Helping students help themselves with engaged learning

UMSI Research Fellow and Research Investigator Chris Brooks has received a $49,990 grant from the University of Michigan to fund his project, “Predicting the Academic Success of Students (PASS).” The grant, which was awarded as part of the U-M Third Century Initiative Quick Wins/Discovery grant program, will be used to study the development of self-regulated learning (SRL) by showing students predictive models of their success.

Self-regulation is an important feature of engaged learning, characterized by an ability to reflect upon behaviors and how these behaviors relate to learning outcomes. Self-regulated learning (SRL) skills can be strengthened through experimentation, exploration and feedback as it relates to behavior and achievement. 

As part of this study, Brooks seeks to help students understand the impact of their learning behaviors through predictive modelling software and visualizations of their learning patterns. 

Brooks and his research team will integrate new predictive modelling software into U-M Canvas, a new learning system that U-M piloted during the 2014-2015 academic year. The project will also include creating and embedding visualizations of the prediction models into the U-M Canvas system.

Brooks plans to pilot the models and visualizations in a variety of U-M Canvas-based courses during the 2016-2017 academic year.

By revealing to students the predictions of their success, and how that success correlates to their activities, Brooks aims to help students engage in conversations (with themselves, their peers and their instructors) to improve learning practices and outcomes. 

Additionally, Brooks proposes that visualizations will encourage students to take action by providing recommendations of how learning can be improved through interaction with available resources. 

The study will also feature UMSI Research Professor Stephanie Teasley, who will serve as co-principal investigator in the study.

The Third Century Initiative (TCI) is a plan from the University of Michigan president and provost to foster the development of forward thinking approaches to teaching and scholarship at the University of Michigan. Quick Wins/Discovery funds small-scale projects that have transformative potential for curriculum, pedagogy and student learning and/or projects that embrace risk, discovery and experimentation, empowering faculty members and staff to explore opportunities beyond the traditional.

Posted on September 23, 2015