Benjamin Jee (Psychology) has received a U.S. Department of Education/IES Grant for the research proposal “Exploring the Spatial Alignment Hypothesis in STEM Learning Environments” with partners WestEd, a nonprofit education research agency, and Northwestern University.
Worcester State University will receive a sub-award of $143,202 for Jee’s work.
According to the grant proposal, “Exploring the Spatial Alignment Hypothesis in STEM Learning Environments” will explore how visualizations can be designed and arranged to maximize student learning in education. Visualizations such as graphs, worked examples, or diagrams are ubiquitous in education, particularly in STEM disciplines. Little is known about the best way to spatially arrange visuals to enhance student learning.
The research will use “structure mapping theory” to test a “a new principle of spatial alignment.” Researchers predict that that visual comparison will be most efficient when key relationships students must attend are directly aligned in space. The hypotheses will be tested in middle school science and math materials.
Researchers believe that the findings of this work would have immediate implications for visualization design and instruction, and that materials and modules using visual comparisons could be redesigned to reflect what is learned in the study.
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