Identifying and Alleviating Problems Novices Have While Learning Formulae

Lackey, J. R.
Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, April
New Orleans

In this study I investigate what elements of statistical formulae cause people to perceive said formulae as difficult. The perception of difficulty is important because it affects how and what people study as well as the amount of time they devote to study. By understanding how people perceive formulae we can design our instruction to accommodate these perceptions. I approach this investigation from three major theoretical bases. The first theoretical base will concern cognitive load. Are students intimidated by certain formulae because the formulae contain to much information to be held in working memory? The second theoretical base will concern motivational perceptions. Are there aspects of certain formulae which cause students to perceive certain formulae as more difficult and thereby stimulate negative emotions that interfere with the efficient use of working memory. The third theoretical base involves impasse drive learning. When learners reach a cognitive impasse, are they able work around it. If learners can work around certain impasses and not others, how do the impasses they can work around and those they cannot work around differ?

The CAUSE Research Group is supported in part by a member initiative grant from the American Statistical Association’s Section on Statistics and Data Science Education