The U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (IES) awarded Mitchell Rabinowitz, Ph.D., professor of educational psychology in the Graduate School of Education, and William B. Whitten II, Ph.D., visiting professor in the Graduate School of Education, a three-year, $623,390 grant to study "Guided Cognition of Unsupervised Learning."
Whitten and Rabinowitz noted in their grant proposal that as children mature, they are given more responsibility for individual learning, such as homework, where there is no supervision and little social interaction. Introducing subject matter to students through carefully designed but unsupervised study tasks, they found, can make studying more effective for all students.
“Our experiments, on which the grant proposal was based, suggest that students of widely different ability levels can learn more during unsupervised individual learning by engaging in specific cognitive events that are commonly observed in supervised group learning and that correspond to deeply researched cognitive processes,” said Rabinowitz.
Through the grant, which is part of the IES' Cognition and Student Learning Research Program, Rabinowitz and Whitten will extend their experiments in hopes of providing a detailed rationale for the design of unsupervised learning tasks.