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CESEM – Centre of Excellence in Statistics Education and Metacognition

Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)


CESEM aims to identify and implement adaptive teaching styles leading to improved learning outcomes in statistics and other STEM-subjects by identifying beneficial learning styles for different cognitive types. The centre will achieve this through 1) psychological cognitive screening of students 2) “live” neurological activity and attention screening 3) carefully designing statistical experiments and qualitative assessments exploring learning styles/technology 4) active implementation and dissemination for improved teaching quality and learning.

Strengths and weaknesses:

CESEM presents a well articulated proposal in a contested area. The improvement of learning outcomes in statistics and STEM subjects is a clear need within the higher education sector. There is evidence of expertise in research on the topic, but there is no evidence of existing excellence in education. The application does not explain existing provision in statistics learning well enough. A range of new approaches have been introduced, but it is unclear whether these new approaches have been evaluated. Student engagement is mundane and there is poor evidence of how students are active in innovation and developmental processes. The centre’s effect on student learning outcomes is not clear.

The translation of research into practice, how to get colleagues involved and plans for dissemination needs to be further developed. For instance the employment of a disseminator is interesting, however it is not clear what s/he will disseminate and to whom (target groups). The management structures need further development.

The proposal seems to emphasize research more than developing teaching and learning.

Points to consider:

  • What are the implications for student learning?
  • How will students contribute to the innovation and development processes?
  • How might leading international practice in statistics education be used to inform the proposal?

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