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Addressing Cognitive Differences and Gender During Problem Solving

Summary: Addressing Cognitive Differences and Gender
During Problem Solving
Ivon Arroyo and Beverly P. Woolf, Computer Science Department
University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003 U.S.A.
Carole R. Beal, Information Sciences Institute
University of Southern California
bev@cs.umass.edu; http://ccbit.cs.umass.edu/ckc/
Abstract. This research evaluated the impact of supplementing user models with additional data about
cognitive features of the student. Supplemental data included individual differences variables such as:
developmental stage of the learner (Piagetian), spatial ability, math-facts-retrieval and gender. These
differences were applied along with multimedia and customization in two intelligent tutoring systems, one
for arithmetic and one for geometry. The research resulted in the general conclusion that enhancing user
models with detailed information about cognitive ability led to improved response to instruction. This is
especially important to consider for domains for which there are well-established group differences, such as
gender differences in mathematics.
1 Customization and Multimedia Improve Learning
Both customized teaching and multimedia have been shown to be effective for learning (Lepper et al., 1993;
Tversky et al., 2002). Research points to the central role of one-to-one individualized instruction by a peer, parent,
teacher, or other more experienced mentor and demonstrates that students learn better when teaching is customized
to their learning needs (Greenfield & Lave, 1982; Lepper et al., 1993). Research suggests that novices construct


Source: Arroyo, Ivon M. - Center for Knowledge Communication, University of Massachusetts at Amherst


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences