Help Students Organize Their Knowledge

Information without organization and context does not promote learning. "Information organized in personally meaningful ways is more likely to be retained, learned, and used" (Angelo, 1993, p. 5).

Examples of Sakai use

  1. Have students construct time lines that illustrate sequential events.
  2. Have students contribute news items or other information that relates the information to their major or career.
  3. Organize posted course documents in a meaningful way.
  4. Have students create a "Concept Map" (Cross & Angelo, 1993, pp. 197-202) using PowerPoint or a mind-mapping application and post it in a Forum on the topic at hand. Students are to diagram major concepts and how they relate to each other. For example, direct students to write "Democracy" in the center of the screen, then around it, add related terms, people, or concepts that come to mind.
  5. Provide external links to recognized expert information on the topic.

General best practices for helping students organize their knowledge from current educational models

  1. "[People] seek regularity and meaning constantly, and we create them when they are not apparent….To be most useful, the ways learners organize knowledge is a given domain need to become ever more similar to the ways experts in that field organize knowledge" (Angelo, 1993, p. 5). Make what is implicit, explicit. "Show students a number of different, useful, and acceptable ways to organize the same information. Use prose, outlines, graphs, drawings, and models. Assess students' organizing schemas and skills by getting them to show you their 'mental models' in a similar variety of ways" (p. 5). 
  2. Provide meaningful organization to the content.
  3. Encourage students to inquire further and explore external resources. 
  4. List references to other resources.
  5. Relate student activities and organizations to students' overall college experience.


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