OpenEd17: The 14th Annual Open Education Conference
October 11 – 13, 2017  ::  Anaheim, CA

Return to the Conference Website 

Back To Schedule
Friday, October 13 • 10:30am - 10:55am
Going Beyond Access: Can Cognitive Science Improve Student Learning of OER?

Log in to save this to your schedule, view media, leave feedback and see who's attending!

Feedback form is now closed.
Since the inception of OER, the overwhelming focus has been on improving student access to educational materials. However, access to materials is only one piece of the educational puzzleäóîstudents still need to learn that information. Fortunately, research in cognitive science offers empirically validated techniques for improving learning. OER providers are uniquely positioned to improve learning by integrating these findings into their materials.

Over the last two years, we have been working to implement cognitive science principles into OpenStax textbooks. One such principle is retrieval practice. Retrieval practice refers to the act of recalling learned information from memory as part of the learning process (e.g., Answering practice questions). An overwhelming number of laboratory and classroom studies have found that practicing retrieval improves learning of text materialsäóîeven more than standard study strategies such as repeated rereading and concept mapping (Karpicke & Grimaldi, 2012).

Implementing retrieval practice within OER appears to be relatively straightforwardäóîsimply ensure that learning materials include practice questions for students to use. Indeed, including practice questions at the end of chapters within textbooks is standard practice. However, results from our early studies suggest that simply offering retrieval practice opportunities is not sufficient. First, students did not utilize the retrieval practice opportunity unless there was a grade incentive to do so. Second, students who answered the questions often engaged in maladaptive behaviors. For example, many students entered garbage responses in order to receive participation points or view the correct answer. Despite these challenges, students who properly utilized the retrieval opportunities saw improved learning outcomes. Thus, integration of cognitive science into OER appears to be a promising avenue for improving student learning, but there are significant challenges to consider.

avatar for Richard Baraniuk

Richard Baraniuk

Victor E Cameron Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Rice University
Richard G. Baraniuk is the Victor E. Cameron Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University and the founder and director of OpenStax. In 1999, Dr. Baraniuk launched Connexions (now OpenStax CNX), one of the world’s first and today one of the world’s largest... Read More →
avatar for Debshila Basu Mallick

Debshila Basu Mallick

Postdoctoral researcher, OpenStax, Rice University

Friday October 13, 2017 10:30am - 10:55am PDT
Terrace A - C