Documentation:Learning Principles & Strategies/Case Study Plant Biology

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The Teaching Challenge

Video to go here!

Case Study - Biology

Group Discussion Results

What may be going on for the students in this scenario?

  • Trying to apply what they know about primary growth to secondary – not working
  • Having sparse knowledge structure; can’t fit all pieces together well
  • Unable to generalize
  • They think the goal is memorization instead of concepts
  • Motivation
  • Mnemonic evaluation (memorizing terms in isolation of their relevance to deeper learning)
  • Antithetical to how they’re expressed

What learning principles might help us understand the problem and determine teaching approaches?

  • Knowledge organization
  • Maybe motivation too
  • Knowledge organization
  • Meta-cognition
  • Mastery integration

What teaching strategies might you suggest and why

  • Give assignments requiring students to work in 3D ex. Produce animation
  • Have students present/explain component processes to each other
  • Reorganize presentation
  • Cover memorization (anatomy) separate from concepts
  • Be transparent about learning goals
  • Provide structure so details are learned in context
  • Flush out structure of generalized secondary growth
  • Specialize to roots and stems
  • Compare and contrast
  • Fill in details (terminology)

Your rationale for the strategies suggested?

  • Students benefit by giving them initially some appropriate organization structures for what they’re learning
  • Creating contexts for knowledge retrieval and application that are based on problem solving and analysis



  • Ambrose, S.A., Bridges, M.W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M.C., Norman, M.K. (2010). How Learning Works: 7 Researched-based Principles for Smart Teaching. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  • Doyle, Terry. (2008) Helping Students Learn in a Learner-Centered Environment. Sterling: Stylus