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Learning Across the Expert-Novice Continuum: Cognition in the Geosciences. Heather Petcovic Western Michigan University. Julie Libarkin Zach Hambrick Sheldon Turner Nicole LaDue Tara Rench. Heather Petcovic Kathleen Baker Caitlin Callahan Magdalena Wisniewska. Joe Elkins.

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learning across the expert novice continuum cognition in the geosciences

Learning Across the Expert-Novice Continuum: Cognition in the Geosciences

Heather Petcovic

Western Michigan University

heather petcovic kathleen baker caitlin callahan magdalena wisniewska

Julie Libarkin

Zach Hambrick

Sheldon Turner

Nicole LaDue

Tara Rench

Heather Petcovic

Kathleen Baker

Caitlin Callahan

Magdalena Wisniewska

Joe Elkins

Thank You: IUGFS

This work is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants No. DRL-0815764 (PI Petcovic) and DRL-0815930 (PI Libarkin). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

the empirical study

THE EMPIRICAL STUDY

Education & Experience

Domain Content Knowledge

Working Memory Capacity

PURPOSE: examine how cognitive processes that underlie geological thinking and skills change from novice (undergraduate student) to expert (professional geoscientist)

General Spatial Ability

Geological Expertise

Outdoor (Field) Problem-Solving

Outdoor Comfort (Novelty Space)

the empirical study5

THE EMPIRICAL STUDY

METHODS: (1) use existing or develop new cognitive tasks and measures (N=40); (2) recruit novice through expert volunteers to complete suite of lab and field tasks (N=29)

slide6

METHODS: LAB AND FIELD

  • LABORATORY STUDY
  • Adopt, adapt, or develop new tasks and measures
  • Recruit subjects (N=40)
    • Novice = no geology experience
    • Intermediate = undergrad major or grad student
    • Expert = professional geoscientist
  • Quantitative analysis
  • FIELD STUDY
  • Develop task/measure suite
  • Recruit and select subjects (N=29)
    • Novice = undergrad major
    • Intermediate = grad or young professional
    • Expert = professional
  • Data collection Aug 2009
    • Rocky Mts., Montana
    • Cognitive tests
    • Intro to local rocks
    • Mapping task
  • Data analysis
slide7

MEASURES: EXPERIENCE

  • GEQ-G
  • Geoscience education and experience survey
    • Demographics
    • Degrees and coursework
    • Assistantships
    • Teaching experience
    • Original research
    • Work experience
  • Subject validation
  • Scoring after AIPG certification
  • GEQ-M
  • Experience bedrock mapping
    • Coursework, internship, teaching, work experience, etc.
    • Related to bedrock mapping

Have you completed an undergraduate degree in geology or earth science? If no, are you currently enrolled as an undergraduate student?

Did you take a Field Geology methods course?

Do you now hold or have you ever had a position to teach geological sciences at the college level?

Have you ever been employed as a geoscientist or earth scientist (not including internships and/or assistantships while you were a student)?

slide8

RESULTS: EXPERIENCE

  • s. rho =.79, p < 0.01
  • FINDINGS
  • GEQ-G
    • 10 experts (>5)
    • 9 intermediates (2.5-5)
    • 10 novices (<2.5)
  • GEQ-M
    • 4 experts (>7)
    • 13 intermediates (1-5)
    • 12 novices (<1)
  • Measures are significantly correlated
slide9

MEASURES: DOMAIN CONTENT KNOWLEDGE

  • GCI+
  • Knowledge of geoscience content
  • Modified from Libarkin and Anderson’s GCI
  • 18 multiple choice
  • 2 free-response

Draw a representation of the intersection between a bedding plane and a fault on the stereonet below.

  • Why does the Earth have a magnetic field?
  • The Earth contains crust of different composition
  • The Earth has a gravitational force of attraction
  • The Earth contains moving metal liquid
  • The Earth has an orbit around the sun
  • The Earth does not have a magnetic field
slide10

RESULTS: DOMAIN CONTENT KNOWLEDGE

  • FINDINGS
  • GCI discriminates experts from novices
  • GCI and GEQ-G: positive correlation
  • GCI and GEQ-M: significant positive correlation
  • Experts have higher domain content knowledge

N=29

s. rho = .376, p = .04

slide11

MEASURES: GENERAL

SPATIAL ABILITY

  • SPATIAL-VISUAL ABILITY
  • Mental rotation, recognizing patterns and shapes, vertical and horizontal frames of reference, mentally manipulating a surface or volume, spatial relationships
  • Paper Folding, Form Board (ETS Toolkit); Space Relations
slide12

RESULTS: GENERAL (NON-GEOLOGIC) SPATIAL ABILITY

N=29

r = .33

  • FINDINGS:
  • Higher scores than non-geologists
  • Experts do NOT score higher than novices
  • Does not decrease with age
  • Positive corr. with GCI
  • Do high spatial ability students self-select into geosciences?

GCI

Spatial Ability Composite

slide13

MEASURES: GENERAL SPATIAL WORKING MEMORY CAPACITY

  • WORKING MEMORY CAPACITY
  • Capacity to both store and process information in active memory
  • Correlates with other measuresof intelligence
  • Arrow Span, Matrix Span
    • Sets of 2-6
    • Briefly view letter
    • Determine if inverted
    • Briefly view arrow
    • Was letter inverted? Y/N
    • Draw arrow
slide14

RESULTS: GENERAL SPATIAL WORKING MEMORY CAPACITY

  • FINDINGS:
  • No better than non-geologist population
  • Experts do NOT perform better than novices
  • Negative correlation with age
  • Weak positive correlation with GCI
  • Experts do not have greater general WMC
slide15

MEASURES: GEOLOGIC WORKING MEMORY CAPACITY

  • DOMAIN SPECIFIC WMC
  • Block diagram test – ubiquitous in teaching
  • Geologic and non-geologic
  • Range of difficulty
  • Test:
    • View block
    • Reproduce on tablet PC
slide16

RESULTS: GEOLOGIC WORKING MEMORY CAPACITY

  • FINDINGS
  • People overall do better on geologic blocks
  • Geologists do NOT do better on geologic blocks
  • Experts are faster, can be more sloppy, give up quickly, and tend to correct non-geologic blocks

NOVICE (Non-Geo)

INTERMEDIATE

EXPERT

slide17

MEASURES: OUTDOOR COMFORT

  • NOVELTY SPACE SURVEY
  • Modified from Elkins
  • Measures 3 of the 4 dimensions of novelty space
    • Cognitive (knowledge and skills relevant to task)
    • Geographic (familiarity with the outdoor setting)
    • Psychological (familiarity with the task expectations)
  • 5 point Likert scale
  • I know a lot about geology.
  • I have difficulty identifying geologic structures in the field.
  • I know where we are going on this field project.
  • I am unfamiliar with this field area.
  • I know what is expected of me during this field project.
  • I am uncomfortable working alone in the field.
slide18

RESULTS: OUTDOOR COMFORT

cognitive

  • FINDINGS
  • Cognitive novelty decreases with expertise
  • Geographic and social novelty decrease slightly with expertise
  • Experts are more comfortable with mapping task

geographic

psychological

slide19

MEASURES: GEOLOGIC PROBLEM-SOLVING

  • THE BEDROCK MAPPING TASK
  • Walk-through introduction to rock types
  • Air photo and topo maps
  • ~1 km by 500 m area
  • Unlimited time
  • 4 major rock units

IMAGE REMOVED DUE TO ONGOING RESEARCH

slide20

MEASURES: BEDROCK MAPS

s. rho = -.47, p = .01

  • MAP SCORING – RANK ORDER BASED ON:
  • Correct ID of units
  • Accuracy of contacts
  • Accuracy of thickness
  • Correct structural interpretation

IMAGE REMOVED DUE TO ONGOING RESEARCH

slide21

RESULTS: BEDROCK MAPS

  • CORRELATIONS:
  • Map rank and GCI: significant correlation
  • Map rank and WMC (general and geologic): correlation
  • Map rank has no correlation with spatial visualization
  • Map performance mainly driven by domain content knowledge

r = -.49

(without these possible outliers)

Map Rank

Spatial WMC Composite

s. rho = -0.55, p=0.002

slide22

MEASURES: GPS TRACKS

  • PARAMETERS
  • Total time, distance, no. stops
  • Mean speed, intersections
  • Up/down ratio, area seen
  • ANALYSIS
  • Cluster analysis based on track characteristics to identifysimilar track types
  • Visual inspection and qualitative analysis to identifysignature clusters
  • Overlay tracks on maps
slide24

RESULTS: GPS TRACKS

  • SIX SIGNATURE CLUSTERS
  • Reflect different mapping strategies

Looping coverage

Back & forth

Wandering path

Linear

Back & forth w /loops

Linear w/ loops

slide25

RESULTS: GPS TRACKS

Mapping Expertise

Expert

Intermediate

#4

Novice

Wandering Path

#2

Participants

Looping Coverage

Back & Forth

Linear

Back & Forth w Loops

#27

#5

Linear w Loops

#26

#28

#25

#29

#3

#1

1

2

3

4

slide26

RESULTS: GPS TRACKS AND MAPS

  • ANALYSIS (N=9)
  • Time spent within units
  • Time spent along contacts between units
  • Accuracy of map units and contacts (overlaid on key)

IMAGE REMOVED DUE TO ONGOING RESEARCH

slide27

RESULTS: GPS TRACKS AND MAPS

  • FINDINGS
  • Mapping rank is moderately correlated with # of intersections; significant correlation with accuracy (Unit 1 and Unit 3)
  • Mapping expertise moderately correlated with area seen and # of intersections; some moderate correlation with accuracy and time spent

Unit 1-2 contact

slide28

RESULTS: MAPPING TASK

  • FINDINGS
  • Maps and tracks reflect individual strategies
  • Experts tend to make better maps but so do newly trained novices
  • Experts tend to be more efficient with their route, and more effective covering more area in shorter time
  • Experts tend to be more accurate and consistent with placement – might be due to ability to orient themselves in the field
  • Not one mapping strategy produces a good map, however some are better than others
      • Good – back & forth, linear
      • Bad – back & forth w/ loops
  • Novices more likely to adopt poor strategy
slide29

OVERALL PRELIMINARY FINDINGS

  • EXPERTS:
  • Have more domain-specific content knowledge
  • Have reduced cognitive novelty
  • Were not significantly better spatial-visualizers than undergrads
  • Do not seem to have greater geologic or general WMC?
  • Produce better maps (though newly trained novices also produce good maps)!
  • Overall, individual differences in strategies used to produce successful maps
slide30

IMPLICATIONS FOR TEACHING

  • Domain content knowledge is critical
  • Early instruction in spatial ability
  • Purposeful movement in the field – physical instruction?
  • No one “best” strategy for mapping success (but avoid “bad” strategies)