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Collaborative Research: Exploring the Comprehension and Meta-Comprehension Benefits of Learner-Generated Drawings in Science

This project will investigate how learning by drawing contributes to comprehension, monitoring accuracy, and self-regulation. In a series of laboratory experiments, the project will systematically isolate the cognitive and metacognitive benefits of three core mechanisms of drawing: generation, comparison, and revision.

  • Sponsor
    National Science Foundation’s ECR-EHR Core Research program
  • Principal investigator
    Logan Fiorella
    Assistant Professor, Educational Psychology
  • Co-principal investigator
    Allison J. Jaeger
    Assistant Professor of Psychology,
    St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Active since
    September 2020

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The project will test the hypothesis that the learning conditions that best support comprehension may differ from the conditions that best support meta-comprehension, depending on the diagnostic cues available during learning. One aim of the project is to determine the optimal level of drawing generation: fully-learner-generated, partially-learner-generated, instructor-provided, or instructor-generated.

The second aim will study the contribution of actively comparing one’s fully or partially completed drawings to feedback in the form of instructor-provided drawings. The third aim will identify the role of revising learner-generated or instructor-provided errors in drawings based on provided feedback. The final aim will combine optimal generation, comparison, and revision conditions, and study students’ subsequent restudy behavior and learning outcomes. Overall, understanding the mechanisms that support learning by drawing will contribute to existing models of self-regulated learning and provide a roadmap for future research investigating precisely how these mechanisms work, including when they work and for whom.

This award reflects NSF’s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation’s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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