Cognition of Learning and Performance

Program coordinator: Prof. Dr. Fred Paas

Researchers of the Educational Psychology group investigate under which conditions people optimally learn and perform, which cognitive mechanisms and neural structures are involved, and how the resulting knowledge can be applied to create effective and efficient learning environments. The theoretical frameworks of cognitive load theory and embodied cognition, as well as models of memory comprehension, monitoring and self-regulation, constitute the key theoretical pillars for our research program.

A recent research line combining these pillars is focused on how enriching instruction with bodily movements, such as gestures and physical exercise, can facilitate learning performance and academic achievement.

Some of the other research lines within the program focus on:

Prof. Dr. Fred PaasHow the working memory capacity can be instructionally managed in the training of complex cognitive tasks
Dr. Martine BaarsInstructional strategies and new technologies to improve self-regulated learning in primary, secondary and higher education
Dr. Bjorn de KoningHow children and adults learn from (dynamic) visualizations and/or textual materials and in what ways learners can best be instructionally supported to optimize learning and knowledge construction
Dr. Lesya GanuschakInvestigating the fundamental aspects of reading comprehension through EEG and eye-tracking methods as well as developing interventions that improve reading comprehension
Dr. Kim OuwehandEffects of observing and producing gestures on memory and learning in different age groups
Dr. Wim PouwInvestigating the dynamics of gesture-speech coordination
Dr. Huib TabbersInvestigating practically relevant guidelines for the design of instructional materials (both digital ánd on paper) for primary and secondary education
Dr. Peter VerkoeijenUnderstanding the theoretical mechanisms that underlie effective learning strategies, such distributed practice and retrieval practice, and examining how these learning strategies can be applied in real-life educational settings
Dr. Stephanie WassenburgEffects of educational technologies, such as video-blogging, crowdsourcing, and intelligent tutoring systems, on learning and engagement

In the global field of educational research, the group takes a unique interdisciplinary and use-inspired basic research approach, leading to fundamental understanding of learning and performance with clear societal relevance for the educational and training domains.

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