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IES Contract

Title: Perceptual and Adaptive Learning Technologies: Developing Products to Improve Algebra Learning
Center: NCER Year: 2010
Principal Investigator: Kellman, Philip Awardee: Insight Learning Technology, Inc.
Program: Small Business Innovation Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2.5 years Award Amount: $850,000
Type: Fast Track Award Number: EDIES10C0024

Product Video Demonstration:

Purpose: Two problems limit student learning in Algebra in most instructional settings. The first problem involves a lack of methods to advance students' ability to grasp patterns, process them fluently, and detect them in variable contexts and the second involves a lack of instructional formats that adapt to the individual learner. Recently developed perceptual learning and adaptive learning technology hold great promise for addressing these problems. This project team will develop perceptual and adaptive learning technologies to enhance middle school student learning pattern recognition and fluency in Algebra.

Project Activities: The team will develop the architecture, databases, and interface to make two existing perceptual learning modules (PLMs) appropriate for web-based delivery. Once that is completed, the team will develop three new web-delivered PLMs for Algebra learning. Once development of these modules is complete, the team will produce a ScoreReporter program for progress monitoring and assessment. A teacher manual will also be developed and iteratively refined after feedback is received in pilot implementation. To examine the feasibility, usability, and promise of the product to improve student learning, each of the modules will be tested in six classrooms over a school year. Key outcomes will include student engagement and motivation, ease of use by students and teachers, and robust improvements in learning.

Products: The final product will be an integrated series of five web-based learning modules to accelerate, enhance, and consolidate the learning of algebra, as well as to provide rich, continuous and convenient monitoring and assessment information for teachers. The modules will focus on middle school topics such as fluency in manipulating algebraic expressions and equations, pattern recognition, mapping across multiple representations of function, and linear forms and relations. A comprehensive adaptive module will also be built to assess competence and tailor review individually in preparation for end-of-year standardized testing. The teacher component will include an easy-to-use handbook introducing each module, suggesting best placement of modules within the curriculum, and describing ways of introducing students to these activities and monitoring their progress. It will also provide a useful overview of perceptual and adaptive learning principles.