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Experimental and Theoretical Analysis of Cognitive Processes Underlying Clicker Use in STEM Education: 1246588

Principal Investigator: Alice Healy
CoPrincipal Investigator(s): Matthew Jones
Organization: University of Colorado at Boulder

This proposal describes a research project based at the University of Colorado on the use of clicker technology in the teaching and the learning of STEM content, in this case undergraduate statistics. With this technique, each student is given a hand-held response device called a clicker, which is used to respond to periodic probe questions asked by the instructor about material recently presented in a lecture. Students are tested at multiple unpredictable points during a lecture, and the results of these tests are immediately available to both the instructor and students in summary form. The investigators bring their expertise in mathematical modeling, cognitive psychology, workforce training, statistics education, learning technology, assessment, and science education to bear in an initial set of laboratory and classroom studies of a number of relevant variables in order to determine the conditions under which the use of clickers is most effective, both for learning by the student and as a means of assessment by the teacher.

The research focuses on a real educational intervention already in use in classroom. An analytical experimental approach is used to identify the cognitive mechanisms that underlie this educational intervention, and this analysis allows for its refinement and improvement. The project further develops ways to optimize not just the acquisition of knowledge but also students? ability to retain that knowledge and transfer it to new situations and domains.

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