Embodied Instruction Research at University of California, Santa Barbara

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Dr. Andrew Stull, Associate Project Scientist at University of California, Santa Barbara, joined the podcast to talk about their team’s embodied instruction research, if there could be such a thing as too charismatic of an instructor, and how this research should influence our pedagogy.

You can use new media, butdon't forego effective methods for constructing a lesson, for connecting with your students. You'relistening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education, the best professional development podcastfor higher education leaders looking to grow enrollment at their college or university. Whetheryou're looking for fresh enrollment growth techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you'vecome to the right place. Let's get into the show. Welcome back toenrollment growth university, a proud member of the connect Evu podcast network. I'mEric Olston with Helix Education and we're here today with Dr Andrew Still, AssociateProject scientist at University of California Santa Barbara and be. Welcome to the show. It's good to be here. Really excited to have you and talk withyou today about your team's embodied instruction research and how it might inform our pedagogy. Before we dig in, can you get the listeners a little bit ofbackground on both UCS be and your role there? Well, you see,Santa Barbara is a top Tier Research University, but our program has a strong anddedicated emphasis to education, educational design, technology design to promote meaningful learning.So that's what our team is constant traded on. It's what's the bestway to support student learning and instructional development to support meaningful are mostly be workin the stem, which is science, technology, engineering and math domains,but it's relevant to any topic that's being taught. It's a great mission.You're asking great questions and I'm excited to see if you and your team haveany starts to answers for us to consider as worth thinking about online instruction.A lot of us fair for the very first time in a serious manner thisyear, and he deck to kick US off today. Can you give usjust a high level overview on the concept of embodied instruction? Simply put,it's the idea that the instructor is part of the instructional message. The instructorssocial cues, personality presence is part of the lesson. It's not just thewords and the pictures that might be displayed on a screen or written on aboard, but it's what the instructor does, the high contact that they might gainfrom the students in order to support a social connection, to develop socialrapport or how they might reference point gesture in order to guide students to movethrough the lesson material. Is this? The simple thing is like, howis the Instru structor a guide to attending...

...to the relevant material at the righttime? Sometimes they talked about it as a dance. Is How the instructorsable to guide the students attention at the right time to the right place inorder to make the point that's intended to be made? Of through my timethat's pretty much an a pretty a pretty global, high level view of whatembodied instruction is. It's a super helpful one and it begs a lot offollowup questions in terms of you know, how much physicality is required for aninstructor to guide their students are learning. So, based on your research,how important would you say it is for a student to be able to seetheir professor during online instruction? You know, I hesitate to say that instructor mustbe seen, but an instructor must be personally present. There must besome attempt by the instructor to create a social relationship, to make aware thatthe student is present in that conversation. So you see con Academy of Videosthat in the speakers, in the instructors in those videos are, I wouldsay, very socially present, although you never see much more than a cursormoving through the screen. Yeah, so, I mean the search that I've donereally is about when the instructor is physically present, visibly present, butit I mean being social, making a connecting with the student. Does itnecessary? Would say, doesn't necessarily require. I mean, there's still some ongoingresearch to look at this that's needed, but my gut is telling me thatan instructor that is reaching to a student and attempting to create rapport isperforming much of that task and create our offering opportunity for the student to connectin to support rapport and to motivate the student to engage with lesson as beingpresented with the words, with the concepts, with the process or the sequence orthe animation or the piece of art. The old concept is the instructor asa guide. Yes, the specific aspect of my research is about howthe instructors gaze, to look at someone, and you could be in a conversation, and good conversations when to speakers look back and forth, they theylook into another person's eyes in order to establish that point, to to connect, to initiate that that connection. But then sometimes you'll be in a conversationand sometimes this person you're speaking to look away and suddenly you do this automaticallyaway thing. And some of that is that we are tuned to attend toboth the social gays that someone has looking...

...back and forth. It's I thinkit's called direct gays in the literature, but that's just called Social Gad andthe gays that a speakers use this in order to look at something else inthe environment, which gays guidance, and we're tuned to follow someone else's gaysbecause there might be something important out there that we want to attend to aswell. So those are two examples of things that I've been studying in howthe instructor guides the attention of the student either towards themselves to give them newinformation or towards something else in the environment to support an explanation, to givethem new information, to to guide them towards some visual piece of knowledge thatis needed. When you're trying to measure engagements, how do you separate oneslearning preference from their actual academic improvement? For instance, kind of students selfreported scores about which modality they believe engages them better actually be misleading to whichtruly did yeah, there is it and has been. I think it's settlednow. There's been a debate between style versus preference, and I think themost of strong part of the literature supports the fact that you have a learningpreference and that you might and you might think that that is how you preferto learn, that that doesn't preclude you from learning and other modalities. Muchof what I look at is multi modalities, multimedia in that it's the words thatwe speak, the pictures we show, the works that we write, animationsand the experience of the instructor as the social modality to support an anchorand glue those things together. Does it answer your question? Yeah, yeah, now it's helpful, I guess. I'm I'm trying to figure out asyour as UN your team were comparing different modalities, what were the metrics thatyou are using to come back with takeaways in terms of which modalities created thathigher levels of engagement? Was Engagement academic improvement? Yes, so the frameworkis in an idea of an embodied cognition to include of the idea is there'sa social component that we gaged through surveys, through a sense of feeling engage withlesson with the material, with the instructor and the intention or the predictionthat that student might use those different things into the future. How well werethey connect with it as a sense of their motivation and there says sense oftheir engage him. But we measured learning through an actual practical set of questionsafter giving them a lesson. So the...

...ideas will give you a lesson onthe topic and we study again topics and stem and then will, after thelecture that we deliver in different formats, will test whether you're able to bothrecall information that was given to you directly or be able to use information toreason about something that we may not have directly taught you. And that's adifference between a recall and a transfer. Transfers the idea that we want youto use something in a productive way that you might not have been directly instructedon. Now that's not always easy to test, but it is always agoal for us to to try to test it. So what we're doing iswe're using a objective questions that we ask in order to get a sense ofhow well the students did learn. Now what I haven't said is is thecomponent of attention we use eye tracking, and this is the idea that wehave a computer display in a system that, once calibrated, will look and calculatewhat the student is looking at on the screen. So we'll make adisplay presentation and the system that calculates to look at and to mark off thistime and the location on the screen where the student is looking. That givesus a sense of what they're attending to. Much of the research that that inthe paper that we're talking about, the art journal Article That just publishedwas about how the instructors face, and I gaze and body position influence wherethe students direct their attention. The ideas that with an instructor properly synchronized,that experience. Look at me when I want you to not be distracted byeverything else in the room or on board, because I'm going to give you somethingnew and then look at this new thing that I'm presenting to you,because I want you to look at that and to Parse and integrate it asI describe it to you. But I don't want you to look at mebecause I'm looking at me. The instructors of no value when you're supposed tobe looking at the board. Yeah, it's it's so it almost becomes asituation where the instructor needs know how to get out of the way, knowhow to move the student to this location at the right time as some newpiece of information is being revealed or described, and then pull them back to theinstructor in order to like prepare them for something new. So again,I think and made the analogy of a dance. So instructors almost like thisguide in this dance, this choreographer,...

...moving the students, the students attention, through the process of a lesson in the right way, at the righttime in order for students to gain the most from that experience. So,in an at short course, that's what my study has been about. Yeah, and and I know that you're probably in a lot of our listeners headsright now, because I know a lot of our academic listeners are not onlyextraordinarily proficient instructures but very striking, beautiful, charismatic people themselves, and they're probablyboy, am I distraction? Does your research suggest that there could besuch a thing as to charismatic and instructor so engaging that they actually distract?This is this is an old question. It's like cliar back to high schoolsand whether your teachers to attractive. I would say that again, a goodteacher, whether they are stunningly attractive or normal and average person, can dothe same thing in that gaining attention to support, rapport and motivation and thenusing that as a vehicle to direct attention as necessary to move it into placesin the lesson, often away from the instructor. I don't think the naturalbeauty or charisma of an instructor is a bad thing or is a hampering thing. Now, one of the things I did in my study was we lookedat the possible distraction of the instructor's face and the idea is that some fromthis study. Now we will talk about the whole nature of the studies ina bit, but of this study we found that the instructor's face was adistraction when it was visible. More we believe that it was a distraction inthat let me set up the study. So we compared a video lecture ona traditional whiteboard where the student where the student be, where the instructor looksto the camera to describe something and then turns to the board to write ordraw some relevant piece of information, then turned back, turns back to thecamera that this was contrasted with a transparent white board, and that is theinstructor is writing on a sheet of glass and the camera simply reverses the image. So it looks like they know how to write backwards, which is alwaysamazing for some people. In fact, they're not writing backwards, the camerajust reverses the image. Yeah, but the idea is that the instructors alwaysvisibly presented to the camera or the viewer, and in that situation we found thatstudent spent much more time looking at the instructor then at the lesson.Okay, and I think that would happen whether there was tremendous charisma from theinstructor or none at all. Yeah,...

...because we're wired to attend to people'sfaces, we are wired to drop being drawn to their eyes, and soit appears to be beneficial in that situation to turn away from the audience tolook at the board, because at that point you're both making your removing thefaces, this element of distraction, but you're actually shifting your body to createthis embodied directness, like no, look over here at the board. Thatpoint you're synchronizing them to redirect their attention and removing the distraction of the instructor'sface and we found that in the study that students who received the lecture wherethe students with the instructor turned away from the student performed better when the facewas no longer available, and we could see this in the eye tracking aswell. You can see the suddenly there's all this attention one person's face,even though the instructors not looking at the camera or the which is the viewer, there's still all of this attention that's being directed to the instructor read thanto the thing that they were being they were looking at. So yes,so charisma. Is it necessarily bad? It can be good in motivation,but I think it's still comes down to how these embodied queues and both directstudents as well as get out of their own way. It's like step outof your way, step away from the camera. No, again, goingback to an earlier question you said, I would say that, as ininstructor, that through a personalization, through direct reference to the student, whoacknowledge the fact that there's someone on the other side of the camera, createsa sense of ver poor creates a sense of of relationship with the audience,such that you're more encouraged to be drawn into the lesson and then to beguided through even though not present. So it's not it's the idea that youcan be socially present and not visibly present to the experience. And you've beenvery humble about how early in the stages of learning we actually are, thatwe're starting to get more more studies about and Biden instruction and there's not aton of firm hard takeaways. But based on what you and your team havefound so far, are there any high level best practices that you think instructionaldesign teams were at least do well to consider when building online classes? Yes, pacing as always important. I would say choreograph. If you're preparing thelecture, make sure that you know how it's sequenced and segment basic multimedia principlesthat rich mayor has been influential and developing its break things into pieces, consumableparts presented in the right order and chunks,...

...and then signal, either with anembodied signal, as you change gay sins, you change of facing direction, as you gesture point, to help kind of move students through that thatlesson through the deliverable. These are always important activities and some people rush throughthe lectures and well, I do too. It's just natural because you're excited andyou kind of want to do this, but you want to be conscious ofallowing processing time, allowing students to make connections. I mean, asan instructor, you're the guide to help them make connections between constant day thatyou gave them and concept. To be okay, but you need to givethem the time and the guidance in order to make that integration so that theycan be effective in taking what you've given them, what you've presented, inwhat you've guided them to. And he's super helpful. Finally, any nextsteps? Advice for institutions? Listening to you excited about this. They're lookingto leverage the latest research to improve their online instructional practice. Worst they startfirst worship, they look methods. So many people, I think, arewrapped up in the media. So there's this new thing, this with Bang, wonderful new thing that people are talking about. Break it down to themethod is you can use new media, but don't forego effective methods for constructinga lesson, for connecting with your students. In the heart of good teaching isabout the methods that you employ in order to support that lesson and justadding a computer or adding a Whiz Bang new type of white board, blastboard or something like that isn't necessarily effective without conscious, thoughtful methods to employthem based on the problems that you're trying to address in the classroom for thestudents that you're working with. Andy, thank you so much for your timetoday. I know you wanted to give some of your fellow research colleagues ashout out, and then what's the best place for listeners to connect with youand your team if they have any follow up questions? Sure to product justwonderful colleagues that participate in this. RESEARCHER BE LOGAN BE ARELA at the Universityof Georgia, and he's a young research or dynamic, wonderful, wonderful,creative researcher, and then rich mayor, who was both our mentors, whichis also at the University of California Santa Barbara, and I I also wouldbe remiss to not mention that this fun this research was funded through the NationalScience Foundation and the and the Spencer Foundation. I can always be reached if youhave questions and I love I love to hear from people. You cansend me an email at a stall as...

...stult you see, SB DOT Edu, and I look forward to hearing from anybody who wants to learn a littlebit more or to ask questions. To thank you. Thank you for theopportunity to talk about this research. Awesome. Thank you so much for joining ustoday. Edie. Attracting today's new post traditional learners means adopting new enrollmentstrategies. Helix educations data driven, enterprise wide approach to enrollment growth is uniquelyhelping colleges and universities thrive in this new education landscape, and Helix has justpublished the second edition of their enrollment growth playbook with fifty percent brand new contenton how institutions can solve today's most pressing enrollment growth challenges. Downloaded today forfree at Helix Educationcom. Playbook. You've been listening to enrollment growth university fromHelix Education. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to theshow on Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening.Until next time,.

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