Overview of My Program of Research
Figure 1. Depiction of My Program of Research – Overarching questions that have guided my research program and the interrelationships among them in relation to the main research question in the center. Items in red represent the different research projects I have undertaken to investigate each of the big questions.
"All life is [complex] problem solving"
As depicted in the figure, the important but little understood question that motivates my program of research is: How can we effectively facilitate learning in complex knowledge domains such as STEM? This seemingly simple central research question is indeed highly complex and multi- faceted. The existing knowledge about the facilitation of learning becomes less and less sufficient when it comes to designing instruction that can effectively facilitate learning in complex knowledge domains, especially in the light of new perspectives of cognition and learning; and powerful technologies that support learning. This multi-faceted research question has led me to the following sub-questions during my investigations of the central question in my program of research:
- What is the nature of learning and complex problem solving in complex knowledge domains like STEM?
- How can we reliably assess progress of learning in complex knowledge domains?
- How to design effective computer-based interactive learning environments to support development of higher-order learning and complex problem-solving competencies to effectively place students on a trajectory towards adaptive expertise in STEM domains?
- How to effectively integrate of innovative computer-based interactive learning environments into education?
These questions correspond to the themes in my program of research, which I have been investigating in order to be able to address the central question. To date, my research contexts included middle school and high school STEM courses (such as science and mathematics); undergraduate and graduate programs in STEM (such as engineering and architecture); and professional work in STEM domains (such as aviation and medicine). My recent work included a grounded theory on cognitive processes underlying complex problem solving; development of an innovative method for assessing complex learning outcomes and for benchmarking levels of adaptive expertise in STEM. In addition, I developed a framework for designing and implementing advanced learning environments such as, dynamic system modeling, simulations, and digital games to facilitate the development of complex problem-solving competencies and requisite metacognitive skills.
Recent Research Projects
- Model-Facilitated Inquiry Learning to Facilitate Understanding of Complex Science Systems
- Digital Game-Based Learning Design to Facilitate the Development of Complex Problem-Solving Competencies in Interdisciplinary STEM