Assessment exerts a tremendous influence on what is taught, what people think counts as useful learning, and what we discover about how people learn. Our projects on assessment are exploring new ways to capture compelling forms of learning, such as willingness to seek negative feedback, that are missed by current methods of assessment. If successful, these new assessment paradigms will provide educators, researchers, students, and policy-makers new ways to think about and evaluate learning.
Inventive learning is a type of instruction that asks students to invent original solutions to novel problems. It can be considered a form of guided discovery in which learners first explore a phenomenon and then must produce a general explanation or solution that accounts for the variation in what they "see." Invention activities are frequently used as "starter units" that prepare students to understand the explanations and procedures provided by more traditional instructional approaches.
Only humans teach and then pay attention to whether their pupils have learned. People evolved to learn from one another. Social interactions are psychologically powerful, and they can lead to good and bad. Our projects on the social foundations of learning are exploring how to make technologies that enhance the best of social interaction for learning while mitigating the worst.
There are some core building blocks that form the foundation for many Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Some of these building blocks are conceptual, such as having a strong number sense or understanding of ratio and proportion. Others involve ways of reasoning, such as looking for the general solution. In a series of projects we tackle these building blocks with the goal of giving students foundational experiences that will enable them to succeed in STEM topics.