Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


KORTZ, Karen M., Physics Department, Community College of Rhode Island, 1762 Louisquisset Pike, Lincoln, RI 02865, SMAY, Jessica J., Earth and Space Science, San Jose City College, 2100 Moorpark Avenue, San Jose, CA 95128 and THOMAS, Stephen R., Department of Zoology, Michigan State University, 288 Farm Lane, 203 Natural Science Building, East Lansing, MI 48824,

Research findings on how students learn were applied to guide the creation of pedagogically advanced printed material designed specifically to increase student learning of fundamental geoscience concepts. The learning aids guide students in processing information presented to construct an accurate mental model while integrating the new information with prior knowledge (constructivist theory). The design reduces extraneous cognitive load, maximizing students’ available cognitive capacity (cognitive load theory), and facilitates students’ integration of pictorial and verbal material to encourage deep learning (dual-coding theory).

This presentation will give examples of how we applied research findings on how students learn from printed material to create pages from which students can effectively and efficiently learn fundamental geoscience topics. Some of the strategies used are, 1) text and figures are intimately combined on each page, using short blocks of text and focusing on the figures; 2) figures are simply drawn and cue students where to look; 3) content is distilled down to the essentials, eliminating distracting details; 4) new vocabulary terms are minimized; 5) where text is referencing an illustration is clearly communicated through placement and other cues; and 6) misconceptions are taken into consideration and directly addressed in both text and figures. The application of the theoretical research to develop innovative printed material is anticipated to optimize student learning.