Improved STEM Learning with Cognitive Science

A. C. Butler, E. J. Marsh, J. P. Slavinsky, and R. G. Baraniuk, "Integrating Cognitive Science and Technology Improves Learning in a STEM Classroom," Educational Psychology Review, March 2014.

Preprint version of the paper
Press release

Abstract:  The most effective educational interventions often face significant barriers to widespread implementation because they are highly specific, resource-intense, and/or require comprehensive reform.  We argue for an alternative approach to improving education: leveraging technology and cognitive science to develop interventions that generalize, scale, and can be easily implemented within any curriculum. In a classroom experiment, we investigated whether three simple, but powerful principles from cognitive science could be combined to improve learning.  Although implementing these principles only required a few small changes to standard practice in a college engineering course, it significantly increased student performance on exams.  Our findings highlight the potential for developing inexpensive, yet effective educational interventions that can be implemented worldwide.