Does explicit training for metavisualization skills improve student learning?

Project No.
PI Name
Sarah Hansen
Columbia University

Abstract 1

Does explicit training for metavisualization skills improve student learning?

Presentation Type
Sarah Hansen, Columbia University Resa Kelly, San Jose State University Sevil Akaygun, Bogazici University Adrian Villalta-Cerdas, California State University Bakersfield


The ability to construct visual representations, understand relationships and translate between them (metavisualization skills) are key to science learning and assessment. Students encounter a huge variety of different types and styles of visualizations when learning chemistry and other sciences, and critical analysis of these different representations helps promote robust conceptual understandings.


One way in which a critical analysis may be developed is through the use of explicitly reflective practices during teaching, i.e. asking the student to examine how they interact with the material.


This study explores the impact of this kind of individual reflection using eye-tracking patterns of students viewing animations of experimental phenomena, which are then played back to them. Does this lead to more purposeful viewing strategies? Can an explicit training for meta-visualization skills lead to improved outcomes?


We discuss quantitative results for student efficacy, confidence, and success. This work builds towards the development of new teaching methodologies that use visualizations of viewing patterns to support more purposeful engagement with visual representations.

Broader Impacts

By sharing the developed teaching strategies and materials with high school and college chemistry teachers, this study will provide innovative resources for the development of metavisualization skills.

Unexpected Challenges

How to processes and deliver eye tracking data to students immediately after viewing. Specifically, the effectiveness of aggregate static images more or dynamic video. A variety of automated and manual options were explored for effectiveness and efficiency.