Jan L. Plass

Jan L. Plass
New York University | NYU · Consortium for Research and Evaluation of Advanced Technologies in Education

Ph.D.

About

116
Publications
118,324
Reads
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8,891
Citations
Citations since 2016
32 Research Items
5608 Citations
20162017201820192020202120220200400600800
20162017201820192020202120220200400600800
20162017201820192020202120220200400600800
20162017201820192020202120220200400600800
Additional affiliations
September 2010 - present
New York University
Position
  • Professor
September 2003 - August 2010
New York University
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
September 2000 - August 2003
New York University
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)

Publications

Publications (116)
Article
In this article we argue that to study or apply games as learning environments, multiple perspectives have to be taken into account. We first define game-based learning and gamification, and then discuss theoretical models that describe learning with games, arguing that playfulness is orthogonal to learning theory. We then review design elements of...
Article
Can multimedia learning environments be designed to foster positive emotions that will improve learning and related affective outcomes? College students (N = 118) were randomly assigned to 4 conditions created by 2 factors related to learners' emotion: external mood induction (positive vs. neutral emotions) and emotional design induction (positive...
Article
Full-text available
The present research examined how mode of play in an educational mathematics video game impacts learning, performance, and motivation. The game was designed for the practice and automation of arithmetic skills to increase fluency and was adapted to allow for individual, competitive, or collaborative game play. Participants (N = 58) from urban middl...
Article
Executive functions' (EF) role in adolescents' advanced theory of mind (aToM) was examined. In Study 1, adolescents (N = 189 in 2017, Mage = 13.1 years, 55.6% female from racially/ethnically diverse schools) completed the Flexibility and Automaticity of Social Cognition task (FASC), and shifting and inhibition measures. Study 2 (N = 289 in 2018 and...
Chapter
How do we design effective immersive VR experiences? Looking Inside Cells is a set of collaborative immersive virtual reality science learning simulations that were designed by applying best practices for learning experience design, taking advantage of the unique affordances of VR for learning. In this paper we describe design features of immersive...
Article
Full-text available
The present study examines whether playing a video game can help improve cognitive skills needed for successful performance on cognitive tasks, such as updating , which involves continuous monitoring of incoming information that results in rapid addition or deletion of information in working memory. For example, in the n-back task, the participant...
Chapter
To be optimally effective, digital technologies should be adaptive to specific learners’ needs. Two examples are presented of data-informed approaches to developing digital games that support the development of executive functions (EF) in neurodiverse populations. The first is an experiment with younger and older adolescents that compared two versi...
Article
Indicators of behavioral engagement derived from log data may provide insight about variation in participants’ interactions with and the efficacy of digital cognitive skills training games. We first sought to determine whether distinct groups of adolescents (N = 163; Mean age = 14.1 years, SD =1.3) could be identified based on variables derived fro...
Poster
Full-text available
Executive functions (EF) are cognitive control and regulation processes that allow fast, adapted behavior. They are linked to important educational and developmental outcomes. Although it has been shown that EF can be trained via game-based training (Diamond & Lee,2011), recommendations on how to design these games are scarce. The presented study e...
Article
Full-text available
Adaptive learning and personalization have long been of great interest to learning designers and educators, and recent technological advances that have opened up a range of new possibilities for adaptivity. However, we lack clear definitions of the terms adaptivity and personalization, and the theoretical and empirical soundness of implementations...
Chapter
Findings from two studies on the design of digital badges for a middle school geometry game and their impact on motivational and cognitive learning outcomes are reported. Study 1 compared the effect of badges in the game to a group with no badges. Badges did not increase posttest performance for all. Learners with high situational interest performe...
Presentation
Full-text available
Exekutive Funktionen bezeichnen kognitive Kontroll-und Regulationsprozesse, die schnelles und situationsangepasstes Denken und Handeln ermöglichen. Sie stehen in Beziehung zu Problemlösen, sozialem Verhalten und akademischem Erfolg. Zwar gibt es Evidenz, dass kognitive Trainingsspiele exekutive Funktionen fördern können (Diamond & Lee, 2011), es gi...
Article
This study investigated direct and indirect effects of executive functions on reading comprehension in adolescents (N = 87, M = 14.0 years, SD = 1.5) by testing for parallel mediation of effects of working memory, task-switching, and inhibitory control via decoding and text recall/inference. Working memory showed direct and indirect effects on pass...
Article
Full-text available
We discuss four ways in which emotion may relate to cognitive load during learning. One perspective describes emotions as extraneous cognitive load, competing for the limited resources of working memory by requiring the processing of task-extra or task-irrelevant information. Another perspective shows that encoding, storage, and retrieval of inform...
Article
What is the affective quality of specific design features of game characters? The Integrative Model of Emotion in Game-based Learning (EmoGBL) describes common mechanisms of how emotion and learning processes interact to foster specific learning outcomes. In the present paper, we asked how color, shape, expression, and dimensionality of game charac...
Article
Research suggests that gains in executive function (EF) skills training are strongest when task difficulty increases progressively, yet findings on the effectiveness of adaptive approaches for EF training are inconsistent. This study compared the effectiveness of an adaptive vs a non-adaptive version of a digital game designed to train the EF sub-s...
Article
Executive function (EF), critical for many developmental outcomes, emerge in childhood and continue developing into early adulthood (Blakemore & Choudhury, 2006). During adolescence there are important developments in Hot EF, which involves using EF in emotionally salient contexts (Zelazo & Carlson, 2012). The current study used an emotional design...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
There is evidence that executive functions (EF), which play a critical role in developmental and academic outcomes, can be enhanced through cognitive skills training. This study seeks to understand the impact of Emotional Design in a game-based training targeting the EF subskill of task-switching among adolescent participants, as it is a time assoc...
Article
Findings from two studies on the design of digital badges for a middle school geometry game and their impact on motivational and cognitive learning outcomes are reported. Study 1 compared the effect of badges in the game to a group with no badges. Badges did not increase posttest performance for all. Learners with high situational interest performe...
Article
Full-text available
Studies in the learning sciences suggest that drawing may prove useful as a learning diagnostic and as a cognitive tool. A study has been designed to determine if drawing at dierent times while learning withan application on radiograph interpretation will improve learning and cognition. The research is ongoing, and new qualitative data reveals vari...
Article
Full-text available
Turkey is the top refugee-hosting country in the world, with more than three million registered Syrian refugees. An international research team was the first to document the educational and mental health needs of Syrian refugee children, finding that an overwhelming majority are not enrolled in school in Turkey, partly as a result of language barri...
Chapter
Full-text available
The availability of valid and easily usable measures of cognitive load experienced by the learners is critical for supporting cognitive load theory-based hypotheses and for evaluating actual learning conditions in realistic environments. Simple subjective rating scales still remain the most frequently used tools for measuring cognitive load in real...
Chapter
Full-text available
With decreased cost and increased portability, digital technologies have become ubiquitous in nearly all aspects of our lives, including education. One promising uses of digital technologies is video games for learning, and there are now thousands of educational and learning games. Although most work in this area has investigated learning outcomes,...
Poster
Full-text available
Educators have sought to design cost-effective computer programs that enable users to learn languages without instructors for 60 years (Schmid, 2009). CALL (computer assisted language learning) programs have the broadest reach to serve people in developing countries, however, there are few programs which 1) serve non-English speakers learning non-E...
Article
Full-text available
Executive functions (EF), the skills required to plan, monitor and control cognitive processes, are linked to many important educational and developmental outcomes. The Alien Game is a digital game developed to train the EF subskill of shifting. High school students (N = 82; age range 14–18 years; average = 15.5 years) were asked to play the Alien...
Article
In this article, we present the application of a method for visualizing gameplay patterns observed in log-file data from a geometry game. Using VisCareTrails, a data visualization software system based on the principle of timed word trees, we were able to identify five novel behaviors that informed our understanding of how players were approaching...
Article
The objective of the present study was to determine whether it is possible to design a video game that could help students improve their executive function skill of shifting between competing tasks, and the conditions under which playing the game would lead to improvements on cognitive tests of shifting. College students played a custom video game,...
Poster
This poster details early research on an experiment exploring the use of drawing as a learning aid and meta cognitive tool in radiolograph interpretation education.
Chapter
More and more evidence still points to something that practitioners in education have known for millennia: human learning and performance cannot be simply described from a cognitive or even sociocultural perspective alone. In order to fully understand how we process the world around us, we need to consider our affective responses to the information...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Data logged within technology-based learning environments have the potential to support instructors' orchestration of learner activities. Whereas many learning environments now feature student and teacher dashboards, which promote reflection on activities after the fact, the affordances of displaying these data in real time is only beginning to be...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter presents an overview of theoretical and research-based design considerations for the study and design of the motivational functions of digital badges with a particular focus on learning game environments. We combine our discussion of relevant theories with a review of the empirical research we conducted on this topic. To guide future r...
Article
This study examined the direct and indirect effects of medical clerkship students' prior knowledge, self-regulation and motivation on learning performance in complex multimedia learning environments. The data from 386 medical clerkship students from six medical schools were analysed using structural equation modeling. The structural model revealed...
Conference Paper
Results are reported from a study conducted to test the effectiveness of an adaptive learning platform (Cerego) used for five high school subjects. This system features a learning engine that, based on a spaced repetition algorithm, tracks learners' memory of all items in a learning set, and schedules rehearsal of the items to prevent forgetting. P...
Article
The present eyetracking study examined the influence of emotions on learning with multimedia. Based on a 2x2 experimental design, participants received experimentally induced emotions (positive vs. neutral) and then learned with a multimedia instructional material, which was varied in its design (with vs. without anthropomorphisms) to induce positi...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The design of, and research on, digital games for learning has been hampered by the lack of a comprehensive design framework of game-based learning that incorporates essential elements unique to learning from this genre. Broadening the scope to playful learning, we therefore propose an integrated approach to the design of these learning environment...
Article
This formative design study examines how a program curriculum and implementation was emergently (re)designed in dynamic relation to the expressed emotions of teachers and students. The context was a yearlong afterschool game design program for STEM learning at an urban and public all-girls middle school. Using Randall Collins’ (Interaction ritual c...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
How does the design of digital badges in a middle school geometry game impact motivational and cognitive learning outcomes? Based on achievement goal theory, learners were first primed for either mastery or achievement, and then received either mastery badges, achievement badges, or no badges while playing the game. Dependent measures included situ...
Article
Full-text available
To identify the most effective way for medical students to interact with a browser-based learning module on the symptoms and neurological underpinnings of stroke syndromes, this study manipulated the way in which subjects interacted with a graphical model of the brain and examined the impact of functional changes on learning outcomes. It was hypoth...
Article
We examine design factors that may evoke positive emotions in learners and investigate the effects of these positive emotions on learning. Recent research showed that the emotional design of multimedia learning material can induce positive emotions in learners that in turn facilitate comprehension and transfer. We sought to replicate these results...
Chapter
Full-text available
In this chapter, we discuss research on learning from simulations and microworlds. After providing working defi nitions and examples for these environments, we review research on their effectiveness and, where available, on specifi c questions of their information design, interaction design, and instructional guidance design. On the basis of the re...
Chapter
Full-text available
In this chapter, we will 1. Review the literature on embedded assessment in games for learning, 2. Introduce an approach to improving the diagnostic power of game metrics through learning mechanics and assessment mechanics, 3. Present a case study employing Cognitive Task Analysis for the study of learner behavior in science simulations, 4. Present...
Chapter
With recent advances in technology, animations and simulations are increasingly available for science education. These dynamic resources can be useful for communicating some of the critical ideas that are fundamental to chemistry; however, numerous factors contribute to their effectiveness. In this chapter, we describe our research in designing and...
Article
Full-text available
Paper submitted for presentation at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), New Orleans, LA (April, 2011). Results are presented from an experimental investigation of the effect of mode of play on motivational and educational outcomes. A computer-based arithmetic game was adapted to allow for solo, competitive, o...
Conference Paper
A computer-based geometry game was adapted to allow for play using a conceptual rule or an arithmetic problem-solving mechanic. Participants (n = 91) from an urban middle school were randomly assigned to experimental conditions. Results suggest that play in the number condition was more situationally interesting than play in the rule condition. Par...
Article
Background: Well-designed computer-assisted instruction (CAI) can potentially transform medical education. Yet little is known about whether specific design features such as direct manipulation of the content yield meaningful gains in clinical learning. We designed three versions of a multimedia module on the abdominal exam incorporating different...
Article
Participant attrition may be a significant threat to the generalizability of the results of educational research studies if participants who do not persist in a study differ from those who do in ways that can affect the experimental outcomes. A multi-center trial of the efficacy of different computer-based instructional strategies gave us the oppor...
Article
Although video is increasingly used in public health education, studies generally do not implement randomized trials of multiple video segments in clinical environments. Therefore, the specific configurations of educational videos that will have the greatest impact on outcome measures ranging from increased knowledge of important public health issu...
Article
https://wp.nyu.edu/connect/2012/04/30/video-games-the-future-of-learning/
Article
Are well-designed computer simulations an effective tool to support student understanding of complex concepts in chemistry when integrated into high school science classrooms? We investigated scaling up the use of a sequence of simulations of kinetic molecular theory and associated topics of diffusion, gas laws, and phase change, which we designed...
Article
In a Classroom Multiplayer Presential Game (CMPG) peers interact collaboratively with the virtual world and amongst themselves in a shared space. The design of this kind of game, however, is a complex process that must consider instruction strategies, methodology, usability and ludic aspects. This article’s aim is to develop and systematize guideli...
Article
Full-text available
We developed a Self-Regulation Measure for Computer-based learning (SRMC) tailored toward medical students, by modifying Zimmerman's Self-Regulated Learning Interview Schedule (SRLIS) for K-12 learners. The SRMC's reliability and validity were examined in 2 studies. In Study 1, 109 first-year medical students were asked to complete the SRMC. Bivari...
Article
in 2008, the Surgical Council on Resident Education selected 33 residency programs to pilot its General Surgery Resident Curriculum Website Portal. The portal aims to reduce program variability in curricula, align teaching and learning with essential content, and improve resident study and performance. two online surveys were sent to all program di...
Technical Report
Full-text available
In this paper, we will discuss the approach for assessment of learning and related learner variables taken by the Games for Learning Institute (G4LI). We will first describe game mechanics in general, and then introduce the concepts of learning mechanics and assessment mechanics and describe criteria for their design and requirements of how they ca...
Chapter
We argue that the effectiveness of simulations for science education depends on design features such as the type of representation chosen to depict key concepts. We hypothesize that the addition of iconic representations to simulations can help novice learners interpret the visual simulation interface and improve cognitive learning outcomes as well...
Article
What does interactivity entail? What factors need to be taken into account in the design of interactive systems? Although interactivity is a widely used term accorded great prominence in discussions of multimedia learning, even a preliminary look at the literature suggests that how interactivity is defined, and what benefits it may offer, are not a...
Article
Full-text available
The influence of prior knowledge and cognitive development on the effectiveness of iconic representations in science visualizations was examined. Middle and high school students (N=186) were given narrated visualizations of two chemistry topics: Kinetic Molecular Theory (Day 1) and Ideal Gas Laws (Day 2). For half of the visualizations, iconic repr...
Article
The previous chapters discussed sources of cognitive load that are a result of the difficulty of the materials, the design of instruction, and the amount of mental effort invested by learners to process the new information. As outlined in these chapters, the major cause of cognitive load effects is the limited capacity of working memory. In this ch...
Article
The previous chapters have outlined the theoretical background, basic assumptions, and some key applications of Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) in its current state of development. The fundamental idea underlying CLT is that instructional design decisions should be informed by the architecture of the human cognitive system. CLT can therefore be describ...
Book
Cognitive load theory (CLT) is one of the most important theories in educational psychology, a highly effective guide for the design of multimedia and other learning materials. This edited volume brings together the most prolific researchers from around the world who study various aspects of cognitive load to discuss its current theoretical as well...
Article
One of the defining characteristics of the human cognitive system is the capacity limitation of our working memory. We know since Miller's seminal 1956 paper 1 that we can only hold a few chunks of information in memory at any given time. Translating this fact into the educational practice of teaching and learning, however, has proved to be more co...
Article
Full-text available
This paper reviews research on learning from dynamic visual repre- sentations and offers principles for the design of animations and simulations that assure their educational effectiveness. In addition to established principles, new and revised design principle are presented that have been derived from recent research. Our review focuses on the vis...
Article
Full-text available
We propose that the effectiveness of simulations for science education depends on design features such as the type of representation chosen to depict key concepts. We hypothesize that the addition of iconic representa- tions to simulations can help novice learners interpret the visual simulation interface and improve cognitive learning outcomes as...
Article
Full-text available
What type of instruction and representational formats are most effective for different learners when using computer-based simulations? This was examined in an experiment with high-school chemistry students (N = 67) randomly assigned to receive a simulation that varied by instructional format (guided exploration vs. worked examples). Learners' prior...
Article
Full-text available
This paper reports assessment results of a four-year interdisciplinary research project with the goal to design and test a web-based software environment for real-time, applied programming for underrepresented students' early literacy (RAPUNSEL). The study presented here assessed the impact of the resulting computer game environment called Peeps, w...
Article
Two studies examined the use of video in multimedia learning environments. In Study 1, participants (N = 26) viewed one of two versions of a computer-based multimedia presentation: video, which included a video of a lecture with synchronized slides, or no video, which included the slides but only an audio narration of the lecture. Learning, cogniti...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Many learning environments contain multiple representations. Using them can lead to a deeper level of cognitive processing when learners make mental transformations between representations. However, research has revealed two problems. First, it has been shown that learners often do not make spontaneous use of such multiple options. Second, the tran...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter provides an overview of our cognitive architecture and its implications for the design of game-based learning environments. Design of educational technologies should take into account how the human mind works and what its cognitive limitations are. Processing limitations of working memory, which becomes overloaded if more than a few ch...
Article
Full-text available
How can cognitive load in visual displays of computer simulations be optimized? Middle-school chemistry students (N = 257) learned with a simulation of the ideal gas law. Visual complexity was manipulated by separating the display of the simulations in 2 screens (low complexity) or presenting all information on 1 screen (high complexity). The mode...
Article
Full-text available
How can cognitive load in visual displays of computer simulations be optimized? Middle-school chemistry students (N 257) learned with a simulation of the ideal gas law. Visual complexity was manipulated by separating the display of the simulations in 2 screens (low complexity) or presenting all information on 1 screen (high complexity). The mode of...
Article
Abstract College students learned about botany with a multimedia program that presented instructional explanations in verbal, visual, and bimodal (visual and verbal) conditions in a within-subject design. We examined the relationship among their measured visual/verbal spatial abilities, style, and preference and three outcome measures: retention, p...
Article
Students participated in a study (n=98) investigating the effectiveness of three types of annotations on three learning outcome measures. The annotations were designed to support the cognitive processes in the comprehension of scientific texts, with a function to aid either the process of selecting relevant information, organizing the information i...