Research interests

As a researcher and educator, I work to build connections between research and practice in the areas of learning and motivation. My research has two purposes: first, to provide concrete recommendations that will help STEM educators and students improve learning and social outcomes, and second, to create better theoretical models of complex learning systems. To advance both of these purposes, I examine how cognitive and social factors of instructional systems impact learning. In educational technology environments, I track learning as it unfolds to better understand these interactions.


How and when do cognitive science-based instructional techniques improve learning?

Cognitive and learning scientists have investigated a variety of instructional techniques to support learning, but there are still many questions regarding the cognitive processes supported by each technique and the critical factors for successfully applying them across learning contexts. I am interested in the mechanisms underlying instructional techniques such as worked examples, analogical comparison, and self-explanation, and the instructional features that promote learning.

Selected publications from this space:

Richey, J. E. & Nokes-Malach, T. J. (2015). Comparing four instructional techniques for promoting robust learning. Educational Psychology Review, 27, 181-218. doi: 10.1007/s10648-014-9268-0. For full text, download post-print.

Nokes-Malach, T. J. & Richey, J. E. (2015). Knowledge transfer. In R. Scott and S. Kosslyn (Eds.), Emerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.

Richey, J. E., Zepeda, C. D., & Nokes-Malach, T. J. (2015). Transfer effects of prompted and self-reported analogical comparison and self-explanation. In D. C. Noelle, R. Dale, A. S. Warlaumont, J. Yoshimi, T. Matlock, C. D. Jennings, & P. P Maglio (Eds.), Proceedings of the 37th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1985-1990). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Richey, J. E., Phillips, J. L., Schunn, C. D., & Schneider, W. (2014). Is the link from working memory to analogy causal? No improvement following working memory gains with training. PLOS ONE. 9(9): e106616. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0106616.

Richey, J. E. & Nokes-Malach, T. J. (2013). How much is too much? Learning and motivation effects of adding instructional explanations to worked examples. Learning and Instruction, 25, 104-124. doi: 10.1016/j.learninstruc.2012.11.006. For full text, download post-print.


How does instruction affect motivation and belonging?

Selected publications from this space:

Richey, J. E., Maddox, C. B., Harper, E., and Witte, R. H. (in preparation). A value-affirmation intervention to improve college athletes’ mental health and feelings of belonging.

Richey, J. E., Bernacki, M. L., Belenky, D. M., & Nokes-Malach, T. J. (in press). Comparing class- and task-level measures of achievement goals. The Journal of Experimental Education. doi:10.1080/00220973.2017.1386155

Bernacki, M. L., Nokes-Malach, T. J., Richey, J. E., & Belenky, D. M., (2016). Science diaries: A brief writing intervention to improve motivation to learn science. Educational Psychology, 36(1), 26-46. doi: 10.1080/01443410.2014.895293

Richey, J. E., Nokes-Malach, T. J., & *Wallace, A. (2014). Achievement goals, observed behaviors, and performance: testing a mediation model in a college classroom. In P. Bello, M. Guarini, M. McShane, & B. Scassellati (Eds.), Proceedings of the 36th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1293-1298). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.


How does collaboration change learners' cognitive and motivational processes?

Nokes-Malach, T. J., Zepeda, C. D., Richey, J. E., & Gadgil, S. (in press). Collaborative learning: The benefits and costs. In J. Dunlosky and K. Rawson (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Cognition and Education. Cambridge University Press.

Richey, J. E., Nokes-Malach, T. J., & Cohen, K. (2018). Collaboration facilitates abstract category learning. Memory and Cognition, 46(5), 685-698. doi:10.3758/s13421-018-0795-7.

Nokes-Malach, T. J., Richey, J. E., & Gadgil, S. (2015). When is it better to learn together? Insights from research on collaborative learning. Educational Psychology Review, 27(4), 645-656. doi: 10.1007/s10648-015-9312-8.


How can instructional interventions support better self-regulated learning?

Zepeda, C. D., Richey, J. E., Ronevich, P., & Nokes-Malach, T. J. (2015). Direct instruction of metacognition benefits adolescent science learning, transfer, and motivation: An in-vivo study. Journal of Educational Psychology, 107(4), 954-970. doi: 10.1037/edu0000022.