NEWS

(Feb 2021) 3 submissions have been accepted to ISLS2021!

(Dec 2020) Our work on worked examples has been accepted to the SRCD conference!

(Dec 2020) Won the Fred Mulder Open Education Practice Award!

(Nov 2020) Gave a talk at Keio Univ.

(Nov 2020) Won an AECT award!

(Nov 2020) Presented at OpenEd20

(Oct 2020) Made a tape diagram template (available under CC-BY-NC)

(Aug 2020) Gave a talk at ICU

Diagrammatic Self-explanation

Overview

Visual representations are a powerful tool used for teaching and learning across STEM domains. However, it has been reported that visuals are not universally effective – students having low prior knowledge often do not benefit from learning with visuals.

To tackle this problem, we’ve created an intelligent tutoring system (ITS) for algebra that provides scaffolding support so that students with lower prior knowledge can easily and effectively use the visual support to make sense of the problem and the solution steps. In the tutor, students are asked to self-“explain” their solution steps in the form of diagrams, which we call diagrammatic self-explanation. We tested the effectiveness of this approach on student learning, particularly learning of conceptual knowledge in algebra. Our recent controlled classroom study confirmed that diagrammatic self-explanation helped students who had lower prior knowledge in solving algebra problems gain conceptual knowledge.

The design of diagrams is based on research findings from our earlier user research with teachers and middle school students, which involved semi-structured interviews, low-fi (physical) and high-fi (digital) prototypes, and think aloud. Specifically, we conducted “Pedagogical Affordance Analysis” to elicit pedagogically-meaningful features of the diagram and added “signifiers” so that students with low prior knowledge can find important conceptual information provided through the diagrams. More information can be found in the second paper listed below.

 

 

The project has won 2 awards!

Interested in making your own diagrams? Use this template

 

Relevant papers

  • Nagashima, T., Bartel, A. N., Silla, E. M., Vest, N. A., Alibali, M. W., & Aleven, V. (2020). Enhancing conceptual knowledge in early algebra through scaffolding diagrammatic self-explanation. In Proceedings of the International Conferences of the Learning Sciences (ICLS2020), Nashville, TN.
  • Nagashima, T., Yang, K., Bartel, A. N., Silla, E. M., Vest, N. A., Alibali, M. W., & Aleven, V. (2020). Pedagogical Affordance Analysis: Leveraging teachers’ pedagogical knowledge for eliciting pedagogical affordances and constraints of instructional tools. In Proceedings of the International Conferences of the Learning Sciences (ICLS2020). Nashville, TN. 
First prototype exploring how "manipulable" diagrams can help students identify conceptual knowledge
Final design of the diagram with features added to emphasize conceptual information in the visual