It has been proven by cognitive scientists and communication experts that there is one issue which generates numerous obstacles to the communication process and to the assessment of the veracity of information. This issue is the large family of cognitive biases – the things that prevent us from making rational and informed choices, manipulate the flows of information, place unwanted filters, change meanings, provoke actions. So, based on distorted communication, we are bound to shape our opinions and behaviours accordingly. The project addresses the lack of a comprehensive approach to teaching educators about biases, building resilience among learners, promoting critical mindsets. Research shows that there is a widening gap between those who can navigate traditional and digital information masterfully, and those who can not. This divide is cognitive in nature, it can not be solved by better access to technology, affluence, etc. Communication between different cultures and subcultures is negatively impacted by misconceptions and lack of ability to critically process and understand information. Active citizenship suffers from distorted information and here we are, offering an innovative, immersive and practical way of addressing these problems!
The key objectives of dBias:
- Improve teacher-learner communication via increased awareness and understanding of the number, nature and impact of cognitive biases
- Devise a tool for collection of actionable data on susceptibility/resistance, transversal influence and intensity of bias
- Analyse collected data to develop teaching strategies (de-biasing) for improved teacher-learner communication and training effectiveness
- Introduce an innovative and subject-transversal toolbox (videos and de-biasing strategies) to adult education and training context
- Promote active citizenship through the scenarios/topics and improved information literacy
- Improve understanding and tolerance among representatives of different groups/cultures and contribute to personal development
Starting with a collection of around 200 biases, we will produce a toolbox which will encourage the development of critical mindsets for adult learners.
We will build upon established science facts and our methodology includes a fully data-driven approach to fighting biases via targeted interventions intermediated by a combination of:
- a unique learning platform which will serve as
- data-collection medium and
- de-biasing tool), and
- fully-developed teaching strategies and assisting didactic materials for more targeted interventions.
To achieve this, we will develop scenarios for short videos. The decision on the topics will be made after a survey on the topics which are most likely to be of interest to selected target groups in order to ensure high involvement levels for the project-related activities and experiments. Based on the scenarios, we will record videos which exemplify situations in which cognitive bias is likely to play a major role. These will be related to the education and training context and to everyday interactions and communications
Each video will then be processed into a short clip which will feature a situation, a screen for the user’s choice of action, a second clip showing further development of the situation and containing the clues/info missing in the first part, and then again a choice screen to confirm/change previous choice. A specially developed machine learning algorithm running on a dedicated platform will allow users to watch clips, starting randomly, recording answers, discovering patterns and testing the patterns with the same user and with other users.
The platform will calculate in real time several statistics/ratios: susceptibility/resilience of the bias (and intensity) based on individual clip, and based on a series/sequence of clips, and will identify transversal influence (how one clip/sequence influence other clipss/sequences). The platform will be gamified to attract more attention – a key to the success of this tool resides in the collection of large amounts of data. This is why we will be working intensively towards maximum publicity of the tool’s trials.. After a solid analysis of the gathered data, we will produce a set of teaching strategies for developing critical thinking, media literacy and communications skills. They will be equally helpful to teachers in any subject area who feel that they are experiencing a drop in teaching effectiveness due to the biases’ impact on cognition processes. The strategies can be used to un-block, de-clutter and de-bias the learning process.