Cognitive Neuroscience, Adaptive Learning, and Innovative Teaching Methods: Increasing Student Learning Outcomes

Monday, 30 October 2017

Akhtar Ebrahimi Ghassemi, PhD
College of Nursing & Public Health, Depatment of Family, Mental Health, & Community Systems, Adelphi University, Garden City, NY, USA

Instructors should empower students to take ownership of their academic pursuit by promoting democratic interactions in the classroom where students are encouraged to demonstrate critical thinking skills as they share their ideas and questions. A teacher’s goal is to facilitate the students’ acquisition of knowledge and critical thinking skills (Mc Keachie, 2002). An educator creates an atmosphere in the classroom that helps foster these skills by using dynamic activities and knowing that learners can differ in their interpretation of apparently similar opportunities and differentially respond to them (McCaslin, 2009).

The presentation goals include: 1) to discuss the applications of recent cognitive discoveries in teaching methods to increase students’ adaptive learning (consistent with the Convention’s second objective & NLN Core Competency I); 2) to explain the benefits of using technology and diverse teaching methods in providing supportive learning environment for students to better meet the demands, needs, and goals that are required for their academic success.

Based on the teaching philosophy that features a learner-centered approach and cognitive neuroscience, the presenter used multiple teaching modalities including: interactive lecture discussion; audiovisual teaching (film clips, animations, educational DVDs, and online textbook resources); role play; and case studies. To explore the impact of using multiple teaching modalities and technology on students’ performance, the presenter reviewed and compared nursing students’ final grades, completion of the offsite course assignments and activities, and their Academic Testing Institute (ATI) nursing specialty test grades in an undergraduate Mental Health Nursing course taught in four semesters. A research project pertaining to the topic is in progress. ATI standardized tests are used to predict student performance in the National Council of Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). The implications of the preliminary review of students’ performance in a Mental Health Nursing course will be discussed in relation to challenges of effective teaching in nursing education.