Learning in educational settings most often emphasizes declarative and procedural knowledge. Studies of expertise, however, point to other, equally important components of learning, especially improvements produced by experience in the extraction of information: Perceptual learning. Here we describe research that combines principles of perceptual learning with computer technology to address persistent difficulties in mathematics learning. We report three experiments in which we developed and tested perceptual learning modules (PLMs) to address issues of structure extraction and fluency in relation to algebra and fractions. PLMs focus students’ learning on recognizing and discriminating, or mapping key structures across different representations or transformations. Results showed significant and persisting learning gains for students using PLMs. PLM technology offers promise for addressing neglected components of learning: Pattern recognition, structural intuition, and fluency. Using PLMs as a complement to other modes of instruction may allow students to overcome chronic problems in learning.
2022. The role of representational competencies for students’ learning from an educational video game for astronomy. Frontiers in Education 7
Rau, Martina A.
2017. Conditions for the Effectiveness of Multiple Visual Representations in Enhancing STEM Learning. Educational Psychology Review 29:4 ► pp. 717 ff.
Rau, Martina A., Vincent Aleven & Nikol Rummel
2017. Making connections among multiple graphical representations of fractions: sense-making competencies enhance perceptual fluency, but not vice versa. Instructional Science 45:3 ► pp. 331 ff.
Rau, Martina A. & Sally P. W. Wu
2018. Combining Instructional Activities for Sense-Making Processes and Perceptual-Induction Processes Involved in Connection-Making Among Multiple Visual Representations. Cognition and Instruction 36:4 ► pp. 361 ff.
Stahl, Christopher C., Martina A. Rau & Jacob A. Greenberg
2023. Teaching advanced surgical anatomy with visual representations: comparing perceptual fluency and sense making. Instructional Science 51:4 ► pp. 661 ff.
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