Skylight Talk: How Does Jargon Impact Student Learning?

Event Date & Time

  • September 19, 2017
    12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

Event Description

The ability to communicate is a core concept in STEM education, and includes mastery of both conceptual ideas as well as technical vocabulary.  The “jargon load” is a particularly prominent hurdle in introductory biology courses, which are notorious for the vast quantity of new terms, often more than in a high school language course. During this session I will discuss our research on how jargon can impact student learning, as well as our more recent work that has looked at characterizing student understanding of jargon in biology courses, and identifying the types of jargon and reasons why they may differently impede student learning. The findings of this research provide insights about which technical vocabulary may indeed be jargon, and possibly create a barrier to developing deeper conceptual understanding.



Lisa McDonnell

Assistant Teaching Professor at UC San Diego (Previous Fellow with UBC’s Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative).

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