The learning component will assess students’ knowledge related to the theoretical and empirical aspect of the learning construct. Upon completion of the component the students will be required to write a laboratory report addressing a selected issue from learning research which must be submitted by 4pm on 28th November, 2003.The lecture in Week 4 includes research in the area of dimensional learning.
People are exposed to multi-dimensional environment and had to be selective in activating one particular dimension necessary for the manifestation of adaptive behaviour in a particular situation. Some studies call it “attentional learning”. The research on “feedback” will be discussed in Week 6. They will compare and contrast reinforcer, reward, punishment, feedback/knowledge of results (KR) during last few weeks. The students took part in an experiment investigating the effect of feedback on learning. During the following week they will receive briefing in the practical sessions.
The topic is as follows:Topic for Learning practical report, 2003“Investigate the effects of auditory and visual feedback on dimensional learning”However the students will be encouraged to individualise the titles provided that it focuses on the assignment topic.Knowledge of results or Feedback improves affects the development of skills and knowledge (Smidt and Shaprio, 1986). However it is still a matter of much debate whether feedback always improve performance. We still do not know which type of feedback is more effective in simple and multi-dimensional tasks. In this experiment two groups of students learned simple cognitive task of deciding whether a letter is a vowel or a consonant, or whether a number is odd or even.
They learned the tasks in two conditions:1) the dimension remained unchanged during the block of trials. b) the dimensions were randomly switched. Condition 1 represents simple learning and Condition 2 represents dimensional learning. Half of the students received visual feedback during the training and the other half received auditory feedback. We expect that dimensional learning being more complex and difficult would benefit more from informative feedback as compared to simple learning. We also expect that if modalities of feedback and tasks are different the feedback should be more effective in engaging participants’ attention to feedback. In turn it may positively affect the performance. However if the task is simple any form of feedback could be disruptive.
The variables we manipulated are as follows:Feedback modality: a) visual b) auditoryTask: a) simple b) dimensionalWe would like to see the effects of the above variables on the improvement of learning in terms of speed and accuracy.There were 12 blocks of trials with 32 trails in each block. In four blocks the dimension of the tasks remained unchanged, and in 8 blocks they were switched. The methods used were akin to task switching paradigm used by Monsell, Allport, Merian and others. Each block started with four practice trials. The trials were randomised.
The report should include research on Feedback, Knowledge of results, task switching,, modality, and learning. Some relevant articles and copies of relevant abstract are available from the Macintosh Lab A1.065. The student can browse them in the lab or if they want to take them out the have to deposit their Library cards. They should also read page Learning and Memory: An integrated Approach by Anderson (2000)(pages 90-92; 334-336). They must also search relevant information using the online databases. They can quote from abstracts as long as it is clearly indicated that only abstracts were consulted in those cases. The report should follow APA/BPS style.
The main emphasis should be in introduction, methods and discussion. The raw data will be available from the web. As long as the results follows APA/BPS format and are clear they will be acceptable. Sufficient guidance will be provided during the lab sessions and during the learning surgery. The technical support staff (Neil Meikle) will provide additional help in analysing the results. In the result section the students should provide the descriptive statistics and appropriate inferential statistics. Appropriate graphs are desirable. SPSS output should be included in the appendix sectionThe referencing must follow the APA/BPS style. If any student is not sure then she/he can pick up any APA journal and follow the style. Any abstract used as a reference should be clearly marked.