The Learning Sciences Research Group studies how humans learn complex concepts and skills, particularly imagination and reasoning based on formal models, a key skill in Science, Mathematics and Engineering. We are also interested in understanding how interactions with models and other artifacts lead to changes in motivation and identity.
A specific focus of the group is understanding how interactions with new computational media (such as manipulable simulations) lead to changes in cognition, learning and motivation. We seek to develop an understanding of the cognitive and neural mechanisms involved in such learning, by:
- Building theoretical models of learning
- Developing new learning interventions inspired by these models
- Designing experiments to test these interventions
Insights from these models, interventions and experiments are then applied, to design new ways of teaching and learning. These designs are then tested in the real world, and data from these studies are used to revise the theoretical models. And the loop continues.
A key objective of this research approach is understanding how the ongoing systemic shift from print media to computational media is set to change:
- learning and discovery processes in science, mathematics and engineering, and
- related institutional structures and value systems