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About this Masterclass

In Semester 2, 2017, we re-designed a fourth year psychology elective PSYC4191 (“Applied Cognitive Psychology”) to address a number of problems. First, this course (like others) has been experiencing declining student performance over the years, which evidence suggests is probably associated with decreased engagement. Second, students often appear to forget what they have learned within a short time frame, suggesting lack of mastery of content. Third, students have indicated to us that they felt they had memorized a great deal of academic content but were ill-equipped to apply it to solve real world problems. Fourth, there are indications that some employers are starting to consider employing non-graduates for professional positions, which may indicate degrees are viewed as less valuable than in the past. We employed a number of strategies to address these problems, many of which were based on research on skill acquisition, cognition, expertise, learning, memory, and human factors. These included techniques to increase class attendance, increase content mastery, increase the use of performance feedback, and increasing opportunities to practice applying the knowledge learned. In this session, we will describe some of these strategies, as well as presenting data on class outcomes.


Professor Mark Horswill joined UQ in 2002, based in the School of Psychology. He has been voted as one of the top three lecturers at UQ. His SECAT scores for PSYC4191 (last three classes) were between 4.9 and 5.0. Together with Blake McKimmie and Barbara Masser, he won the international Merlot Award 2016 for a UQx MOOC: Crime101x (currently with over 55,000 enrolments). His research involves using psychological science to save lives. For example, he led a team that created a hazard perception test that is currently a compulsory part of the driver licensing process in Queensland (completed by 44,000 drivers per year and part of the Graduated Licensing Scheme found to reduce novice crashes by 13% per year). He was also part of a UQ team that developed a national curriculum for colonoscopy training. All pre-clinical colonoscopy training in Australia is based on this curriculum.

Associate Professor Marcus Watson was Executive Director of the Clinical Skills Development Service at Queensland Health between 2006 and 2016, and hence responsible for the training of around 40,000 Queensland Health employees. He was also Associate Professor in the School of Medicine between 2006 and 2016, and holds an ongoing honorary position in the UQ School of Psychology. He has developed and delivered educational programs for graduate, postgraduate, defence and the vocational sector. Examples include the Masters of Human Factors, the Graduate Certificate in Health Simulations, and the National Healthcare Education and Training in Simulation program. He is recognised nationally as an expert in simulation and debriefing; delivering Master Classes and workshops across Australia and internationally.

About ITaLI Teaching Masterclass Series

The ITaLI Teaching Masterclass Series provides a venue for inspirational and successful teachers to share effective approaches and best practices for teaching. Each Masterclass aims to assist attendees in learning tangible, practical skills that help them build on their existing expertise to excel in teaching for 21st-century students. If you have any suggestions or feedback on how we can improve the series, please contact us using this feedback form or email Dr Hassan Khosravi.

If you wish to download the presentation slides or listen to the video recordings of past events, select a Masterclass in the list of past sessions. Alternatively, all the videos are available on our YouTube channel - ITaLI Masterclasses playlist.