Geometry Greatest Hits

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Revision as of 14:51, 14 May 2009 by Ron-Salden (talk | contribs) (Planned experiments)
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Geometry Greatest Hits

Summary Table

Study 1

PIs Vincent Aleven, Ryan Baker, Kirsten Butcher, & Ron Salden
Other Contributers Research Programmers/Associates: Octav Popescu (Research Programmer, CMU HCII), Jessica Kalka (Research Associate, CMU HCII)
Study Start Date January, 2009
Study End Date March, 2009
LearnLab Site Greenville, Riverview, Steel Valley
LearnLab Course Geometry
Number of Students
Total Participant Hours
DataShop Log data soon to be uploaded and available in the DataShop


The main idea in the current project is to combine instructional interventions derived from five instructional principles. Each of these interventions has been shown to be effective in separate (PSLC) studies, and can be expected on theoretical grounds to be synergistic (or complementary). We hypothesize that instruction that simultaneously implements several principles will be dramatically more effective than instruction that does not implement any of the targeted principles (e.g. current common practice). This project will test this hypothesis, focusing on the following five principles:

• Visual-verbal integration principle • Worked example principle • Prompted self-explanation principle • Accurate knowledge decomposition principle (part of the complete and efficient practice principle) • Accurate knowledge estimates principle (part of the complete and efficient practice principle)

Building on our prior work that tested these principles individually, we will create a new version of the Geometry Cognitive Tutor that implements these five principles. We will use this new version to conduct both a lab experiment and an in vivo experiment to test the hypothesis that the combination of these principles produces a large effect size compared to the standard Cognitive Tutor. Knowing which instructional interventions and principles are synergistic (as well as when interventions and principles do not have any additive effects) is an important practical and theoretical goal within the learning sciences. This project will contribute new knowledge to our understanding of the relationship between instructional principles for robust learning. From a practical perspective, instructional designers often use principles in combination (e.g. Anderson et al, 1995; Quintana et al, 2004); knowing which combinations are effective in concert is therefore pragmatically useful. Further, the project, if successful, will demonstrate that the studied combination of principles leads to dramatically greater effectiveness of one particular intelligent tutoring system. Since these principles are drawn from PSLC theory and research evidence, the successful combination of principles has important implications for the development of PSLC theory, and inference about its eventual impact on learning outcomes. From a theoretical perspective, individual instructional design principles are a convenient way of stating theory; findings related to synergy (or lack thereof) of individual principles impose constraints on the theoretical rationale of each. Thus, this project contributes to both the applied and the theoretical missions of the PSLC.

Background & Significance


Research questions

Planned experiments

  • Lab study (2 phases):
    • (1) A two-condition study (comparing the baseline tutor to the modified tutor with all five improvements) testing overall student learning (including measures of robust learning) and efficiency in one tutor unit (Angles).
    • (2) Think-aloud (lab) research to determine if worked-examples and visual interaction have the hypothesized, complementary process effects.
  • In vivo study: A two-condition in-vivo study (comparing the baseline tutor to the modified tutor with all four improvements). Measures of learning gains and learning efficiency (time taken to complete tutor) will be utilized.



Further Information


Annotated Bibliography


Future Plans