Children and adults alike often struggle to learn, especially in math. This is problematic when learning is so important in daily life and for academic achievement. Thus, the ultimate goal of my research is to better understand how children and adults think and learn with the goal of finding ways to improve these processes.
At the broadest level, I ask the question: How do children and adults think and learn? I approach this question by focusing on characteristics of the individual, characteristics of the problem-solving context, people's awareness of their ability and the problems, and the interactions among these factors. I study thinking and learning in a variety of contexts, including college classrooms, children's learning about math, adults' reasoning about health statistics, among others. I'm often looking for exciting new ways to collaborate with students and researchers to investigate thinking and learning in new areas.
Much of my work examines thinking and learning within the domain of math. I ask questions like: How do problem features bias or facilitate peoples ability to solve them? Do people have an understanding of different types of numbers? How does their understanding and representation of numbers influence and relate to their ability to solve problems involving numbers?
Recently, much of my work has focused on children's and adults self-regulated learning. In this area, I ask questions like: Do people know the things they know and don't know? Do people make self-regulatory learning choices, like asking for help or restudying, based on their judgments of their own knowledge? What factors influence people's confidence in their performance? Do people have illusions of their own knowing and learning? Can we improve people's awareness of their own knowledge and understanding?
Finally, one of my areas of work looks at the ways we can improve people's understanding of numbers and math. I examine the way example-based instructions and visual displays support people's learning and understanding. I ask questions like: Are examples as effective as feedback for learning? What types of examples help people learn best, and why? What visual displays best support thinking about numbers and why?