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IES Grant

Title: Computer-Assisted Instruction For Learning and Long-Term Retention Based On Recent Cognitive and Metacognitive Findings
Center: NCER Year: 2003
Principal Investigator: Wallsten, Thomas Awardee: University of Maryland, College Park
Program: Cognition and Student Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years Award Amount: $996,403
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305H030283

Although public interest in the use of computer-assisted instruction is strong, available computer tutoring programs generally do not make use of the most recent developments in technology and research on human learning, nor are they always tested in typical educational settings. The focus of this project is to develop a new model computer tutor to support learning and long-term retention of second-language vocabulary for students of various ages and grade levels.

The researchers are seeking to improve an existing computer tutor model for second language vocabulary in several ways. The new model builds upon prior research about various factors that influence learning and is designed to individualize instruction and testing based on the user's successes and failures on previous test items. Factors taken into account by the new design include the role of short term memory, the user's perception of the difficulty of the items, the difficulty of the items for a previously tested sample of learners, and the amount of time the user takes to recall the items. The research sample for the initial development of the model includes university students of all races and family income levels. The researchers are then conducting studies designed to evaluate the efficacy of the new computer model in a wide range of educational settings, which will include students in primary schools, middle schools, and university foreign-language courses. The researchers are randomly assigning students at each of these levels to use either the new computer model or else the baseline model from which the new model was developed, to see if the use of the new model produces significantly better student learning.


Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Jang, Y., and Nelson, T.O. (2005). How Many Dimensions Underlie Judgments of Learning and Recall? Evidence From State-Trace Methodology. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 134(3): 308–326.

Nelson, T.O., Narens, L., and Dunlosky, J. (2004). A Revised Methodology for Research on Metamemory: Pre-Judgment Recall and Monitoring (PRAM). Psychological Methods, 9(1): 53–69.

Richards, R.M., and Nelson, T.O. (2004). Effect of the Difficulty of Prior Items on the Magnitude of Judgments of Learning for Subsequent Items. American Journal of Psychology, 117(1): 81–91.

Scheck, P., and Nelson, T.O. (2005). Lack of Pervasiveness of the Underconfidence-With-Practice Effect: Boundary Conditions and an Explanation via Anchoring. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 134(1): 124–128.

Scheck, P., Meeter, M., and Nelson, T.O. (2004). Anchoring Effects in the Absolute Accuracy of Immediate Versus Delayed Judgments of Learning.

Van Overschelde, J.P., and Nelson, T.O. (2006). Delayed Judgments of Learning Cause Both a Decrease in Absolute Accuracy (Calibration) and an Increase in Relative Accuracy (Resolution). Memory and Cognition, 34: 1527–1538.