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Assistant professor receives early career award from AERA

  |   Kathryn Kao   |   Permalink   |   Kudos,   Research,   Spotlight,   Students and Faculty

Logan Fiorella, an assistant professor in the department of educational psychology, recently received the Division C Early Career Award from the American Educational Research Association (AERA) for his contributions to the field of educational psychology.

Logan Fiorella

The award—which Fiorella received at the association's Division C business meeting on April 7 in Toronto—recognizes an emerging scholar in learning and instruction whose research has significantly impacted the field.

"It's an honor to have my work recognized by my colleagues," said Fiorella. "I'm grateful to the mentors, collaborators and students who have contributed so much to our research. I also feel fortunate to be part of the Division C community, which has been instrumental in my development as a graduate student and faculty member."

As an undergraduate student majoring in psychology at the University of Central Florida, Fiorella developed a general interest in how students learn—or how they make sense of what they are learning—so they can apply their knowledge to new situations. His work aims to identify instructional methods and learning strategies that support this sense-making process.

"For example, I focus on how instructors can design more effective visualizations and how students can learn more effectively by generating their own explanations or drawings," he said. "I'm interested in the cognitive science of student learning and its implications for instruction."

Currently, Fiorella is focused on how students learn by generating explanations and drawings in science. In a recent project, he discovered that asking students to create drawings on paper while they explained aloud what they were learning to a peer led to more elaborative explanations and better learning outcomes than students who only explained or only drew. Overall, creating drawings made it easier for students to produce better verbal explanations while teaching others, resulting in better learning.

Fiorella is now conducting follow-up studies to explore other ways to help students better explain and draw what they are learning.

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