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Reese Article to Appear in Journal

Jun 29 2010

Dr. Debbie Denise Reese, senior educational researcher at the Center for Educational Technologies, is coauthor of an article accepted for publication in the journal, Educational Psychology.

The article is titled, "Elaborated Metaphors Support Viable Inferences About Difficult Science Concepts." The lead author is Dr. Virginia Diehl of Western Illinois University.

The paper builds on research Reese and Diehl have done on the use of metaphors to help teach difficult science concepts. Here is the article abstract:

"Instructional metaphors scaffold learning better when accompanied by an elaboration. Applying structure mapping theory (Gentner, 1983), we developed and used an elaborated instructional metaphor (text and illustrations) for introductory chemistry concepts. In two studies (N1=44, N2=57), college students with little chemistry background read either the elaborated metaphor, subconcept metaphor statements (e.g., AN ATOM IS LIKE A TILE) only, or (Study 2) subconcept labels (e.g., ATOM) only. When asked to write what they knew about the subconcept, those in the elaborated metaphor condition wrote more sophisticated domain inferences than those in the other condition(s), p<.05. The elaborated metaphor helped participants construct accurate preconceptual mental models that could prepare them for future learning (i.e., acquisition of new knowledge). The results also suggested that acquisition of high-level concepts may require more extensive elaboration active learner transactions with the analog, as can be had in interactive instructional game worlds."