Higher-degree research being undertaken by Polly Lai




Professor Michael Jacobson, Associate Professor Lina Markauskaite and Dr Micah Goldwater

Thesis title:

Be a nanoparticle to learn nanotechnology: a computational embodied learning experience



Project description

An important new area of science and engineering relates to nanoscience and nanotechnology, which has been defined as “the emerging capability of human beings to observe and organize matter at the atomic level". The purpose of this study is to examine a technology enabled learning approach informed by perspectives from embodied cognition aimed at enhancing students’ understanding of the difficult concepts taught in undergraduate nanotechnology curricula, such as size-dependent property. The research compares students’ learning performance, conceptual processes and use of gesture associated with two learning technologies, an experimental group using Agent-Based Models (ABMs) and a comparison group using Video-Based Visualisations, on learning nanoscience concepts.

Polly Lai is a Research Associate in ARC Discovery Project on Agent-Based Virtual Learning Environments for Understanding Science. She is part of the Learning, Cognition, and Brain Research Group, University of Sydney. Her research explores embodied cognition based approaches involving the use of computational models and visualisations to help university students learn challenging concepts in nanoscience. Polly holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering, and has five years work experience with a semiconductor manufacturing company as an instructional designer developing online courses for engineering professional development.

Professional and community roles:

  • Member, American Educational Research Association (AERA)
  • Member, European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (Earli)
  • Member, International Society of the Learning Sciences (ISLS)

Conference presentations