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  1. Although students’ self-regulated learning has been studied extensively, past research has not investigated students’ fine-grained, self-regulated choice-making processes during learning with visual representations and strategies to support such processes. We conducted design and experimental studies with 148 students to develop and evaluate an intervention package for supporting students’ self-regulated choice-making in using diagrammatic scaffolding in algebra tutoring software. A classroom experiment showed that students with the intervention learned greater conceptual and procedural knowledge in algebra than students in the control condition whose choices were not supported. Also, students with the intervention chose to use diagrams less frequently overall but showed distinctive use patterns that changed over time, indicating a form of self-regulated diagram use. This study demonstrates the importance of understanding and supporting choice behaviors that change over time during learning, going beyond simply measuring the frequency of choice behaviors and encouraging students to engage in these behaviors more frequently.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2024
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 26, 2023
  3. Hilliger, I. ; Muñoz-Merino, P. J. ; De Laet, T. ; Ortega-Arranz, A. ; Farrell, T. (Ed.)
    In designing learning technology, it is critical that the technology supports both learning and engagement of students. However, achieving both aspects in a single technology design is challenging. We report on the design and evaluation of Gwynnette, intelligent tutoring software for early algebra. Gwynnette was deliberately designed to enhance students’ algebra learning and engagement, integrating several playful interaction and gamification features such as dragand- drop interactions, an alien character, and sound effects. A virtual classroom experiment with 60 students showed that the system significantly enhanced both engagement and conceptual learning in early algebra, compared to the older version of the same software. Log data analyses gave insights into how the design might have affected the outcomes. This study demonstrates that a deliberate design of learning technology can help students learn and engage well in an unpopular subject such as algebra, a challenging dual goal in designing learning technologies.
  4. Culbertson, J. ; Perfors, A. ; Rabagliati, H. ; Ramenzoni, V. (Ed.)
    Integrating visual representations in an interactive learning activity effectively scaffolds performance and learning. However, it is unclear whether and how sustaining or interleaving visual scaffolding helps learners solve problems efficiently and learn from problem solving. We conducted a classroom study with 63 middle-school students in which we tested whether sustaining or interleaving a particular form of visual scaffolding, called anticipatory diagrammatic self-explanation in an Intelligent Tutoring System, helps students’ learning and performance in the domain of early algebra. Sustaining visual scaffolding during problem solving helped students solve problems efficiently with no negative effects on learning. However, in-depth log data analyses suggest that interleaving visual scaffolding allowed students to practice important skills that may help them in later phases of algebra learning. This paper extends scientific understanding that sustaining visual scaffold does not over-scaffold student learning in the early phase of skill acquisition in algebra.
  5. The study of mental representations of concepts has histori- cally focused on the representations of the “average” person. Here, we shift away from this aggregate view and examine the principles of variability across people in conceptual rep- resentations. Using a database of millions of sketches by peo- ple worldwide, we ask what predicts whether people converge or diverge in their representations of a specific concept, and which kinds of concepts tend to be more or less variable. We find that larger and more dense populations tend to have less variable representations, and concepts high in valence and arousal tend to be less variable across people. Further, two countries tend to have people with more similar conceptual representations when they are linguistically, geographically, and culturally similar. Our work provides the first characteri- zation of the principles of variability in shared meaning across a large, diverse sample of participants.