Design Project - Overview
Your task is to find a way to teach something. It can be anything you like - a list of words, how to solve stoichiometry problems, how to play a song on the guitar – but it needs to be a specific thing. Your approach must be based on a concept from class. It can be any concept covered in your assigned readings, lectures, video content, or demonstrations, and it can be from a chapter or unit that we have not yet completed.
You will complete a first draft, review three of your peers' papers, and submit a revised draft. This activity is designed to help you:
- Deeply understand and explain a psychological concept related to learning.
- Practice applying concepts to improve learning.
- Experience the process of translating concepts into learning practices.
- Gain experience reviewing other students' work and revising your own.
Steps to Complete
- First draft submission
- Peer review assignment
- Revised draft submission
- Late submissions will not be accepted.
- Please do not include your name in any file you submit.
Step 1: First draft submission
You will write a two- to three-page paper (1,000 word minimum for first draft, 1,100 for revised draft) explaining the concept from class that you have chosen to apply, how it is relevant in your design, and why you believe this application of a principle would be effective. You will also be responsible for submitting a copy of your learning materials and a clear, step-by-step description of how you would give your lesson (any samples of materials do not count toward the word minimum, but descriptions of your materials and procedure do).
You will be graded based on the following criteria:
- Principle Described: Provides clear description of the psychology principle that is guiding the research; terms are defined
- Materials/Procedure: Describes materials and procedure with sufficient detail that someone else could recreate them; example of materials provided at end of paper
- Application of Principle: Articulates how the principle relates to the experimental materials; makes clear how details of the principle have informed the design of the materials
- Evidence to Support Predictions: Cites at least one idea, experiment, or research finding to support predictions (i.e., supporting your argument for why this learning approach should be effective)
- Evidence to Refute Predictions: Cites at least one idea, experiment, or research finding to refute or contradict predictions (i.e., an explanation for what might go wrong or why it might not be as effective as you predict)
- (Revised draft only) Explanation of Revisions: Addresses and briefly explains response to all peer feedback (how you responded to each comment and/or why you chose not to follow a peer’s advice) and other revisions made to paper. Clearly identifies what was revised, why, and how it improves the paper.
These are questions to help guide your writing. To ensure that you address all of the rubric criteria and to help your peer reviewers identify important information, please use the following section headings in your paper. In each section, make sure you address the prompts and questions that follow each header.
What is the psychology principle you’re applying? Make sure you select only one principle and that your principle comes from class or the textbook. Would someone who has not taken the class understand your explanation of the principle? Have you defined any important terms in your explanation? Consider providing an example of the principle to help make your explanation clear.
What, in detail, are the learning materials and/or procedure that you would follow? Are they explained clearly enough that someone else could replicate them, i.e., they could try using your materials and following your procedure to teach someone else? Did you include a copy of any learning materials you would use?
Application of Principle
Explain how the principle you chose influenced your design of the learning materials/procedure. Is it clear how your principle guided your designed (e.g., “I made this design choice based on my principle, which predicts that…”)? The relationship between principle and materials/procedure should be very clear.
Evidence to Support Design
What is one idea, experiment, or research finding that supports your expectation that this will be an effective approach to learning your content? Describe this idea, experiment, or research finding.
Evidence to Refute Design
What is one idea, experiment, or research finding that suggests things might not go the way you expect? Describe this idea, experiment, or research finding.
(Revised draft only) Explanation of Revisions
For each comment you received in your peer reviews, what changes did you make to address the comment? If you decided not to address a comment, why did you feel it didn’t need to be addressed? What other revisions did you make? Describe how your revisions improve the overall quality of your paper. From your explanation, it should be clear to the reader that you have made an effortful attempt to revise and improve your paper.
Additional Resources to Help You
Design project: List of suggested topics
Below are suggested principles/concepts that might work well as your chosen principle for your design project. If you choose to use a principle or concept not on this list, I strongly encourage you to talk to me first so that we can make sure it is appropriate for your project.
Remember, you should choose only one principle or concept.
These principles are best for specific content that you want someone to remember, like a list of words, information in a reading, etc. Depending on the type of processing, it may also support better understanding of content.
- Elaborative rehearsal/elaboration
- Memory biases and errors
All three forms of learning are focused on training or changing behavior. While modeling and operant condition might be an appropriate principle for teaching someone how to behave in a particular situation or to do something (think of the Bobo doll experiment and the role of observational learning in children’s development), remember that classical conditioning relies on naturally occurring, often biological behaviors (e.g., salivating at the sight of food), and would not be appropriate for more complex tasks or conscious decision-making.
- Classical conditioning
- Operant conditioning
- Modeling/Observational learning
Thinking, Language, and Intelligence
- Problem solving
- Biases in decision making and how to avoid them