Cognitively Informed Web-based Instruction Candace Thille, Director of Open Learning Initiative Carnegie Mellon University "If we understand the human mind, we begin to understand what we can do with educational technology." - Herbert Simon “Cognitively Informed Online Education” – Theory-based – Use Driven Design – Evaluation throughout The Expert’s Blind Spot: • Which is harder for a beginning algebra student, a story problem or the equivalent equation? • Teachers & researchers say story problems – HS teachers more so than elementary teachers • Data says equations! – Beginning students are initially better at thinking algebraically in words than in symbols! Kenneth R. Koedinger, Mitchell J. Nathan: Journal of the Learning Sciences, 2004, Vol. 13, No. 2: 129-164. The Expert’s Blind Spot: 100 90 80 70 % Making 60 Correct 50 Ranking 40 (which problems 30 hardest) 20 10 0 Elementary Middle School High School Teachers Teachers Teachers Nathan, M.J. & Koedinger, K.R. (2000). Teacher’s and researchers beliefs of early algebra development. Journal of Mathematics Education Research, 31(2), 168-190 Cognitive Design Essential to & Enabled by Online Courses • Live instructors dynamically adapt instruction and engage students, online instruction is much more challenging • Digital learning environments help us focus a movement for cognitively informed design • Digital environments are uniquely structured to capture rich information about student performance A Success Story: “Cognitive Tutors” • Full year classroom experiments with comparison classes • Replicated over 3 years in US city schools • In Pittsburgh 60 & Milwaukee Traditional Algebra Course 50 Cognitive Tutor Algebra • Results: 40 50-100% better on 30 problem solving & representation use. 20 15-25% better on 10 standardized tests. 0 Koedinger, Anderson, Hadley & Mark (1977) Iowa SAT subset Problem Represent- Intelligent tutoring goes school in the big city. Int. Jrnl. Of Artificial Intelligece in Education, 8, 30-43 Solving ations b Combining Theory and Practice Research base Cognitive Cognitive Psychology Tutor Artificial Technology Intelligence Curriculum Content Math Instructors Math Educators NCTM Standards Cognitive Tutors Algebra I Equation Geometry Algebra II Solver b Generalizing Cognitive Tutor Approach Research base Cognitive & Learning Educational Psychology Science & Artificial Technology Intelligence Curriculum Content University Instructors & Professors Technology-Enhanced Courses Statistics Philosophy Economics Chemistry … Funding for Carnegie Mellon’s OLI has been provided by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Demonstration of Virtual Chemistry Lab Demonstration of OLI Chemistry Course “Improvement in post-secondary education will require converting teaching from a “solo sport” to a community-based research activity” - Herbert Simon www.cmu.edu/oli Questions About Digital Resources to Explore in our Session • What are the benefits and limitations of learning object repositories ? (challenges of re-usability, modularity vs flow, grain-size, searching) • What are the benefits and limitations of open- source resources? • What are the key policy issues related to the use of learning objects repositories and open-source resources to improve access and usefulness?
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