Education research frequently calls for theory-building work to better explain the mechanisms of how people learn. This talk discusses two theories developed based on a synthesis of work across multiple education-related fields to explain phenomena frequently seen in STEM education. The first theory, Spatial Encoding Strategy theory, proposes a mechanism to explain how spatial skill training improves generalized problem solving while other forms of brain training produce only localized results. It draws upon work in discipline-based education, cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and learning sciences. The second theory, Multiple Conceptions theory, proposes a mechanism to explain how both direct instruction and constructivist instructional approaches can be designed to guarantee successful results. It draws upon instructional approaches from various STEM fields and educational psychology.
Lauren Margulieux is an Assistant Professor of Learning Sciences at Georgia State University. She received her Ph.D. from Georgia Tech in Engineering Psychology, the study of how humans interact with technology. Her research interests are in educational technology and online learning, particularly for computing education. She also coordinates an initiative in Georgia State’s teacher preparation programs to integrate computing into pre-service teacher training in all disciplines and directs a computer science endorsement to certify in-service teachers to offer computing courses.
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