John L Dobson

Georgia Southern University, TBR, Georgia, United States

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Publications (7)13.57 Total impact

  • John L. Dobson, Tracy Linderholm
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    ABSTRACT: “Desirable difficulties” is a theory from cognitive science used to promote learning in a variety of contexts. The basic premise is that creating a cognitively challenging environment at the learning acquisition phase, by actively engaging learners in the retrieval of to-be-learned materials, promotes long-term retention. In this study, the degree of desirable difficulties was varied to identify how cognitively challenging the learning acquisition phase must be to benefit university-level students' learning of anatomy concepts. This is important to investigate as applied studies of desirable difficulties are less frequent than laboratory-based studies and the implementation of this principle may need to be tailored to the specific field of study, such as anatomy. As such, a read-read-read-read (R-R-R-R) condition was compared to read-generate-read-generate (R-G-R-G) and read-test-read-test (R-T-R-T) conditions. The three conditions varied in terms of how effortful the retrieval task was during the learning acquisition phase. R-R-R-R required little effort because participants passively read the materials four times. R-G-R-G required some effort to generate a response as participants completed a word fragment task during the learning acquisition phase. R-T-R-T was thought to be most demanding as participants performed a free recall task twice during the learning phase. With regard to the absolute amount of anatomy information recalled, the R-T-R-T condition was superior at both immediate and delayed (one week) assessment points. Thus, instructors and learners of anatomy would benefit from embedding more free recall components, or self-testing, into university-level course work or study practices. Anat Sci Educ. © 2014 American Association of Anatomists.
    Anatomical Sciences Education 09/2014; DOI:10.1002/ase.1489 · 2.98 Impact Factor
  • John L Dobson, Tracy Linderholm
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    ABSTRACT: The testing effect shows that learning is enhanced by the act of recalling information after exposure. Although the testing effect is among the most robust findings in cognitive science, much of its empirical support is from laboratory studies and it has been applied as a strategy for enhancing learning in the classroom in a limited fashion. The purpose of this investigation was to replicate the testing effect in a university anatomy and physiology course and to extend the applicability of it to independent student study. Students repeatedly studied three sets of passages that described structures and concepts pertaining to (1) cardiac electrophysiology, (2) ventilation and (3) endocrinology. Each student was randomly assigned to study one of those three passage sets by reading it three consecutive times (R-R-R), another by reading and then rereading it while taking notes (R-R + N) and the third by reading it, recalling as much as possible (i.e., self-testing) and then rereading it (R-T-R). Retention assessed after 1 week was significantly greater following R-T-R (53.95 ± 1.72) compared to R-R-R (48.04 ± 1.83) and R-R + N (48.31 ± 1.78). Evidence is also presented that suggests students benefited from instructions to self-test when preparing for exams on their own. The testing effect, then, can be generalized to real-life settings such as university anatomy and physiology courses and to independent study situations.
    Advances in Health Sciences Education 05/2014; 20(1). DOI:10.1007/s10459-014-9514-8 · 2.71 Impact Factor
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    John L Dobson, Jim McMillan, Li Li
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    ABSTRACT: Peripheral neuropathy is a widespread and potentially incapacitating pathological condition that encompasses more than 100 different forms and manifestations of nerve damage. The diverse pathogenesis of peripheral neuropathy affects autonomic, motor and/or sensory neurons, and the symptoms that typify the condition are abnormal cutaneous sensation, muscle dysfunction and, most notably, chronic pain. Chronic neuropathic pain is difficult to treat and is often characterized by either exaggerated responses to painful stimuli (hyperalgesia) or pain resulting from stimuli that would not normally provoke pain (allodynia). The objective of this review is to provide an overview of some pathways associated with the development of peripheral neuropathy and then discuss the benefits of exercise interventions. The development of neuropathic pain is a highly complex and multifactorial process, but recent evidence indicates that the activation of spinal glial cells via the enzyme glycogen synthase kinase 3 and increases in the production of both pro-inflammatory cytokines and brain derived neurotropic factor are crucial steps. Since many of the most common causes of peripheral neuropathy cannot be fully treated, it is critical to understand that routine exercise may not only help prevent some of those causes, but that it has also proven to be an effective means of alleviating some of the condition's most distressing symptoms. More research is required to elucidate the typical mechanisms of injury associated with peripheral neuropathy and the exercise-induced benefits to those mechanisms.
    Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience 04/2014; 8:102. DOI:10.3389/fncel.2014.00102 · 4.18 Impact Factor
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    John L Dobson, Jim Mcmillan, Li Li
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    ABSTRACT: Peripheral neuropathy is a widespread and potentially incapacitating pathological condition that encompasses more than 100 different forms and manifestations of nerve damage. The diverse pathogenesis of peripheral neuropathy affects autonomic, motor and/or sensory neurons, and the symptoms that typify the condition are abnormal cutaneous sensation, muscle dysfunction and, most notably, chronic pain. Chronic neuropathic pain is difficult to treat and is often characterized by either exaggerated responses to painful stimuli (hyperalgesia) or pain resulting from stimuli that would not normally provoke pain (allodynia). The objective of this review is to provide an overview of some pathways associated with the development of peripheral neuropathy and then discuss the benefits of exercise interventions. The development of neuropathic pain is a highly complex and multifactorial process, but recent evidence indicates that the activation of spinal glial cells via the enzyme glycogen synthase kinase 3 and increases in the production of both pro-inflammatory cytokines and brain derived neurotropic factor are crucial steps. Since many of the most common causes of peripheral neuropathy cannot be fully treated, it is critical to understand that routine exercise may not only help prevent some of those causes, but that it has also proven to be an effective means of alleviating some of the condition's most distressing symptoms. More research is required to elucidate the typical mechanisms of injury associated with peripheral neuropathy and the exercise-induced benefits to those mechanisms.
  • John L Dobson
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    ABSTRACT: Although a great deal of empirical evidence has indicated that retrieval practice is an effective means of promoting learning and memory, very few studies have investigated the strategy in the context of an actual class. The primary purpose of this study was to determine if a series of very brief retrieval quizzes could significantly improve the retention of previously tested information throughout an anatomy and physiology course. A second purpose was to determine if there were any significant differences between expanding and uniform patterns of retrieval that followed a standardized initial retrieval delay. Anatomy and physiology students were assigned to either a control group or groups that were repeatedly prompted to retrieve a subset of previously tested course information via a series of quizzes that were administered on either an expanding or a uniform schedule. Each retrieval group completed a total of 10 retrieval quizzes, and the series of quizzes required (only) a total of 2 h to complete. Final retention of the exam subset material was assessed during the last week of the semester. There were no significant differences between the expanding and uniform retrieval groups, but both retained an average of 41% more of the subset material than did the control group (ANOVA, F = 129.8, P = 0.00, ηp(2) = 0.36). In conclusion, retrieval practice is a highly efficient and effective strategy for enhancing the retention of anatomy and physiology material.
    AJP Advances in Physiology Education 06/2013; 37(2):184-191. DOI:10.1152/advan.00174.2012 · 1.24 Impact Factor
  • John L Dobson
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to compare the retention of selected physiology concepts throughout 30 days of two different uniform schedules of retrieval and two different expanding schedules of retrieval. Participants (n = 250) first read and reread 30 immunology and reproductive physiology concepts and were then repeatedly assessed, without feedback, according to one of the following four randomly assigned schedules: 1) immediately after learning and again 9 and 19 days later [uniform (days 1, 10, and 20)]; 2) 7, 14, and 21 days after learning [uniform (days 8, 15, and 22)]; 3) immediately after learning and again 5 and 15 days later [expanding (days 1, 6, and 16)]; and 4) 1, 6, and 16 days after learning [expanding (days 2, 7, and 17)]. All participants completed a final assessment 29 days after learning the physiology concepts. Mean final assessment scores ± SE for the uniform (days 1, 10, and 20), uniform (days 8, 15, and 22), expanding (days 1, 6, and 16), and expanding (days 2, 7, and 17) groups were 36.15 ± 1.97, 32.31 ± 1.87, 45.80 ± 2.56, and 39.71 ± 2.48, respectively. There were no differences in final assessment scores between the two expanding retrieval groups, but expanding (days 1, 6, and 16) group scores were significantly higher than those in both uniform retrieval groups (ANOVA, F = 6.52, P = 0.00). Also, the combined mean of the two expanding retrieval conditions (42.57 ± 1.80) was significantly higher (F = 14.09, P = 0.00) than the combined mean of the two uniform retrieval conditions (34.10 ± 1.36). The results indicate that participants benefited more from expanding retrieval practice, particularly when the first assessment was administered immediately after learning.
    AJP Advances in Physiology Education 03/2012; 36(1):6-12. DOI:10.1152/advan.00090.2011 · 1.24 Impact Factor
  • John L Dobson
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of interleaving and expanding retrieval on the retention of physiology concepts. Participants (n = 189) read and then reread 30 immunology and reproductive physiology passages. Half of the participants read and then reread the passages in a blocked manner (e.g., a(1)a(2)a(3)b(1)b(2)b(3)), and the other half did so in an interleaved manner (e.g., a(1)b(1)b(2)a(2)a(3)b(3)). Participants were then repeatedly assessed, without feedback, after either a uniform or an expanding series of intervals. Half of the students from both the blocked and interleaved groups completed the assessments 1, 2, and 3 days after rereading the passages (uniform), whereas the other half completed the assessments immediately and 1 and 3 days after rereading the passages (expanding). All participants completed a final assessment 10 days after rereading the passages. There were no significant differences between the blocked and interleaved groups on any of the assessments, nor were there any significant interactions between the groups on any of the assessments. Those in the expanding retrieval group scored significantly higher than those in the uniform group on all four assessments (ANOVA; assessment 1: F = 35.12, P = 0.00; assessment 2: F = 13.88, P = 0.00; assessment 3: F = 10.87, P = 0.00; and assessment 4: F = 6.79, P = 0.01). Mean final assessment scores were 47.58 ± 19.81 and 40.50 ± 17.17 for the expanding and uniform groups, respectively. The results indicate that participants benefited more from expanding retrieval practice.
    AJP Advances in Physiology Education 12/2011; 35(4):378-83. DOI:10.1152/advan.00039.2011 · 1.24 Impact Factor