Dr. Yael Sidi

Discipline: Cognitive Psychology

Expert in: Metacognition

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Key words: metacognition, problem-solving, digital learning 

Please provide an overview of your current research project and the specific problem or question you are addressing
My current research focuses on exploring the interplay of metacognitive processes that govern reasoning and creativity, as well as social interactions, within the framework of online learning environments. I aim to understand how these factors intersect and influence each other to shape the online learning experience..       

Please share an example of a research finding or insight that you are particularly proud of. How does it contribute to the broader understanding of education and learning technology systems? 
An important finding from my research involves the comparison of problem-solving in digital versus traditional paper formats. The study found that, spontaneously, individuals tend to invest less effort when solving problems on a screen compared to paper. This can lead to poorer performance and less accurate self-monitoring of their learning process. However, the research also found that strategies promoting deeper cognitive processing could mitigate these issues. This insight significantly contributes to the broader understanding of education and learning technology systems. It suggests that while digital learning platforms offer numerous advantages, they may also inadvertently encourage more superficial engagement with the learning material. Taken together with findings from my other studies, it highlights the need for intentional design in digital learning environments to promote deep cognitive engagement, rather than passive consumption of information. 


Collaboration is often crucial in research. Can you describe a collaborative research project you have been a part of and how it enhanced your research outcomes?
Collaboration has indeed been vital to my research, a prime example being a project I undertook with a colleague who specializes in creativity. This partnership allowed us to pioneer a novel concept in metacognition: Originality judgments. We set out to examine whether individuals can accurately monitor the originality of their ideas, a crucial metacognitive aspect in creative pursuits. Our research suggested that while people seem aware of the Serial Order Effect, namely they recognize that ideas generated later in the ideation process tend to be more original than earlier ideas, they significantly underestimate the overall originality of their ideas. This robust under-confidence could potentially result in neglecting original ideas and in an unnecessary effort investment directed at generating more ideas than necessary. In the context of education, this finding suggests that improving students' ability to accurately assess the originality of their ideas could be an important step in fostering creative thinking and output. An additional noteworthy collaboration involved researchers specializing in Cognitive Load Theory. Together, we explored parallels between metacognitive and cognitive load subjective judgments. Our combined expertise enabled us to construct an innovative framework to examine how heuristic cues influence cognitive load monitoring. We discovered that much like metacognitive judgments, monitoring of cognitive load is affected by heuristic cues and isn't necessarily reflective of actual performance. This suggests learners might not always accurately gauge the cognitive effort they are investing, which could have important implications for their learning strategies and outcomes. This partnership underscores the value of collaboration in exploring complex educational phenomena and developing practical strategies to support effective learning.

As a researcher, how do you balance theoretical exploration with practical implementation? How do you ensure that your research findings can be translated into tangible solutions for educational settings?
Working with my colleagues and the Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Education is an essential aspect of ensuring my research can translate into tangible solutions. This partnership has facilitated a direct line from research to policy and practice. For instance, my research on teachers' social-emotional experiences during COVID-19 has afforded guidelines for integrating technologies into the educational system. In addition, incorporating the experiences and perspectives of my MA and PhD students, many of whom work in the educational system (e.g., practicing teachers) is another crucial way in which I ensure my research remains connected to the realities of the education field.