Faculty of Education, University of Western
ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL: INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES MATTER
LEANERS DIFFER IN COGNITIVE APTITUDE
Our research considers the role of individual differences in working memory capacity (i.e., the ability to effectively executive goal-oriented behaviours) and more global attention deficits (e.g., ADHD) as predictors of academic success in children and younger adults. Typically, learners with lower working memory capacity perform worse academically; however I have shown that by designing instruction in ways that are sensitive to the spectrum of cognitive abilities, learners have similar opportunities of success regardless of their working memory capacity.
Fenesi, B., Kramer, E., & Kim, J. A. (2016). Split-Attention and Coherence Principles in Multimedia Instruction Can Rescue Performance for Learners with Lower Working Memory Capacity. Journal of Applied Cognitive Psychology, 30(5), 691-699.
Fenesi, B., Sana, F., Kim, J. A., & Shore, D. I. (2015). Reconceptualizing working memory in educational research. Journal of Educational Psychology Review, 27(2), 333-351.
LEARNERS DIFFER IN LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY
Many students come into the educational system with different language experiences. An important question we aim to address is how do differences in English language proficiency among learners impact the need for targeted instructional design? We examine how multimedia instruction should be tailored to the unique needs of EAL (English as and alternative language) learners. Do they require closed captions during video instruction? Do they require slower paced instruction until mastery of content? Addressing these questions and many others will optimize instructional delivery for a diverse student body
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