Gary Gladding presenting at a 2014 conference for physics teachers

PER group

Our group includes members from both the Physics Department and the School of Education.

Papers and Talks

Physics Education Research: Jose Mestre and Jason Morphew

7/21/2017

Six studies are presented on this page. Please scroll down to view additional information from the study in which you are interested.


Linking Intuition to Embodied Experience: The Case for Regaining Balance

Abstract:

People possess knowledge about the physics underlying situations from intuitions, observations and experiences. Sometimes intuitions are in conflict with physics laws as well as physical experiences. We explored the connection between people’s embodied understandings, and their intellectual understandings of balance. Using embodied cognition, a theory suggesting that conceptual understanding is grounded in embodied experiences, connections between intuitive and embodied knowledge were explored. Participants were asked questions that evoked their intuitions about balancing, performed balancing activities on a balance beam, and finally recalled how they swung their arms when balancing. Fewer than twenty percent of the participants’ intuitive answers about balancing were correct. Furthermore, after balancing, only fifty percent of the participants correctly recalled how they moved their arms while trying to regain balance. In many cases, people’s intuitive knowledge did not align with recall of their experience, suggesting that intuitions and embodied experiences are not well linked.

Download a copy of the presentation

 

 


Learning from Animated Video Solutions: Does Solving the Problem Before Viewing Matter?

 

Abstract:

A common instructional practice is to provide feedback using video solutions on problems that students have first attempted to solve on their own. Attempting to solve problems may allow the student to focus on the aspects they don’t know resulting in more productive learning. On the other hand, the increase in focus may inhibit learning from the other information presented in the video solutions. We present data where students in an introductory mechanics course were randomly assigned to either attempt-to-solve-first/not. Afterwards both groups viewed video solutions of the problems, and completed a post-test including similar and transfer problems. Confidence judgements were made after attempting each problem. Data will show whether or not attempting the problems prior to watching video solutions affects learning and metacognitive accuracy of their judgements of learning. We also discuss the educational implications of our findings.

Download a copy of the AAPT presentation

 

2017 PERC Poster

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Linking Intuition to Embodied Experience: The Case for Regaining Balance

Abstract:

People possess knowledge about the physics underlying situations from intuitions, observations and experiences. Sometimes intuitions are in conflict with physics laws as well as physical experiences. We explored the connection between people’s embodied understandings, and their intellectual understandings of balance. Using embodied cognition, a theory suggesting that conceptual understanding is grounded in embodied experiences, connections between intuitive and embodied knowledge were explored. Participants were asked questions that evoked their intuitions about balancing, performed balancing activities on a balance beam, and finally recalled how they swung their arms when balancing. Fewer than twenty percent of the participants’ intuitive answers about balancing were correct. Furthermore, after balancing, only fifty percent of the participants correctly recalled how they moved their arms while trying to regain balance. In many cases, people’s intuitive knowledge did not align with recall of their experience, suggesting that intuitions and embodied experiences are not well linked.

Download a copy of the presentation

 

 


 

Effect of Animated Solution Videos on Physics Learning and Metacognition

Abstract:

Students preparing for Physics exams must make decisions on what material to study, how to best prepare, and estimate their preparedness. Previous research has demonstrated that low performing students tend to over predict their learning and preparedness. Research has shown that simplifying the reading level in texts leads to gains in comprehension as well as larger gains in confidence in comprehension. We present data where low performing students in an introductory mechanics course completed an animated video solution intervention. Participants completed a pre-test, viewed video solutions, then completed a post-test. Confidence judgements were made after attempting each problem and after viewing the video solutions. Data will show whether or not students are able to learn from viewing video solutions for previously solved problems. We also present data about students’ prediction of their performance. We discuss the educational implications of our findings.

                   2016 PERC Poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Attention differences in viewing physics diagrams among experts and novices

Abstract:

It is known that experts identify/perceive meaningful patterns in visual stimuli related to their domain of expertise.  This study explores the speed with which experts and novices detect changes in physics diagrams. Since change detection depends on where individuals direct their attention, differences in the speed with which experts and novices detect changes to diagrams would suggest differences in attention allocation between experts and novices. We present data from an experiment using the "flicker technique,” in which both physics experts and physics novices viewed nearly identical pairs of diagrams that are representative of typical introductory physics situations.  The two diagrams in each pair contain a subtle difference that either does, or does not change the underlying physics depicted in the diagram. Findings indicate that experts are faster at detecting physics-relevant changes than physics-irrelevant changes, however there is no difference in response time for novices, suggesting that expertise guides attention for experts when inspecting physics diagrams. We discuss the cognitive implications of our findings.

 

Below are the sample stimuli used in this experiment:

 

   
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download the poster shown at PERC 2015:

 


Learning from different styles of narrated-animated solutions among low-performing students

Abstract:

Students preparing for physics exams must make decisions on how to best prepare, and how to estimate their preparedness. Previous research shows that low-performing students tend to over-predict both their learning and level of preparedness. Providing students with normative feedback has been shown to reduce over-prediction. We present a pilot study where low-performing students in an introductory mechanics course completed a computer-adaptive practice exam, then completed a pretest followed by an intervention involving one of two styles of narrated, animated PowerPoint solutions, and then completed a post-test before taking a midterm exam. Findings suggest that students are able to learn from viewing animated solutions. We discuss the educational implications of our findings.

 

Sample Type 1 animated video solution.

Q9BType1(1)

 

Sample Type 2 animated video solution.

Q9BType2(1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download the poster shown at PERC 2015:

 

 


Judgments of physics problem difficulty by experts

Abstract:

The ability to judge the difficulty of physics problems has implications for both exam preparation and performance.  Previous research has shown that students spend more time studying problems they judge as more difficult, but this strategy is effective only when these judgments match the normative difficulty of the questions. Little is known about the rationale experts use in making judgments of problem difficulty.  We present data from an experiment where physics experts predict which question of a pair taken from real exams is more difficult for the “typical student”, then explain their rationale for making the judgment. We analyze whether the rationales given by physics experts are predictive of accurate judgments.

 

Below are sample problem pairs used in the study

   
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download the poster shown at PERC 2015:

 

 


 

Thank you for visiting my page, and if you have any questions, feel free to contact me at jmorphe2@illinois.edu