Department of Statistics Unitmark
Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Applying Cognitive Theory to Statistics Instruction

Publication Date

February, 1999

Publication Type

Tech Report


Marsha C. Lovett and Joel B. Greenhouse


This paper presents five principles of learning, derived from cognitive theory and supported by empirical results in cognitive psychology. To bridge the gap between theory and practice, each of these principles is transformed into a practical guideline and exemplified in a real teaching context. It is argued that this approach of putting cognitive theory into practice can offer several benefits to statistics education: a means for explaining and understanding why reform efforts work, a set of guidelines that can help instructors make well-informed design decisions when implementing these reforms, and a framework for generating new and effective instructional innovations.