Research Design

Our research involves two main lines of inquiry:

1. How do we design technology-based activities that are informed by sound theories of motivation?
For the past year we have been designing immersive virtual environments (IVEs) to bolster students’ beliefs that they can be successful in mathematics, and that what students learn in math class is valuable and important to their future endeavors. Specifically, we are targeting prominent expectancy-value motivation constructs that are likely to have an impact on the academic and career paths that students choose. These constructs include self-efficacy, implicit theories of ability, causal attributions, and value beliefs (see Theoretical Framework for more information).

2. How can innovative technologies be designed to reach different types of students?
In the Fall of 2010, we created design plans for a Multi-User Virtual Environment (MUVE) that immerses students in a space-themed environment. Students solve a series of complex math problems to unlock doors that help them save their captain. Building of the game commenced in December 2010 and finished in February 2012, following a number of pilot tests. Production of two other technology-based activities, targeting motivation through other means, occurred simultaneously. Wide-scale implementation of all activities occurred in March 2012 with 18,000 students and 450 teachers.