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Metaphor Research to Be Presented at Conference

Wed Mar 19 2008

A Center for Educational Technologies® researcher has had a paper on metaphor research accepted for presentation at the 2008 Association for Psychological Science (APS) annual convention in Chicago.

Dr. Debbie Denise Reese, senior educational researcher at the center, is a coauthor on the paper, "Elaboration Leads to More Effective Metaphor Use in Chemistry Learning." Dr. Virginia Diehl, chair and professor of psychology at Western Illinois University, is lead author, and two of her graduate students, Amy Vaught and Jessica Bleuer, are also authors.

This team is currently modifying the protocols used in this research to use them to test how much players of the Selene videogame learn. Selene was created by the NASA-sponsored Classroom of the Future in 2007 as part of an investigation into how students can best learn NASA science through videogames. Diehl partners with the Classroom of the Future™ on this work, donating her time and funding the two graduate students' salary and tuition.

According to the paper's abstract, "The learning of abstract science concepts can be scaffolded by metaphors. In this study subjects who read 13 metaphors elaborated with graphics and text responded to chemistry questions with more targeted subconcepts than did subjects in the metaphor-only and the no-metaphor conditions, suggesting that the elaboration was critical for learning."

The method used to specify the chemistry domain and analog were the precursors to the game-based, metaphor-enhanced (GaME) approach to the design of instructional games that help to make concepts more intuitive, Reese said. The GaME approach was followed in Selene's design.