Logan Fiorella

Creative Research Medal

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Logan Fiorella, associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, has developed a novel framework of how students “make sense” of what they are learning, particularly within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The framework is based on his extensive program of empirical research investigating the benefits and boundaries of generative learning activities, including learning by explaining and learning by drawing. Fiorella’s work fills several gaps in prior research by specifying the unique and complementary cognitive functions of distinct modes of generative sense-making—explaining, visualizing, and enacting—and by providing practical recommendations for implementing appropriate instructional methods and learning activities. His work demonstrates how guiding students to mentally visualize and enact the learning material allows them to explain and generalize what they have learned to new situations.