About Associate Professor Paul Ginns

My research aims to understand how the process of learning can be enhanced, whether that learning happens over minutes or years.

Paul is an active educational researcher, and has worked independently and in collaboration with both Australian and international colleagues on a wide variety of educational research projects.

Paul uses numerous research methodologies (for example, experimental and survey-based research) and analytic methods, including general linear models, exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis, structural modelling and meta-analysis. His research has two broad foci:

  • How the university student experience might be improved through institutionally-aligned, student-focused teaching evaluation systems.
  • Applying the principles of cognitive science to instructional design.
In his research into the university experience, Paul has sought to understand the systemic relations between university students’ approaches to and engagement in learning; the quality of the learning environment; and student learning outcomes, with the ultimate goal of improving all parts of this teaching and learning system. His success in this field led him to be commissioned to write for the national project, “Rewarding and recognising quality teaching and learning in higher education”, funded by the Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (now the Australian Learning and Teaching Council). The second focus of Paul’s draws on theories of the human cognitive architecture – consisting of a limited working memory that can be circumvented for learning and problem-solving by the long-term memory store – to maximise the effectiveness and efficiency of learning by managing the cognitive load. In this field, Paul has published both original research and meta-analytic reviews of specific instructional design effects.

Keywords: Learning sciences, psyschology of education, assessment and evaluation, learning technologies and new media, learning, cognition and motivation
View Paul's profile page here

Selected publications

  • Park, B., Korbach, A., Ginns, P., Brunken, R. (2020). Embodied cognition?: Effects of pointing and tracing gestures on learning performance, eye movement and cognitive load. In S. Tindall-Ford, S. Agostinho & J. Sweller (Eds.), Advances in cognitive load theory: Rethinking teaching, (pp. 142-154). London: Routledge.
  • Ginns, P., Kydd, A. (2020). Learning human physiology by pointing and tracing: A cognitive load approach. In S. Tindall-Ford, S. Agostinho & J. Sweller (Eds.), Advances in cognitive load theory: Rethinking teaching, (pp. 119-129). London: Routledge.
  • Lin, L., Ginns, P., Wang, T., Zhang, P. (2020). Using a pedagogical agent to deliver conversational style instruction: What benefits can you obtain? Computers & Education, 143, 1-11. [More Information]
  • Ginns, P., Kim, T., Zervos, E. (2019). Chewing gum while studying: Effects on alertness and test performance. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 33(2), 214-224. [More Information]
  • Castro-Alonso, J., Paas, F., Ginns, P. (2019). Embodied cognition, science education, and visuospatial processing. In J. C. Castro-Alonso (Eds.), Visuospatial processing for education in health and natural sciences, (pp. 175-205). Switzerland: Springer. [More Information]
  • Korbach, A., Ginns, P., Brunken, R., Park, B. (2019). Should learners use their hands for learning? Results from an eye-tracking study. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, Online first. [More Information]
  • Tang, M., Ginns, P., Jacobson, M. (2019). Tracing enhances recall and transfer of knowledge of the water cycle. Educational Psychology Review, 31(2), 439-455. [More Information]