Research & Evaluation

What We Learned: Learning Research

The cognitive learning research assesses and characterizes people's beliefs, attitudes, experiences, and reasoning about viruses through a semi-structured interview. The aim is to capture people's mental models of the invisible, microbiological processes that underlie viral infection, replication, transmission, and other phenomena. Groups of high school students, teachers, and professional virologists participated in the learning research, permitting us to examine differences in the breadth and depth of knowledge across levels of expertise. By shedding light on people's virology-related mental models, this learning research will provide a basis to understand how different educational materials and experiences, such as participation in the Omaha Science Media Project, influence learners' beliefs, attitudes, and reasoning about viruses.

OSMP Learning Research Plan


Reports, Publications, Presentations

Jee, B. D., Uttal, D. H., Crouch, C., Spiegel, A., & Diamond, J. (2010). Mental models of virology in experts and novices. Paper presented at the 32nd Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Portland, OR. Abstract

Jee, B. D., Uttal, D. H., Spiegel, A., & Diamond, J. (2010, May). Understanding the microbiological world: People's beliefs and reasoning about viruses. Paper to be presented at Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association. Chicago, IL. Abstract

Matuk, C.F., Diamond, J., & Uttal, D.H. (2009). Heroes, villains and viruses: How graphic narratives teach science. Paper presented at the International Visual Literacy Association (IVLA2009). Chicago, IL. October 6-9, 2009. Abstract

Jee, B.D., Uttal, D.H., Spiegel, A., & Diamond, J. (2009) Students and Teachers' Mental Models of Viruses. Society for Research in Child Development, San Antonio, TX. Poster