A Learning Environment to Support Comprehension Monitoring with Informational Science Text

Project: Research project

Project Details


The goal of this Education and Human Resources Core Research project is to better understand how technology-based learning environments impact students' scientific literacy. The project will address the need to equip students with the skills to read and interpret scientific texts in a manner that facilitates solving real-world scientific problems. The learning environment will deliver 'missions' related to three essential curricular units pertinent to 5th grade built in a framework potentially scalable for the comprehensive grade curriculum. Through a pedagogical agent, Monty, and a cast of interactive characters, the program will impact scientific literacy with informational texts to improve science conceptual knowledge, comprehension-monitoring skills, and argumentation, encourage mastery and growth mindset approaches, and increase self-efficacy and interest with science topics more broadly. The project will also test the efficacy for students to transfer what they have learned outside of the game on project-based classroom activities. A highly diverse sample of students will participate that includes large numbers of minority, international, ESL (English as a Second Language) status, and economically disadvantaged students. The resulting system will be accessible and inclusive for all learners as a pedagogical tool to enhance traditional classroom instruction that includes a teacher dashboard for monitoring and assessment purposes.

Two primary programmatic goals include: 1) to design, develop, and iteratively refine the learning environment for 5th grade students that improves comprehension monitoring and supports science learning and 2) to increase current theoretical and practical understanding of how elementary students engage with and monitor their comprehension of informational science texts. The program will function within a self-regulated learning framework and include three key curricular units (ecosystems, Earth and human activity, from molecules to organisms) that align with Next Generation Science Standards. A systematic program of studies will be conducted starting from design-based studies in Years 1 & 2 to test digital strategy tools and game-based elements followed by experimental studies in Years 2 & 3 to examine the influence of both embedded comprehension monitoring tools and adaptive scaffolding. A mixed method measurement approach will be adopted along with an iterative program development model. Measures of content learning, metacognitive monitoring, transfer, and motivational and affect variables (e.g. self-efficacy, interest) will be targeted to inform the literature. Design studies will further examine the impact of the environment with regard to ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, ESL status, prior gaming experience, and achievement levels.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Effective start/end date6/1/185/31/23


  • National Science Foundation: $1,469,395.00


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