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Improving deep learning with MCQs and EVS

By Steve Draper,   Department of Psychology,   University of Glasgow.

Title: Improving deep learning with MCQs (Multiple Choice Questions) and EVS (Electronic Voting Systems)
Occasion: SALT Seminar - Multiple Choice: The smart choice or dumbing down?
  Swansea Academy of Learning and Teaching
Date/time: Wednesday 23 Nov 2011. Session: 12:00-2:00pm
Place:   Room 703,   Library Building (no.7)   University of Swansea
How to get there: Instructions   campus map
Presenter Steve Draper,   Department of Psychology,   University of Glasgow.

Slides: PDF
Handout: PDF file
Related material:

  • Website about EVS:
  • Draper,S.W. (2009) "Catalytic assessment: understanding how MCQs and EVS can foster deep learning" British Journal of Educational Technology vol.40 no.2 pp.285-293 see here
  • PeerWise: software to administer student authoring of MCQs in large classes.
  • Bloom's taxonomy, Revised version, relevance to MCQ test design


    Staff and students in the UK often dismiss MCQs (Multiple Choice Questions) as being associated with rote learning, but not understanding. However one of the biggest results ever published in education shows how mistaken this attitude is. The most important aspect of deep learning is probably being concerned with reasons rather than only with conclusions. If you want to test for knowledge of reasons then you can easily design MCQs to give the facts and ask about reasons. More interestingly, you can use MCQs that ask about facts to provoke learners to search for reasons. One method is to have students design MCQs (together with automatic feedback explaining why each response is right or wrong): the PeerWise software can organise this as an assignment in large classes. Another method is to use questions delivered by EVS (electronic voting systems) to catalyse peer discussion, even in huge classes. This talk will discuss some of the big educational results, and also psychological research that partially illuminates the mechanism.

    In order to book: sign up here or contact Chris Hall.

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