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Developing and testing an intervention for note-taking and drawing with undergraduate chemistry students

Dr. Jennifer Cromley, UIUC, PI 



In science education, reading comprehension of scientific materials is crucial for STEM students to be successful. Education researchers have investigated how students can comprehend scientific text when they use various learning strategies. One such strategy, note-taking, has been explored in previous research. For example, note-taking has a positive effect on comprehension for students with lower prior knowledge (Wang et al., 2017). Moreover, since scientific reading materials are usually illustrated, students are exposed to visual and textual sources simultaneously. Because of this, note-taking can include both written notes and drawn notes (i.e.,

drawing-to-learn as a learning strategy). Educational researchers have found that this second strategy, drawingto-learn, can help students learn from materials that include multiple representations (Cromley et al., 2019). Prompting students to include diagrams in their notes--i.e., drawing-to-learn--had a larger effect on reading comprehension than prompting only written notes (Chen et al., 2019). Despite the value of drawing-to-learn, students can have low motivation for making drawings (e.g., lack self-efficacy for drawing), and this might affect the benefits of an intervention in drawing-to-learn. Therefore, we propose an intervention on note-taking with or

without drawing to learn, compared to a no-notes control group. Undergraduate chemistry students will be randomly assigned to experimental group (prompt note-taking vs. prompt note taking taking with drawing) or a no-treatment control group. Students will complete pretests on their factual knowledge about the content of the reading passages as well as an inferential measure, and analogous factual and inferential post-tests. Their during-learning note-taking and drawings (in that condition) will also be scored and related to posttest comprehension.

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