Can non-verbal communication impact group work success in STEM?
Active, collaborative learning approaches are widely seen as effective ways for students to learn undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). However, learning outcomes are highly contingent on the quality of the interactional processes in which students engage. There is a great deal of research on successful verbal communicational practices in group work, but little is known about how nonverbal communicational practices like gesture contribute to successful collaboration. Previous research shows that when groups are responsive to, take up, and discuss one another’s spoken ideas, they are more successful at collaborative problem solving in STEM. In this project, researchers will investigate (1) how students are responsive to, take up, exchange, or interact with each other’s gestures while working together, and (2) how this behavior shapes or constrains groups’ problem solving and sense making in introductory undergraduate physics.
See also our UBNow article: https://www.buffalo.edu/ubnow/stories/2022/07/nonverbal-gestures-stem.html and the EISLab webpage: https://ubwp.buffalo.edu/steminteractionlab/ for more information.
This project will improve our understanding of the role nonverbal communication plays in collaborative learning, and it will contribute to the development of broader, more expansive, and inclusive definitions of the competencies and practices involved in learning and doing STEM.
There will be opportunities for the undergraduate researcher to present research findings in the form of a poster or presentation at an education research conference (with travel funding), as well as opportunities to co-author education research publications.
|Length of commitment||About a semester; 3-5 months|
|Start time||Fall (August/September)|
|In-person, remote, or hybrid?||In-person|
|Level of collaboration||Small group project (2-3 students) |
|Benefits||Academic credit |
|Who is eligible|| |
Sophomores, juniors and seniors who have taken an introductory physics course (HS or college); have interest in STEM education, interest in nonverbal communication, attention to detail, self-directed learner.
Learning and Instruction
Phone: (716) 645-2455
Once you begin the digital badge series, you will have access to all the necessary activities and instructions. Your mentor has indicated they would like you to also complete the specific preparation activities below. Please reference this when you get to Step 2 of the Preparation Phase.
Research Compliance Training (see https://www.buffalo.edu/research/research-services/training/compliance-training.html):
Required CITI courses are (1) the Human Research Curriculum, Social & Behavioral Research Investigators Basic Course and (2) the Social and Behavioral Responsible Conduct of Research Basic Course.
Education, psychology, physics, communication, STEM education, engineering education, science education, gesture, collaboration, group work, social interaction, diversity, learning