[IAEP] Some curious social-psych research, with applications to OpenHatch, Nell, and...?
michael at laptop.org
Sun Mar 18 21:12:11 EDT 2012
Asheesh, Karen, (and various other friends interested in learning... :-)
If you haven't already done so, you folks should think about finding yourselves
copies of Carol S. Dweck's book: "Self-theories: their role in motivation,
personality, and development" [1,2].
The punch-lines that I see for OH [3,4], Nell , and friends include:
a) When faced with challenging problems, some people become frustrated,
bored, or distracted while others become patient, focused, or excited.
b) Variation in (a) can be predicted by measuring the subjects' agreement
with statements about the malleability and nature of "intelligence"
or by measuring preferences for learning goals vs. performance goals,
e.g., via the following measure, taken from the book's appendix:
Task-choice Goal Measure: (suitable for ages 10 and older)
"We have different kinds of problems here for you to choose from.
There is no right answer -- different students make different choices.
Just put a check in front of your choice."
I would like to work on:
__ Problems that aren't too hard, so I don't get many wrong.
__ Problems that I'll learn a lot from, even if I won't look so smart.
__ Problems that are pretty easy, so I'll do well.
__ Problems that I'm pretty good at, so I can show that I'm smart.
c) People who preferred opportunities to learn over opportunities to look
smart or to avoid looking dumb were unaffected by treatments designed to
increase confusion (like being asked to learn from a booklet containing an
intentionally confusing paragraph) while people who stated the other
preferences were quite negatively affected by the "confusion" treatment.
d) Subsequent interventional studies showed that the correlation described in
(b) survived treatments designed to shift people's beliefs and preferences
in both directions, like being asked to read appropriately crafted stories
about how recognized geniuses accomplished their intellectual feats.
Items (b) and (d) certainly seem like they might motivate some new OH / Nell
: Caroline (cc'ed) introduced it to me in response to a recent bit of gentle
provocation  on the part of myself, Chris, and Scott...
: http://lists.openhatch.org/pipermail/devel/2010-December/001703.html; better citations welcome
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