Documentation:Learning Wrapper Definition

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Please note: this page is a work in progress.


Exam Wrappers

Exam wrappers are designed to encourage useful reflection on exams, as opposed to the typical focus on grades. Students typically fill out questions before and/or after their exams, assessing their study habits, level of confidence, and other useful information. This information is returned with marked exams, allowing learners to compare and contrast their grade with how they studied and how they felt about the exam. This 'encourage[s] students to process their graded exams more deeply...'. (Carnegie Mellon)

Cognitive Wrappers

  • Teaching Naked: Cognitive Wrappers
    • Metacognition is 'thinking about your thinking' and there are a number of studies which assert that it can improve your thinking and academic performance.
    • Self-consideration is noted: "[a]ctive, persistent and careful consideration of any belief of supposed form of knowledge in light of the grounds that support it, and the further considerations to which it tends." (John Dewey, 1910)
      • The ability to remain skeptical and hold onto opposing viewpoints is what is aimed for: it keeps you intellectually primed, so to speak.
    • Discussion the rationale behind assignments, methodology behind teaching, as well as debriefing grades/tests/assignments in classes all helps build self-regulation skills, as well as increasing learning/retention of knowledge, especially in learners who aren't familiar/comfortable in a university environment. The goal is to turn out critical thinkers, and this helps tremendously.
    • Model for a four-part cognitive wrapper (for an exam, but it looks transferable):
      1. Rationale: this is to help you improve.
      2. Reflection: how did you prepare for this exam?
      3. Comparison: what kind of mistakes did you make?
      4. Adjustment: how will you prepare differently next time?
  • The Learning Geek: Meta Cognitive Wrappers
    • The way the author creates metacognitive wrappers for their assignments/lessons is to prepare three questions that start and end the lesson. (The questions differ slightly in phrasing but address the same issues.)
      1. Something relating to the current knowledge of the student, e.g. where are you right now in your understanding of the topic?
      2. Something related to the type of thinking they'll be doing over the course of the lesson—gathering evidence to build knowledge, analyzing gathered knowledge, etc.
      3. Something about the process the student is going to go through: how will they prove their learning this lesson?
    • The questions are repeated at the beginning and end of the lesson, with the goal of provoking reflection on material.
    • The questions link directly to learning outcomes, e.g. "[w]hat SOLO level do you feel you could reach if asked to answer a question on this chapter and what steps would you need to take to increase that to extended abstract?"
  • Carleton University: Metacognitive Wrappers
    • Three steps to teaching metacognition:
      1. Teaching students that their ability to learn is not constant. (This motivates students to improve, as many have been told that improvement is impossible.)
      2. Teaching planning and goal-setting. Students who receive as little as half an hour of one-on-one tutoring on the process of self-regulated learning outperform students who received none, learning more, and spending more time engaged in their tasks.
      3. Giving students ample opportunities to practice monitoring their learning, and adapting as necessary.
    • Expert learners self-regulate as they learn. They start with goal-setting and planning, take into account time constraints, relevant strengths and weaknesses, and motivation for the learning. Goals are set, learning strategies are planned, and as the plan is implemented, the results are measured and adjustments are made until the results are in line with the goal.
    • Wrappers are used as an example of a tool used to teach self-monitoring.
      • Lecture wrappers: lecture begins with a few tips on active listening, and students are encouraged to think about the key points of the lecture. At the end of the lecture, students are polled on what they thought the most important points of the lecture were, and the results are immediately revealed. Doing this with regularity brought the students' responses increasingly in line with the instructor's.
      • Homework wrappers: students are asked to rate their perceived ability to perform certain tasks (in the homework) before they perform the assignment, and after. Students generally remarked that they were overconfident entering the assignments.
      • Exam wrappers: as soon as graded exams are returned, students are returned reflection sheets, where they're encouraged to describe their study strategies, analyze mistakes, and plan for future study. These sheets are returned several days before the next exam, so they can use the ideas they had when the previous exam was fresh in their mind.

Content Curation

While not strictly on the topic of learning wrappers, one feature of a learning wrapper is the ability to turn a collection of curated content into a lesson.


UBC Learning Wrapper

Learning Wrapper Documentation: a learning wrapper is a mobile-friendly video-based learning resource template which can be applied to any UBC CMC website. The default learning wrapper is broken into four major components:

  1. Watch: video is embedded here.
  2. Think: quizzes (generally created via Gravity Form) are embedded here.
  3. Explore: additional learning materials (downloads, links, other videos) are embedded here.
  4. Discuss: discussion questions are embedded here.

Learning Wrappers are currently used on Digital Tattoo and DIY Media.

Learning Wrapper Category: this category applies to anything related to a "learning wrapper" which could be defined as structure for self assessment related to a learning activity. Three phases are typically considered: pre-activity, during activity, post-activity. A question for faculty might be: "what do you want learners to consider at each of these three phases?".

DOER Effect