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Dai-Trang Le - Iowa State University

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“Enhancing Student Learning Experience in Quantitative Research Methods and Introductory Statistics Courses with Data Visualization Software, Gapminder and JMP”
19 February 2013 from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
201 Thomas Bldg.
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Most college students have to take at least an introductory statistics or quantitative research methods course. Unfortunately, instead of viewing the class as important and useful, students often have negative attitudes toward it. Many consider such a course as non-engaging, boring and difficult, and drop out or feel resentful after completing the course (Mallow et al. 2010). “They tend to remember the pain more than the substance” (Peterson 1991). Research has shown that students’ attitude toward statistics is a significant determinant of their performance and a negative attitude may influence their willingness to apply their statistical knowledge (Schau, 2003). Therefore interest in improving instructional methods to improve student attitude and to boost achievement has been on the rise for decades. Many have advocated utilizing new educational technologies, especially web-based software applications to foster interest for the subject and to leverage a young generation’s native involvement in digital and web-based technology.


In this presentation, I will share a new teaching model called “Visualization First”. The model emphasizes teaching statistics concepts via visualization tools. I utilize two software applications, Gapminder and JMP, in the model. My goal in implementing this model is to enhance student engagement, increase motivation, elicit greater interaction and participation, and ultimately to boost performance. I will show how I implement and evaluate the efficacy of “Visualization First” model. I will also present preliminary results of the analysis.

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