Faculty News

Jeff Greene receives Spencer Foundation funding

Jeff Greene, assistant professor of educational psychology, has received a one-year, $40,000 grant from the Spencer Foundation for a study titled “Fostering Conceptual Understanding in Science Using Computer-Based Learning Environments: A Self-Regulated Learning Intervention.” The study will investigate how students engage in self-regulation as they learn about a complex science topic while using a computer.

Steps included in the self-regulation of learning are: Defining the task, making a plan, applying learning strategies, monitoring one’s progress and adapting accordingly. This study will focus on the steps of defining the task and making a plan.

Researchers will observe students as they are using a computer to learn about a science topic. The researchers will ask the students to “think aloud” while they are learning. Students will narrate what they are thinking and doing as they receive, organize and read information on the computer and make decisions, such as selecting which information to use or deciding what to do when they don’t understand some information.

Researchers will analyze what the students say for instances of self-regulation. For example, researchers will identify specific examples of when the students set goals for themselves, observe their own performance, make useful judgments about the quality of their performance and plan what to do next.

This study builds on Greene’s previous work investigating how to help students learn about science through the use of computers. In the new study, Greene will take a more focused role than in the past as he looks at the efficacy of specific processes that occur while the students are learning.

The goal of the study is to learn more about how to foster students’ self-regulated learning skills in order to enhance their ability to use computer based learning environments to learn about complex topics. The results of the study can be helpful to teachers who are supporting student learning with computers.