Building a Science of Teaching

Why should physicists (and other non-education-college academics) be interested in finding out about (and doing) educational scholarship?

Figuring out education

Building a community consensus

Why do disciplinary scholars
need to study education?

Why begin with
cognitive psychology?

A Model of Student Learning

A Better Model
from Cognitive Science

A model of thinking
relevant to instruction: Principles

A Hierarchy of structures

Physical reasoning maps primitive elements onto specific situations


This is a …?

Slide 14

This is a…

Which picture has more information? 
Which is easier to interpret?


"A set of four 3x5..."

"You are acting as bouncer..."

A small problem: What is 3 ½ divided by ¼?


Student responses
depend on context*

"FCI 18*: An elevator..."



Key Ideas

Characteristics of Schemas

Organizing Long-Term Memory

Organization of Long-Term Memory: Schemas

Slide 30

Interview Response of 2 “Grad Students”

Some guidelines for teaching

Some cognitive goals

Some research-based instructional environments in physics

The UW Tutorial Model*

Workshop Physics*

Evaluating Concept Learning:
The Force Concept Inventory (FCI)*

Some preliminary results

Can research-based instructional models produce better conceptual gains?

Research Context

Tutorials produced significantly higher gains than recitations

Extension to many schools*

Slide 43

Interactive environments are not enough.

Building a community consensus
of education

Building a community consensus
of education

The research effort in university level PER has grown substantially
over the past decade.