To Compare or Space? The Role of Timing in Children's Science Learning

This research will contribute to our understanding how students learn science concepts. In particular, this research will identify the factors that contribute to children's ability to successfully generalize concepts from individual examples.  The experiments will present students with multiple examples of science concepts according to different timing patterns so that students can abstract similarities and differences among them. The examples will be presented at the same time and apart in time; both timing schedules been shown to promote science learning. Our hypothesis is that developmental changes in students' cognitive abilities, such as attention, memory, and science knowledge, will create shifts in which timing pattern promotes their ability to generalize concepts effectively.

This work will likely resolve conflicting findings in cognitive science and science education and, in turn, will generate a body of research that offers methods for designing learning environments. In turn, this research aims to provide STEM educators with curricular material supplements that outline the timing patterns that promote students' learning outcomes. This project is supported by NSF's EHR Core Research (ECR) program. The ECR program emphasizes fundamental STEM education research that generates foundational knowledge in the field.


Haley Vlach


Completed on August 31, 2021

Contact Information

Haley Vlach