective and efficient ones. While intuitions tell us that we should find strategies that make learning feel easy, the most effective study strategies are in fact the ones that introduce challenges to the learner and engage them more effortfully (aka “desirable difficulties”). Being an effective, self-regulated learner therefore not only requires knowing the right toolset of strategies to use, but also requires holding the right mindsets to appreciate that difficulty is important and integral to the process of learning. That is, having the right mindset for learning not only encourages learners to study harder, but is also important for teaching learners to study smarter.

EdCog2018 Mike Atkinson

Mike Atkinson

Talk Title - Welcome to My Classroom: Engaging Students in Large Lecture Classes 

The large lecture classroom poses a number of challenges for any instructor.  You need to use different techniques, deal with noise levels, try to make sure that students do not feel anonymous…and you have to be engaging.

In my 800 student classroom, about thirty percent believe they will continue in psychology. Another twenty percent have not completely decided, and the remainder are taking the course as an elective. The challenge for me is to light the fire of knowledge for the thirty percent and convince the rest that they really want to pursue psychology too. To engage students I use a number of techniques in a lively, fast-paced delivery that maintains attention, creates rapport, and challenges students to think about issues. In my presentation, I will model some of these techniques and then invite the audience to think about how to use these in their own classrooms.

Megan Sumerackiyana head

Megan Sumeracki & Yana Weinstein

Wokshop (Whole Group): Learning Strategies from Cognitive Psychology for Use in the Classroom and at Home

In this workshop, we will present a range of evidence-based strategies for teaching and learning, including spaced practice, dual coding (combining words & visuals), and retrieval practice (bringing information to mind). We will (a) briefly present research evidence for each strategy; (b) give concrete examples of implementation in the classroom; (c) have a group discussion about practical challenges to using the strategies; and (d) brainstorm solutions to these challenges.

Shoshanah Jacobs 

Shoshana Jacobs

Workshop (Stream 1) - Ideas congress (ICON): A transdisciplinary learning environment for experiential learning

Advances in technology and in our understanding of how students learn most effectively are contributing to changes in the way we teach in higher educational institutions (HEIs). In addition to disciplinary knowledge, students must acquire transferable skills including communication, problem solving, team-work, knowledge translation and transfer, and leadership. Teaching these skills requires a collaborative classroom that places students in an environment that recreates the real world without forcing them into a ‘sink or swim’ scenario. In our activity, participants will be introduced to IdeasCongress (ICON), a transdisciplinary learning environment available at the University of Guelph. During the workshop you will take part in some of the activities we run at the beginning of the ICON course, probing thought about discipline-specific thinking, biases, knowing your audience, and self-reflection. Be prepared to harness your illustration skills and visual perceptions that reflect your primary field of study.

At the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:
· Connect the importance of KTT as a tool to the key transferable skills required by students in a post-secondary education. 
· Reflect on how they might creatively hack their academic framework to teach more transferable skills. 
· Lead their own students in short activities related to learning basic skills in active listening and empathy.

Amy Pachai

Amy Pachai

Workshop (Stream 2) - Writing multiple choice questions to create effective tests

The primary goal of testing is to measure the extent to which students have learned the facts, concepts, procedures, and skills that have been taught in the course. In many university courses, instructors use multiple choice questions (MCQs) for some or all of the student assessment. However, many of the questions used by instructors contain critical flaws and most will do no more than test factual recall. Fortunately, writing high-quality MCQs is a learnable skill.

In this hands-on workshop, we will:
· Learn about how to employ the best practices and avoid common pitfalls of writing measurably effective MCQs. 
· Explore how theories of learning such as Bloom’s revised taxonomy can help us determine the level at which a question should be written. 
· Practice writing MCQs and providing valuable feedback to peers.

Irina Ghilic

Irina Ghilic

Workshop (Stream 2) - Note taking: How research can better inform practice

In today’s university setting, initial learning happens during lectures. Students attend a class and try to encode as much of the new information as possible. Most students keep a record of the lecture information via notes. However, not all notes are created equal. Taking good notes is really important, since students cite “notes” as their main source of study material. During the workshop, we will discuss various types of notes and their success (based on note taking literature), tips and tactics for taking notes, and various strategies to aid students become aware of their own note taking proficiency.

Throughout the workshop, participants will learn:
· Background cognitive research on note taking and studying of notes.
· Self-regulated learning and metacognitive awareness is crucial to taking good notes (and studying, in general). 
· There are multiple ways to take notes and prepare for a note taking session.

Laura Cole

Laura Cole

Workshop (Stream 3) - Think before you speak

The key to an engaging presentation delivery starts with intentional preparation and practice. Research has shown us how our brain naturally functions and we can use these strengths as the foundation for our techniques and strategies. Think Before You Speak is designed to harness these strengths to support preparation, practice and delivery.

In this workshop we will:
· Discover practical tools to prepare for a presentation that works with our brain’s natural strengths. 
· Learn delivery techniques to avoid reading scripted word-for-word notes to allow you to connect with your audience during delivery. 
· Explore proven strategies to stay calm and mindful during delivering to allow your mental energy to be used for your message, not your nerves.


Joe Kim

Joe Kim

Workshop (Stream 3) - Focusing on what really matters: A reset for workplace productivity

During the course of a busy term, we are pulled in multiple directions with increasing demands for our time and attention. Without a game plan, confusion, procrastination and “busy work” dominate over moving toward higher goals. Research from psychology can provide effective strategies to choose priorities that separate signal from noise, focus attention to engage in deep work, and develop habits that invest limited resources on what really matters. In this workshop we will:
· Explore how understanding the cognitive architecture of the mind leads to developing a working plan to handle daily challenges with optimized solutions. 
· Develop a culture for productivity that promotes deep work and movement towards a goal. 
· Learn about digital tools to integrate into workflows to shift our resources to important tasks like strategic planning which also deserve attention.

EdCog2018 Panel

EdCog 2018 Panelists

Panel Discussion - Is there validity to surface and deep approaches to learning?

This panel kicks off with a brief presentation that questions the validity of the often-cited surface & deep approaches to learning construct. Based on a critical review of the literature that uses the Study Process Questionnaire (Biggs, et. al., 2001) to distinguish between students who use deep approaches vs. those who focus on surface-level memorizing as well as data from a pilot lab/classroom study, we find no correlation between either group and their performance on a learning-transfer task. These preliminary findings raise broader questions for the panelists to respond to interventions in education that are not rooted in evidence which not only contribute to enduringly powerful mythologies in teaching and learning but also widen the gap between theory and practice. The panelists will also share reflections on specific areas of inquiry and practice bridging gaps in bringing together researchers and practitioners that Education & Cognition Symposium aspires to address.