R. Keith Sawyer's research while affiliated with University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and other places

Publications (49)

Article
Mobile learning is learning across multiple contexts using smartphones and tablets, digital watches and fitness bands, wearable tags, and other more specialized devices. In educational applications, these devices are often linked together through the Internet or Bluetooth wireless technology, supporting collaboration and interaction. Mobile devices...
Article
This chapter builds on growing trends such as the maker movement, programmable children’s toys like LEGO Mindstorms, and gaming consoles with movement sensors like the Nintendo Wii and the Microsoft Kinect. These technologies include fabrication and construction technologies such as 3D printers, laser cutters, and milling machines; embedded computi...
Article
This chapter reviews assessment research with the goal of helping all readers understand how to design and use effective assessments. The chapter begins by introducing the purposes and contexts of educational assessment. It then presents four related frameworks to guide work on assessment: (1) assessment as a process of reasoning from evidence, (2)...
Article
History learning in schools often focuses on facts such as dates of important events and names of influential politicians or military leaders. This chapter instead considers history knowledge to be of two types: historical concepts and historical narratives. The chapter reviews two types of conceptual knowledge: first-order concepts like peasants a...
Article
This chapter describes a pedagogy whereby students learn how to engage in collaborative creative processes similar to professional knowledge workers. The five themes of knowledge building are (1) Community knowledge: students work together to advance the knowledge of the entire community; (2) Idea improvement: all ideas can be continually revised i...
Article
Learning in the arts is distinct from most other subjects for three reasons. First, the arts are centrally a representational domain and learning in the arts involves becoming aware of how representational choices communicate meaning to different audiences. Second, form and meaning are integrated; artistic representations are saturated with meaning...
Article
The interdisciplinary field of the learning sciences encompasses educational psychology, cognitive science, computer science, and anthropology, among other disciplines. The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences, first published in 2006, is the definitive introduction to this innovative approach to teaching, learning, and educational technolog...
Article
The interdisciplinary field of the learning sciences encompasses educational psychology, cognitive science, computer science, and anthropology, among other disciplines. The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences, first published in 2006, is the definitive introduction to this innovative approach to teaching, learning, and educational technolog...
Article
In its broadest definition, computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) is any learning that involves two or more learners as well as one or more computers. CSCL research studies how collaboration contributes to learning and how computer technology can facilitate collaborative learning. This chapter discusses CSCL in terms of four conceptions:...
Article
This chapter reviews research on how video games have been used in schools and other learning environments and how they impact learning outcomes. This chapter reviews four functions of video games in learning. Games as content teach specific disciplinary knowledge, for example in history, math, second language learning, physics, and medicine. Games...
Article
The learning sciences (LS) is an interdisciplinary field that studies teaching and learning. This chapter explains how the thirty-three chapters are organized. The chapter is grouped into four key themes: (1) a shift from thinking of knowledge as facts and procedures to a conception of knowledge as situated in visible practice; (2) an expansion of...
Article
Microgenetic methods are used to analyze moment-to-moment processes of learning, reasoning, and problem-solving. Microgenetic methods are useful when studying learning that does not occur in a straight line from lesser to greater understanding, but rather occurs through a learning trajectory that includes iterative and unpredictable paths and somet...
Article
Understanding individuals’ interest, motivation, and engagement is essential to designing for meaningful learning. We typically think of engaged learners as those who have a more developed interest in content (e.g., math, robotics, swimming) and are motivated to learn. But learners who are not engaged or who are unmotivated can also be assisted to...
Article
This chapter reviews collaborative argumentation, where a community of learners works together to advance the collective state of knowledge through debate, engagement, and dialogue. Engagement in collaborative argumentation can help students learn to think critically and independently about important issues and contested values. Students must exter...
Article
Scaffolding is the support provided to students by the learning environment, which includes the teacher but also curricular design, technological tools, and classroom social practices. Scaffolding is a social encounter between a teacher and a student and can involve tutoring and mentoring, but is more effective when both teacher and learner partici...
Article
The interdisciplinary field of the learning sciences encompasses educational psychology, cognitive science, computer science, and anthropology, among other disciplines. The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences, first published in 2006, is the definitive introduction to this innovative approach to teaching, learning, and educational technolog...
Article
Effective learning requires conceptual change: learning new and correct knowledge while also overcoming and transforming previously held incorrect knowledge. These incorrect conceptions prevent deep learning unless they are transformed into correct ones. These early, common-sense, and incorrect beliefs are sometimes called naïve theories. Most of t...
Article
Learning and teaching are fundamentally cultural processes. Culture is the constellations of practices that communities have historically developed and dynamically shaped in order to accomplish the purposes they value, including the tools they use, the social networks with which they are connected, the ways they organize joint activity, and their w...
Article
This chapter begins by describing what is unique about mathematics that has made it a central topic in the learning sciences. This research has historically been interdisciplinary, drawing on psychology, mathematics research and theory, and mathematics educators. It then describes two distinct approaches – the acquisitionist and the participationis...
Article
The chapter discussed four areas where the learning sciences and research on science education have worked together synergistically. First is the shift away from viewing learning as an individual cognitive process to the idea that knowledge and learning are situated in social and cultural context. Second is the exploration of what learning outcomes...
Article
This chapter reviews research on learning in science centers, art museums, children’s museums, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, and natural and cultural history museums. These are sometimes referred to as free choice learning environments because visitors are guided by their own interests, not by a predetermined curriculum. Museum learning is pu...
Article
Design-based research (DBR) is a methodology used to study learning in environments that are designed and systematically changed by the researcher. The goal of DBR is to engage the close study of learning as it unfolds within a particular context that contains one or more theoretically inspired innovations and then to develop new theories, artifact...
Article
In recent years, the use of analytics and data mining – methodologies that extract useful information from large datasets – has become commonplace in science and business. When these methods are used in education, they are referred to as learning analytics (LA) and educational data mining (EDM). For example, adaptive learning platforms – those that...
Article
This chapter reviews the implications of learning sciences (LS) research for schools, including assessment, curriculum, teaching practice, and systemic transformation. A central theme of this review is the role of technology in education – its history, its failings and successes, and how future technology designs can be grounded in LS. The chapter...
Article
Learning sciences researchers study different types of collaboration, study it for different reasons, and use a variety of methods. Many of these methods focus on talk and interaction patterns, often using a methodology called interaction analysis that builds on linguistic anthropology and sociolinguistics. This chapter reviews four broad approache...
Article
This chapter presents an approach to the study of learning which analyzes small groups – such as a dyad, a group, a classroom – or large groups – for example, a community or a social movement. This approach is based on a situativity or sociocultural theory of cognition and learning, where learning is “situated” within complex social and material co...
Article
Augmented reality (AR) combines digitally generated 3D content with real-world objects that users are looking at. The “virtual” computer-generated 3D content is overlaid on a view of the real world through a specialized display. All augmented reality technologies involve some form of display technology that combines real and virtual content – inclu...
Article
In problem-based learning (PBL), students are presented with a driving question that is open-ended, without an obvious linear path to a solution. In PBL children solve authentic real-world problems while engaging in disciplinary-appropriate practices. Rather than memorizing information, students learn while engaged in an authentic process of explor...
Article
This chapter reviews the contribution of the learning sciences to teacher learning research, with particular consideration of how cognitive, sociocognitive, sociocultural, and improvement-focused perspectives extend teacher learning research. Learning scientists study all phases of teacher learning, including preservice education (before becoming a...
Article
Metacognition is thinking about the contents and processes of one’s own cognition. Research shows that metacognition plays important roles in most cognitive tasks, from everyday behaviors to problem-solving to expert performance. This chapter focuses on metacognition’s centrality in learning and in self-regulated learning. When learning, people mon...
Article
This chapter reviews how people learn during apprenticeships, ways of guiding beginners while they engage in authentic situated activity with more experienced people. Apprenticeship practices are found throughout the world both in cultures with formal schooling and in those without. Traditional apprenticeship practices tend to focus on physical and...
Article
A complex system is composed of many elements that interact with each other and their environment. The term emergence is used to describe how the large-scale features of the complex system arise from interactions between the components, and these system-level features are called emergent phenomena. This chapter reviews the multidisciplinary study o...
Article
This chapter describes three strategies for learning scientists to contribute to policymaking and implementation. First, educational systems design and redesign – where all aspects of school systems (curriculum, assessment, teacher professional development, school leadership, resources to coordinate and maintain instructional quality) are designed...
Article
The interdisciplinary field of the learning sciences encompasses educational psychology, cognitive science, computer science, and anthropology, among other disciplines. The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences, first published in 2006, is the definitive introduction to this innovative approach to teaching, learning, and educational technolog...
Article
This chapter reviews research showing that much learning involves physical movement and gesture – thinking and learning are embodied in the physical world and involve interactions with physical objects. Even abstract subjects such as math are better learned when the body is enlisted in the learning activity. Students often have trouble with STEM co...
Article
This chapter reviews research that examines the fundamental cognitive and social processes whereby people learn to read and write. The chapter discusses three types of literate knowledge. First, literacy can be general, such as the ability to decode words or engage in drafting and revision. Second, literacy can be task-specific: learning to read a...
Article
This chapter describes the intellectual foundations that have influenced the learning sciences (LS) from its beginning, and identifies the core elements that unify many chapters of this handbook. Its theoretical influences include pragmatism, constructivism, sociocultural theory, situated learning, and distributed cognition. The chapter organizes L...
Article
The interdisciplinary field of the learning sciences encompasses educational psychology, cognitive science, computer science, and anthropology, among other disciplines. The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences, first published in 2006, is the definitive introduction to this innovative approach to teaching, learning, and educational technolog...
Article
Material artifacts play an important role in many learning environments. Such artifacts can include sketches, manipulatives, 3D models, toys and games, or the scrap materials found in makerspaces. Some theorists have argued that material artifacts, even though they do not move or talk, should be considered to have autonomous agency and to interact...
Article
This paper reports on a study of professor talk in design studio classrooms. In design education, creative thinking is an important learning outcome, as demonstrated in previous observational studies of studio classrooms and interviews with design professors. I found that professors explicitly describe their concurrent and spontaneous thinking whil...
Article
In this article, I study role enactment and status relationships in university design studio classrooms. I analyze conversations that take place during discussions of student creative work, and I interpret them in the context of previous studies of learning, classroom discourse, and creativity. I found that professors and students jointly establish...
Article
Full-text available
There is a lack of research and practice focused on how to foster higher-order processing, such as creative performance, within higher education settings. To address this gap in research, we chose to study pedagogical practices in schools of art and design, where one of the intended learning outcomes is creativity. Based upon data gathered as part...
Chapter
Full-text available
Applying science to the current art of producing engineering and research knowledge has proven difficult, in large part because of its seeming complexity. We posit that the microscopic processes underlying research are not so complex, but instead are iterative and interacting cycles of divergent (generation of ideas) and convergent (testing and sel...
Article
Creativity research has always been linked to its social and cultural context. In this essay, I give two examples of how creativity research has changed from the 1950s to the present, and I argue that these two changes are driven by social and cultural factors. First, I discuss a transformation in U.S. society from a 1950s emphasis on conformity, t...
Chapter
Simulations are usually directed at some version of the question: What is the relationship between the individual actor and the collective community? Among social scientists, this question generally falls under the topic of emergence. Sociological theorists and philosophers of science have developed sophisticated approaches to emergence, including...
Article
This paper describes the studio model—a cultural model of teaching and learning found in U.S. professional schools of art and design. The studio model includes the pedagogical beliefs held by professors, and the pedagogical practices they use, to guide students in learning how to create. This cultural model emerged from an ethnographic study of two...
Article
It is increasingly important for educators to help students develop as creative individuals, and to prepare graduates to think creatively at work, in personal life, and in society. Many countries are working to transform schooling to lead to creative learning outcomes. And yet, very little is known about how to teach for creativity. This review was...

Citations

... In view of the poor levels of interest in learning science that students usually possess, educators and researchers have identified the teaching/learning methodology used in science education, which is usually of a traditional nature, as a determining factor (Krajcik and Blumenfeld 2006). In response, many researchers and educators have been interested in developing project-based science education (O'Neil and Polman 2004). ...
... In the "group interaction and creations" step, we asked participants to sketch their ideas. Previous studies have shown that using such materials in co-design workshops facilitates participants' creative insights and allows them to engage more actively and interestingly with the tasks [52,62,63]. During this step, the ideas presented by the more active participants (group leaders) were able to drive and activate the creativity of other group members, stimulating ideas that they would normally struggle to activate themselves (stimulating weak connections that would normally be difficult to retrieve). ...
... Students favour personal crits over other models (Gunday Gul & Afacan, 2018) and lack the motivation to study in the presence of peers (Williams, 2017), however such settings lead to unacknowledged hierarchies and competitiveness that hinder knowledgesharing among the community members (Dutton, 1987) and favour teacher-centered learning (Crysler, 1995;Newman & Vassigh, 2014;Webster, 2004Webster, , 2008. Recently studied, tutor-learner crit dialogues were found to entail tutor shifts between authority and participatory kind of interaction, considered to be difficult to apply (Sawyer, 2019), ...
... In addition, the study by Bull et al. (2017) conducted in an elementary context showed that such community interaction can promote remixing of existing ideas, which can be viewed as important for innovative practices. Although the empirical research results described above highlight how students can detach from established social roles, previous research stresses the teachers' important role in supporting innovation practices (Greene et al., 2019;Jaatinen and Lindfors, 2019;Sinervo et al., 2021). Based on a study conducted in a crafts education context, Jaatinen and Lindfors (2019) add that co-teaching practices in makerspace learning environments can support both students' and teachers' learning during innovative making activities. ...
... The contextual characteristics of the creative process refer to managerial practices aimed at team development (Amabile, 1999). Among these teams, traits and behaviors associated with dominant cultural groups are no longer considered generalizable, resulting in a broadening of focus from an elitist or culturally dominant perspective toward a greater diversity of cultural, ethnic, and social class groups (Sawyer, 2017). ...
... Each of those potential designs will require, to a greater or lesser extent, the formulation of different assumptions in relation to very different instances, such as unknown processes, unknown behaviors or initial endowments. This binomial design-assumptions sets the conditions to observe the emergence of particular sets of outcomes (Bonabeau, 2002;Norling et al., 2013;Richiardi, 2004;Sawyer, 2013). Given the complex nature of the systems we are studying, small deviations or modifications in the model specification (assumptions included) and/or initial conditions may result in great outcome variation (so-called butterfly effect). ...
... Openness to ambiguity is held as a valued part of the creative curricula that comprise design education (Orr & Shreeve, 2017;Sawyer, 2018). We (as teachers) state that we want to train empathic, yet and are often not comfortable with failure. ...
... However, these programs are criticized as just a conglomeration of techniques and advice. Sawyer (2017) conducted a meta-analysis to identify educational interventions that promote creativity. He defined common characteristics, such as the predominance of a flexible, open, and improvised pedagogy. ...