It is vitally important that students be given the freedom and tools to explore, imagine, and invent. Our aim is find the balance point where structure supports this process without inhibiting it.
Educational experiences are designed to help students learn. Those same children and teens should have a say in what they are learning and how they are learning it. When kids are given the opportunity to have an active role in the formulation of the learning experience we believe they develop relevant skills and a life-long passion for learning.
We did not initially set out to study gender. However, across several of our studies, gender variations emerged as a consistent theme and so we felt it was important to explore. Several of our current projects include gender as part of our examination of learning and decision making.
Through exploration of non-traditional topics and methods we hope to engage students in design-thinking. We utilize educational theories, such as constructivism and constructionism, to promote learning through design and creating one’s own understanding.
A major part of our research is spent studying knowledge acquisition, decision making, executive function skills, and problem solving. By understanding these we can help to engineer learning experiences that are engaging, productive, and measurable.
NOVICE VS. EXPERT LEARNING
We are interested in the ways that novices and experts can intersect to learn together, and believe that when structured experiences are designed to connect novices with experts for feedback, instruction and targeted questioning, overall learning is enhanced. One of our goals is to better understand how these interactions can be structured for the maximum benefit of learners.
Along with the freedom to control one’s own learning comes added importance to decisions. By studying decision making, we are able to better understand how students will guide their learning, and how to best design our programs maximize the power of student-led choices.
We are intrigued by how individuals think about their own thinking. In what ways do adolescents reflect on their own processing and utilize declarative and procedural knowledge? What are the differences in which in experts and novices differ in their metacognitive processes?
TRANSFER OF KNOWLEDGE
Transfer of knowledge across domains is a difficult cognitive process. Why does the application of knowledge occur effectively in one area but isn’t transferred into others? We work to identify areas of potential transfer, such as in video games and learning, and develop methodologies that facilitate transfer.