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Improving critical thinking through the cognitive loading control of working memory in introductory physics classes

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2018 ASEE Mid-Atlantic Section Spring Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

April 6, 2018

Start Date

April 6, 2018

End Date

April 7, 2018

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Vazgen Shekoyan Queensborough Community College, CUNY

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Dr. Vazgen Shekoyan is a professor of physics and his experiences include pedagogy, CubeSat, etc.

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sunil Dehipawala Queensborough Community College

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Sunil Dehipawala received his B.S. degree from University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka and Ph.D from City University of New York. Currently, he is working as a faculty member at Queensborough Community College of CUNY.

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Tak Cheung CUNY Queensborough Community College

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Tak Cheung, Ph.D., professor of physics, teaches in CUNY Queensborough Community College. He also conducts research and mentors student research projects.

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The critical thinking process in physics problem solving has been observed to relate to working memory cognitive loading for engineering and technology students. A maximum working memory loading for a student can be assessed with a design that compartmentalizes the long term memory, short term information storage memory, and short term working memory for the manipulation of information. Innovative learning examples such as kinematics with algebraic complex numbers, relative velocity matrix transformation from 1-Dim to 2-Dim with created collision parameters, and collision with apparent mass from spring energy were delivered to students while the working memory cognitive loadings were controlled. Our assessment showed that a critical thinking element is only recognizable after a student could reach the working memory capacity required in the solving of a physics problem, and that long term memory capacity for various problems could serve as indicators for engineering sub-field selections in career advisement.

Shekoyan, V., & Dehipawala, S., & Cheung, T. (2018, April), Improving critical thinking through the cognitive loading control of working memory in introductory physics classes Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Mid-Atlantic Section Spring Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--29465

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