Research Interests

My research examines three complementary areas: (a) the design of learning environments; (b) graphic and instructional designs to support learning; and (c) key learner characteristics. Please feel free to download any of the papers linked on the publications and presentations pages listed at the left.

Project-based learning accommodates for different representations of knowledge and different learner motivations and interests.

The Design of Learning Environments

Stemming from my philsophy of teaching and learning, my research also explores how constructionist learning environments can be design to support learning. This research area encompasses but is not limited to how students and teachers define project-based and problem-based learning environments. What scaffolds, tools and resources are available for use in these environments, and how are they used? What factors impede the implementation of these environments? In particular, this area of research included technology integration as it applies to K-12 and higher education.

Graphic and Instructional Designs to Support Learning

Using my background in graphic communications, this area of my research explores how principles of graphic design, instructional design, message design and interface design interact with one another. Questions I am considering within this area are (a) how is the threshold of cognitive load determined, (b) do metaphorical interfaces or other interface types improve learning and motivation, (c) how do novice and experts use interfaces differently and (d) what is the relationship between principles of design and cognitive load and usability?.

Key Learner Characteristics

The third area of research focuses on individual differences that cause learners to succeed in certain learning environments. My dissertation research explored how abilities, such as those proposed in Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences, played out in project-based learning. Other questions appropriate to this area include (a) what is the relationship between abilities and learning styles, (b) how do abilities and learning styles impact interface design, (c) in what ways can interfaces be adapted to learners, (d) how are learner characteristics impacted within groups, (e) how do multiple representations of knowledge reflect learners’ characteristics and (f) how do individuals’ representations of knowledge change in the transition of novice to expert.