Procedural Display August 18, 2015 09:04

Anyone who teaches knows that there's a difference between understanding and memorization.  There's also a difference between understanding and simple figuring-it-out.  Some students can be successful on test questions without understanding the concepts at all.  They just seem to have the ability to figure out what the right answer is.  Being able to come up with correct answers by picking through the wording (while still not understanding) is called procedural display.

For example, if one were to give the following information to their students:

Cellular respiration is important for the production of ATP.  All cells need ATP to function and survive.  Mitochondria are the sites where cellular respiration occurs.

From this information, students could glean enough information to fake their way through many test questions.  They could answer "What is ATP?" by saying "ATP is an essential item for cells and it is made through cellular respiration in mitochondria."  But they still would not have any idea that ATP is a molecule that can provide energy to a chemical reaction in cells.  They also would not know that mitochondria are organelles, or that glucose was necessary for cellular respiration.  But students could fake their way through many questions to correct answers.

I learned a great deal about procedural display from Andy Anderson's talk at the SABER meeting.  Thanks, Andy!

It is challenging to get students past memorization and procedural display to actual learning and knowledge.  Cell Zone products are designed to help with this transformation.  We plan to continue to develop products to address many more content areas in biology.