Developing Minds in the Digital Age

Towards a Science of Learning for 21st Century Education

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This book highlights new scientific research about how people learn, including interdisciplinary perspectives from neuroscience, the social, cognitive and behavioural sciences, education, computer and information sciences, artificial intelligence/machine learning, and engineering. These new developments offer fascinating new perspectives, based on technological advances, which enable a re-examination of longstanding problems in learning, raise new questions, and offer new approaches to the study of learning. This report seeks to catalyse discussions on the implications of these research findings for education practice and policy, and in turn, on how knowledge and experience from real-world education practice and policy could challenge and inform research agendas and theory building.


Teaching basic experimental design with an intelligent tutor

Students in middle and elementary school have a poor understanding of basic experimental design – commonly known as the “Control of Variables Strategy” (CVS). The TED Tutor is an intelligent, computer-based, tutor that adapts instruction on experimental design to individual students based on its assessments of their knowledge and ability, and provides continuous feedback on students’ actions. We are embedding the TED Tutor in an adaptive computer-based instructional context in which a child selects a topic for a science fair project, and then designs and implements an experiment to explore that topic. The theoretical contribution of the Inquiry Science Project Tutor will be to determine the extent to which presenting CVS instruction in the context of other inquiry activities elicits sceptical scientific mindsets that evoke science goals of identifying causal factors, rather than engineering goals of trying to achieve specific outcomes. The practical aspects will be to increase robust learning when TED instruction guides students in their design of unconfounded experiments.


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