Promoting learning

Our research in promoting learning is targeted towards developing interventions that enhance learning in a variety of environments, and the identified techniques for measuring the effectiveness of interventions.  In particular we will be focusing on the learning that takes place in remote and indigenous communities, sensitive to specific issues and needs, with translation to digital tools.

The Centre for Science of Learning publishes reports of education-related issues in terms of neuroscience, psychology and education in the series, Changing Minds: Discussion in neuroscience, psychology and education. Read the first report, Gender and sex differences in student participation, achievement and engagement in mathematics, by Dr Sarah Buckley.



Optimising feedback in intelligent learning environments

This project will develop our understanding of what kinds of feedback provided to learners working in an Intelligent Learning Environment (ILE) work best with learners of differing ability levels. It will begin with categorising the types of feedback provided in three different ILEs and analysing how the assistance they provide varies in terms of representation (symbolic, text, audio, etc.), timing, frequency and depth. Then learners will be observed in the UM Classroom to determine how they react to and benefit from the forms of assistance. Once that is understood, we will study learners using the ILEs in the UQ Classroom to understand from a neural perspective how they react and benefit from the assistance. The outcome of the project will be a report that draws out some general principles on how the different forms of assistance might be optimized for different learners using ILEs.

Mathematics anxiety and its impact on secondary school students and pre-service teachers

Mathematics anxiety, the negative emotional response associated with carrying out or anticipating mathematical tasks, is a phenomenon thought to affect a large proportion of the community. This project will investigate mathematics anxiety and its effect amongst a group of pre-service primary teachers. Their anxiety will be measured using behavioural and neuroscientific indices, which will then form the bases line data for an intervention designed to reduce anxiety levels before these teachers begin their careers in education.

Measurement methodology in digital learning environments

The main aim of the research project is to investigate methodology for monitoring learning behavior to measure learning gains and to model factors influencing the trajectory of learning. Learning gain will be measured through measuring change over time using tasks that are designed to detect increases in knowledge and change in performance and understanding. Longitudinal and repeated observations are necessary to observe and detect changes in learning. Longitudinal random coefficient models will form the basis of the approach to modelling the repeated observations/measurements and to investigate time-specific factors that influence learning temporally at the observation points and individual-level factors that influence individual learning overall. This study will first make use of available data from the learning analytics community to formulate different statistical and measurement models to evaluate and demonstrate their usefulness. What we learn from the digital learning context hopefully will be applicable to other longitudinal learning science research in other projects of the Science of Learning Centre.

Moving towards a learning sciences perspective – psychology, neuroscience and education

The purpose of this project is to develop a professional learning workshop for education practitioners focusing on the learning sciences from the perspectives of psychology, education and neuroscience. The workshop involves interacting with and disseminating findings to members of the education community and thus targets one of the objectives of the Science of Learning Centre (SLC) at ACER.  The workshop will be conducted in three phases. The first and third phases will comprise face-to-face three-to four-hour workshops at ACER. The second phase will constitute a small action research project undertaken by teachers at their schools.