& Recent Studies
are currently exploring the effects of blocking vs. interleaving of
material as well as generation on student learning in the context
of a WISE module about the scientific possibilities of life beyond
Earth. We are using the module with undergraduate psychology students.
We are interested in investigating the broader question of what kind
of materials the interleaving and generation effects work for. We
have looked at blocked vs. interleaved presentation orders and different
levels of generation (e.g. simple sentence completion vs. answering
more complex questions).
We are currently
running an experiment using WISE in which participants must learn
about star formation and planet formation, two higly competitive topics.
We are looking at the effects of learning this material in blocked
versus interleaved presentation orders, and even in orders that increase
competition by juxtaposing similar slides. Our latest version
of this experiment includes several repetitions of chunks of information,
which is more along the lines of what has been done in previous experiments
with simple material. In addition, a new experiment interleaves
or blocks two unrelated topics.
We are also running a study to distinguish between the effects of
interleaving and spacing on learning of foreign language vocabulary
(Estonian and Swahili).
We have just begun to look at metacognitive issues, such as whether
certain kinds of generation result in more accurate judgments of learning
than others and whether blocked vs. interleaved presentation orders
have different effects on peoples' predictions of how well they'll
perform on an upcoming test of the material (foreign language vocab).
We are running
a study to look at potential interleaving effects on how well people
learn to calculate new formulas.
The UC Berkeley IDDEAS group is implementing a series of
studies contrasting versions of WISE projects that explore desirable
difficulties shown to succeed in laboratory studies. The WISE learning
environment enables us to design projects with alternative forms of
instruction. However, ensuring that the distinctions recommended in
laboratory studies result in educationally meaningful classroom experiences
The booming, buzzing
character of middle school classrooms introduces variability not found
in laboratory studies. Only dramatic effects will show up in classroom
instruction. In addition, transferring laboratory findings to the
classroom leaves many questions unanswered. Effective transfer involves
design of instruction followed by customization and tuning based on
classroom experiences. Furthermore, school context often dictates
localized customizations. In related research we are investigating
the nature of customization across diverse school settings (see SCALE),
and the elements of learning environment design that capitalize on
technology enhancements (see TELS).