Current Projects

Current Projects

At ILT, we take a grounded and embodied cognition approach to mental models. This approach says that students reason about systems by being able to visualize and mentally animate entities that interact and affect each other. We see these mental models as representing a deeper level of understanding than we usually get from students. We are currently conducting a series of research projects that examine the learning, understanding, and motivational effectiveness of various ways of providing this grounding/embodiment, using different combinations of technologies.

The Student-Teacher Interaction Portal

JoshThe study uses a custom-built online portal to study how facial synchrony dynamics between teachers and students during scientific reasoning tasks impact student learning and performance. In his most recent study, undergraduate students and their instructors from science classrooms were randomly assigned to solve reasoning problems with either their teacher from the previous semester, or a randomly assigned teacher with the same pedagogical experience whom they had never met. Results showed that while there were no differences in the overall levels of performance for students assigned to familiar vs. unfamiliar teachers, familiarity did significantly moderate the relationship between facial synchrony and performance, such that dyads who knew one another performed better on the tasks the more they synchronized their facial movements, whereas dyads who had just met performed worse on the first task the more they synchronized their facial muscle movements, but better on the second task the more they synchronized their facial muscle movements. These results suggest that 1) interacting with new new teachers carries the burden of learning to synchronize with them, and this burden is associated with slower learning and weaker performance; however, 2) 10-15 minutes of dedicated face-to-face interaction time may be enough for students and teacherJoshs to get to know one another well enough to engage fully in the task, as long as they have learned how to synchronize, or coordinate their movements, with one another. These results may help explain the challenges many students (and teachers) face in large lecture-hall style classrooms, and suggest that spending time to get to know one another’s typical facial movements (and meanings behind them) could improve student learning experiences.  

Researcher: Josh Friedman

AI-generated educational videos and learning

Jullia projectWhat are the effects of AI-generated educational videos on cognition and learning? Recent advancements in technology have allowed AI to generate many types of hyper-realistic multimedia content from simple text input. While this presents a transformative shift in the way we produce and consume video, in the context of education, it also allows numerous ways to innovate traditional methods of learning. However, it is critical to understand the effects of AI-generated media on learning (if different at all) before we use it. Therefore, we are currently investigating the effects of pedagogical agents (virtual instructors) on cognition and learning. 

Researcher: Jullia Lim

Feedback Interactivity in Formative Assessments

Feedback Interactivity in Formative AssessmentsThe study aims to investigate the effects of feedback interactivity on student learning and performance on online formative assessments. Participants are given a short mini-lesson explaining how to find the area and the perimeter of fractal shapes. They are then given a short practice quiz, with conditions varying in the type of feedback the participants receive after each question. Feedback would range in interactivity with differences in the level of input/response prompted to the participant. The study aims to explore how this level of interactivity would affect their performance on a following assessment, and also examine the reception participants had towards their feedback in terms of satisfaction, difficulty, and preferences.

Researcher: Ishaq Chowdhury

Back to skip to quick links