Title

The Role of Instructional Representation in Learning Chemical Diagrams

Author

Kaleb Mathieu

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

Date of Award

Spring 2022

Abstract

Instructional representations are important for the teaching and learning of chemistry, and widely considered to be important for student success. Despite the ubiquity of these visualizations and tools in the classroom, there is a lack of data regarding how and when different types of representations are most effective. In the present study, we explore the use of augmented reality, a ball-and-stick model kit, and a static diagram for learning to interpret and translate Newman and wedge diagrams among high school students with no prior knowledge. In a repeated measures design, participants used each of the three instructional representations to complete a representational translation task involving the completion of a Newman or wedge diagram using the assigned representation at their station. In addition to the task score, we also measured spatial ability viathe Purdue Visualization of Rotations test. We found that the most effective representation is highly dependent upon the characteristics of the task. The generative tasks outperformed the completion tasks in all conditions, the AR representation was the worst for task performance overall, and the influence of spatial ability is also highly context dependent. This study contributes to the growing body of literature on representational competence and instructional representations in STEM.

Advisor

Shulan Lu

Subject Categories

Educational Psychology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences

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