Academic journal article North American Journal of Psychology

Conscientiousness and Learning Via Feedback to Identify Relevant Information on PowerPoint Slides

Academic journal article North American Journal of Psychology

Conscientiousness and Learning Via Feedback to Identify Relevant Information on PowerPoint Slides

Article excerpt

Note taking is one of the most commonly used strategies to encode information from oral-visual college lectures (Bonner & Holliday, 2006; Buchko, Buchko, & Meyer, 2012). These lectures often include PowerPoint slides, as such technology is considered beneficial in maintaining students' attention and engagement with the material (Clark, 2008). Also, from a student perspective, a majority of students report that note taking is essential to their academic success (Dunkel & Davy, 1989; Williams et al., 2013). However, despite note taking being considered an integral skill to possess in a collegiate setting, most students never receive any formal training on how to do so (van Meter, Yokoi, & Pressley, 1994). Leutner, Leopold, and den Elzen-Rump (2007) proposed that training students to focus their learning through identifying relevant information would enhance overall comprehension and recall from the text. Haynes, McCarley, and Williams (2015) conducted a study in which they examined notes taken during a PowerPoint lecture and found that students with more relevant information in their notes exhibited better information retention, supporting the proposition of Leutner et al. (2007). Thus, based on this prior research, educational researchers should examine ways to help students learn to identify relevant information to put into their notes, as this may have positive ramifications for not only their comprehension of the material being covered in a particular lecture, but also for their overall academic success.

Williams et al. (2016) began a line of investigation to explore ways to help students improve their abilities to identify relevant information presented on PowerPoint slides. Specifically, they developed a training intervention to see if they could help students better differentiate between relevant and irrelevant information on PowerPoint slides. They found that students who received specific feedback during training (the students saw the percentage of relevant information they identified correctly in addition to examining their graded PowerPoint slide) identified significantly more relevant information on posttest slides than students who received no feedback or were told only the percentage of relevant information correctly identified. Reilly et al. (2017) modified the intervention to train students to identify the irrelevant information rather than the relevant, before being asked to identify relevant information on posttest slides. In their study, they found that training individuals to identify irrelevant information yielded similar results in relevant word identification to those trained to identify relevant information. Williams, McCarley, Sharpe, and Johnson (2017) examined this training intervention as a function of initial relevant word identification abilities in the specific feedback group from the Williams et al. (2016) study. They found that those who demonstrated low initial relevant word identification ability showed significant improvement over the training intervention. Those with high initial relevant word identification ability, while not statistically significant, showed a decreasing pattern of performance after receiving the training intervention. These performance differences amongst individuals with varying ability levels highlight the importance of examining various types of feedback and individual differences in the context of this kind of training intervention.

In terms of feedback, specifically, many consider it to be an integral and crucial part of acquiring knowledge and skills in academic settings (Black & Wiliam, 1998; Hattie & Timperley, 2007; Nicol & MacfarlaneDick, 2006; Shute, 2008). Feedback is often used to bridge the gap between a students' current level of academic performance and a desired academic performance goal (Nicol & Macfarlane-Dick, 2006; Shute, 2008). Prior research identified two key types of feedback. One type, directive feedback, referred to as specific feedback in the Williams et al. …

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