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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How Can Cognitive Science Improve Online Learning? - YouTube


Google Tech Talk
November 19, 2012
(click on "show more")
Presented by Joseph Jay Williams


Recent research in Cognitive Science provides insights into how learning can be improved that are complementary to those gained from practical experience and the research in Computer Science, Education and other Learning Sciences. This talk considers how learning can be improved by: 

(1) Asking questions and requesting explanations; 

(2) Presenting specific examples to illustrate abstract principles; 

(3) Using tests as pedagogical rather than assessment tools. 

Moreover, online education provides the unique opportunity for hybrid research that is simultaneously applied and academic. 

Online environments satisfy the scientific requirements of randomized experiments and precise control, as well as the practical need for ecological validity, fidelity, and scalable dissemination. 

One virtue of a basic Cognitive Science approach to online education is revealing abstract similarities in learning different topics: 

In addition to presenting ongoing research at Khan Academy and MOOCs like EdX, I discuss how analogous principles can be explored in teaching end-users Google Power Search, internal training, and customer education. 

This work can therefore simultaneously advance public education and yield corporate benefits.

Presenter's Biography:

Joseph Jay Williams does Cognitive Science research on how generating explanations promotes learning, and Online Education work on improving learning from mathematics exercises (Khan Academy), increasing motivation to learn by changing people's beliefs about intelligence (Project for Education Research that Scales:, teaching metacognitive & learning strategies in Massive Open Online Courses (EdX), and using technology to change educational and health habits. 

He is finishing his PhD in Psychology at UC Berkeley, and also has interests in consulting for corporate e-learning and training, web development for online education, using journalism to disseminate research to practitioners, and education in online search and problem-solving for students and entrepreneurs.
For resources on Cognitive Science & Online Education see:,, 



How Can Cognitive Science Improve Online Learning? - YouTube