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Thursday, July 11, 2024

Presentations will be delivered in person in MDCL 1105 and also streamed for the online audience.

Martin Gibala & Katie McLelland - "How do we harness the science of learning to motivate a society of life-long learners?""

In the lab and classroom, researchers have discovered principles of the science of learning that can dramatically improve learning outcomes. An emerging question looms: how do we motivate educators and students to become life-long learners? In this special two-part public lecture, Dr. Joe Kim introduces the challenges of implementing learning principles in the real world. In Part 1, Dr. Martin Gibala discusses the importance of integrating physical activity as a healthy lifestyle choice that also benefits academic performance. However, busy students (and teachers)cite barriers to achieving the recommended amounts of physical activity including a perceived lack of time and access to specialized facilities. For those who fall short of the guidelines, is there any benefit associated with doing less than the recommended amount? Dr. Gibala will offer a practical plan on how to integrate physical activity into the day including the potential benefits of “exercise snacks” that do not require any equipment. In Part 2, Katie McLelland discusses the importance of mindfulness, meditation, breath, work, and yoga for mental health and self-care to create a harmonious and purposeful life. She will share the tools and strategies that she uses daily to keep herself thriving and moving on an upward trajectory. The evening will conclude with a fireside chat interview with our speakers on the importance of lifestyle approaches to physical and mental health and a commitment to life-long learning to motivate academic success.

Dr. Marty Gibala is a professor of Kinesiology at McMaster University. He examines the effects of exercise at the molecular to whole body level in both healthy individuals and people with chronic diseases. In addition to basic, mechanistic studies on the regulation of skeletal muscle energy metabolism, his laboratory conducts applied research that examines the impact of physical training and nutrition on human health and performance. He is also interested in science communication and coauthored a book for the general public on the science of time-efficient exercise, The One-Minute Workout: Science Shows a Way to Get Fit That’s Smarter, Faster, Shorter (Penguin Random House, 2017).


Katie has been teaching yoga full time since 1997. She likes to joke she was born certified to teach, as her mother went through yoga teacher training when she was pregnant with her! In 2006 she co-founded De La Sol Yoga Studios and continues to oversee her bustling Hamilton location. Katie has trained over 500 yoga teachers and teaches workshops and hosts retreats abroad. Katie co-facilitates an online personal development course called ‘Exalted Life’. She is also the host of ‘Yoga With Katie’, a 30min instructional yoga show which airs six days a week and is seen by 600,000 viewers. Katie is passionate about speaking at conferences, high schools and recovery centers about her history of drug addiction and ongoing journey towards wellness and wholeness. She is currently working on her first book, a memoir.

In her words: I am a dedicated yogi and spiritual seeker, recovering addict, speaker, mentor, writer, singer, mother, wife, daughter, sister and confidant. For years I doubted my path, denied my gifts and attempted to self-medicate my depression and anxiety away. I wanted to live big, but felt frozen. The more I desperately sought to realize my potential, the harder I stumbled and the further I fell. I have finally found my truth, my voice and my place in this world. I am passionate about sharing my message of self-love in order to help others overcome self-sabotage and find peace and fulfillment in their lives. I have tools, strategies and practices that keep me in a positive headspace and moving in an upwards trajectory, and by sharing these practices my life is infused with passion and purpose.


Friday, July 12, 2024

Presentations will be delivered in person in MDCL 1105 and also streamed for the online audience.

Stephany Duany Rea – “Barriers to Effective, Active Self-regulated studying”

Students often manage academic responsibilities, personal commitments, and professional life— learning effectively then becomes crucial while managing all obligations. Cognitive research has highlighted effective strategies (i.e., efficient in time that also enhances long-term memory), however, students still face barriers to using them. A common misconception is that students lack awareness of effective study methods, the issue, however, is multifaceted. Action barrier: students might know effective strategies but not know how to implement them correctly or effectively. Motivational barriers: students might experience anxiety about the strategies, or they might feel that the strategies require too much effort. Structural barrier: students might also not have the time to learn or incorporate something new into their already busy schedules. Therefore, collaborative efforts in the classroom can be essential to building the groundwork for the foundational skills students might need for effective learning that go beyond the classroom context.

Stephany D. Rea, a third-year doctoral student at the University of Texas at Austin, began her academic journey at a community college and a small liberal arts college. Observing the challenges students faced in studying sparked her interest in understanding the underlying reasons and finding ways to assist them. At UT Austin, her research focuses on effective learning strategies for long-term retention, motivational factors hindering effective studying, and ways to integrate these strategies into classrooms. She believes this is an undertaking for both educators and students, and she has been focusing on finding ways that educators can apply effective strategies in the classroom that are time-efficient and help students become better self-regulated learners.

Steven Pan – “Learning from Errors: Unlocking the Benefits of Pre-Instruction Testing and Errorful Generation”

Making incorrect guesses about information that has yet to be learned, followed by studying the correct answers, can be helpful for learning.  In this presentation, I will delve into recent findings from my laboratory on this pedagogical strategy, which is known as pre-instruction testing or errorful generation.  Our research reveals that pre-instruction testing can improve memory retention, comprehension, and the ability to transfer knowledge to new contexts.  Despite these impressive benefits, many learners are unaware that pre-instruction testing is a viable strategy, with some even avoiding it altogether due to a fear of making mistakes.  Available resources to engage in the strategy can also be quite limited.  Fortunately, there are early indications that providing learners with experience and external support can enhance their appreciation for the benefits of pre-instruction testing and increase their willingness to use it.  Moreover, recent technological advances may make it easier for learners to use the strategy.  Ultimately, this research is paving the way for future applications of pre-instruction testing in real-world educational settings, with the promise of capitalizing on the generation of low-stakes errors to promote meaningful learning outcomes.

Dr. Steven C. Pan is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the National University of Singapore (NUS).  Prior to joining NUS, he completed a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology with a concentration in Cognitive Psychology at the University of California, San Diego, followed by a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles.  Dr. Pan investigates human learning and memory processes and the optimization of those processes, with a goal of generating durable and flexible learning.  Much of his research focuses on evidence-based learning strategies, including pre-instruction testing, retrieval practice, and interleaving.  Dr. Pan has served as special issue editor and action editor for Educational Psychology Review and is an editorial board member for five refereed psychology and/or education journals.  He was named one of the highest-producing early career scholars in educational psychology in 2022 and received the Association for Psychological Science’s Rising Star award in 2024.

Erin Aspenlieder – “From Whether to Why: Reconsidering AI as a Means to Cultivate Reflective and Motivated Learning“

While some educators and students experimented with generative artificial intelligence in teaching and learning in 2023, many did not. This presentation begins by describing reasons for uneven experimentation. For those who avoided AI: concerns about broad AI risks like privacy and accuracy as well as risks specific to the academic setting like academic integrity, uncertainty about whether and how to responsibly use generative AI tools, and justifiable caution about how the use of generative AI could change students’ motivations for learning. And for those who experimented or adopted: interest in personalized and adaptive learning opportunities, developing skills in digital literacy, and reimagining the boundaries of what can be learned when human intelligence is coupled with artificial intelligence.

From this initial discussion – those ‘against’ and those ‘for’ artificial intelligence in teaching and learning – we move to a more nuanced framing. One that begins from a premise that instead of whether AI should be used for learning, the questions should begin with why and how. By considering uses of AI that may enhance or diminish students’ intrinsic motivation to learn – the why – , educators can begin to think about how to support students in using AI responsibly to nurture intrinsic motivation and persistence in the labour of learning.  

Implicit in this framing is the crucial role of educators in mediating AI use to align with pedagogical goals that promote sustained motivation for learning. This involves not only selecting appropriate AI tools but also cultivating a context where students reflect on their learning processes and outcomes. By supporting reflective practice, educators can help students develop essential metacognitive skills for lifelong learning – a necessary, but insufficient, skill to match the dizzying pace of technological change before us.  

Dr. Erin Aspenlieder is the Special Advisor to the Provost on Generative AI at McMaster University. Her work explores the intersection of artificial intelligence with teaching and learning, research, and operational excellence. With a special interest in critical AI literacies, Erin focuses on sharing with educators and students the capabilities and risks of artificial intelligence in non-technical terms and with relevant examples. She holds a PhD in English and Cultural Studies from McMaster University, and writes book reviews that feed the AI models at