Understanding How Prior Knowledge Relates to Later Learning

Children's Understanding of Foundational Math Skills

Our lab is interested in how children come to understand foundational math skills, and how we can promote better understanding of these skills. Skills in preschool and kindergarten form the basis for students' learning throughout elementary school, and knowledge gained in elementary school forms the basis for more advanced mathematics learning. We are interested in targeting foundational skills because children who struggle to grasp early skills tend to be at risk for later math difficulties.

Optimizing the Learning Environment to Improve Children's Understanding

Computer-Based Guided Retrieval Practice

One set of studies investigates optimization of the learning environment with computer-based guided retrieval practice activities. Retrieval practice is a powerful way to promote robust learning, in which students benefit from actively retrieving knowledge from memory. Our research team and collaborators are examining children’s learning of science content after open-book activities, closed-book activities, or a combination. Results suggest that teachers and parents can aid in children’s learning and retention by providing opportunities to answer questions both with the text present and without the text present to boost initial success and harness the benefits of retrieval practice.

Research to Practice Focus

Connection to Real-World Educational Contexts

One major component of what we do in the Learning and Development Lab is to take our findings from assessments and one-on-one activities and translate that effectively into the classroom. Our ultimate goal is to provide educators with tools to best support student learning!