An overarching goal of this project is to develop tutoring technologies that support deeper learning. This project centers on processes that tend to result in deeper understanding of scientific concepts, including the pivotal notion of self-explanation. Students who self-explain text are more successful at solving problems, more likely to generate inferences, construct more coherent mental models, and develop a deeper understanding of the concepts covered in the text. However, not all students are able to successfully self-explain text. They either lack the reading skills or prior domain knowledge to do so. iSTART was developed to provide instruction in reading strategies that support the process of self-explanation. This project furthers our previous work on iSTART by examining whether a gaming environment for learning selfexplanation and reading strategies to understand science texts sustains students attention and engagement during training, and by consequence, improves learning of the strategies. iSTART is a web-based reading strategy trainer that provides young adolescent to college-aged students with reading strategy training to better understand challenging science texts. iSTART provides reading strategy instruction in an automated web-based system. In iSTART, pedagogical agents instruct trainees in the use of self-explanation and other active reading strategies to explain the meaning of science text while they read. The training was motivated by empirical findings that show that students who self-explain text are more successful at solving problems, more likely to generate inferences, construct more coherent mental models, and develop a deeper understanding of the concepts covered in the text. A technological goal of this project is to further develop a framework for a learning environment based on serious games. There is no doubt that games sustain the attention of many individuals. The notion behind serious or educational games is to capitalize on aspects of game environments that grab and sustain the attention of the users and make learning more fun. Nonetheless, it is also possible for entertainment to hinder learning by distracting the learner from the intended learning task. One of our tasks in the development and refinement of the iSTART game environment will be to optimize both learning and entertainment. Thus, one objective is to optimize the amount of entertainment in the learning situation to promote engagement and deeper learning.
|Effective start/end date||8/16/11 → 6/30/13|
- US Department of Education (DOEd): $532,859.00