AlevenButcher Study

From LearnLab
Jump to: navigation, search

Visual-Verbal Learning in Geometry

Vincent Aleven & Kirsten Butcher


The overall goal of this project is to gain a better understanding of 1) learning with visual and verbal knowledge components in a problem-solving environment and, 2) how such learning can best be supported in an intelligent tutoring system. Ultimately, we are interested coordinative and integrative aspects of robust learning processes in learning with visual and verbal knowledge components.

We are using the Geometry Cognitive Tutor as a research vehicle for our project. In geometry, visual information is represented in a problem diagram and verbal/symbolic information is represented in text that contains given and goal information as well as some information about the problem situation that is not (yet) expressed in the diagram. The goals of this research are to investigate how coordination between and integration of visual and verbal information influence robust learning processes, as measured by knowledge retention and transfer. By coordination, we mean the processes that support mapping between relevant visual and verbal information as well as the processes that keep relevant knowledge components active. For example, in geometry a student needs to map between text references to angles and their location in a diagram and will need to maintain the numerical (given or solved) value of that angle to use in problem solving. By integration, we mean knowledge construction events that involve both visual and verbal knowledge components. For example, in geometry a student may need to construct an understanding of linear angles that includes both a verbal (e.g., “two adjacent angles that form a line”) and a visual situation description (e.g., a visual representation of the two angles formed by intersection of a line). We are investigating scaffolds in the Geometry Cognitive Tutor that may influence the ways in which students coordinate and integrate visual and verbal knowledge during learning.


To be determined, but will likely include:

  • Contiguous Representation
  • Elaborated Explanations
  • Mapping
  • Visual-verbal integration

Research questions

Dependent variables




Annotated Bibliography