Create your own conference schedule! Click here for full instructions

Abstract Detail

Systematics Section/ASPT

Kirchoff, Bruce [1], Delaney, Peter [2], Horton, Margaret [3], Delinger-Johnston, Rebecca [4].

An Experimental Test of a Visual Learning tool for Plant Identification.

Learning to identify plants is extraordinarily difficult, yet field botanists can quickly and easily make identifications at a glance. They do this without recourse to the use of traditional characters or keys. Achieving this type of recognition accuracy is a central goal of many courses in plant systematics and field botany. Teaching plant identification is difficult because of variability in the plants’ appearance, the difficult of bringing them into the classroom, and because it is often difficult to take students to the field, especially on urban campuses. To solve these problems, we developed and tested a cognitive psychology-based computer program to teach plant identification. The program incorporates presentation of plant images in a homework-based, active-learning format that was developed to stimulate expert-level visual recognition. A controlled experimental test against traditional study methods was performed in the context of a college course in plant systematics. Use of the program resulted in an 8-24% improvement in final exam scores, depending on the type of identification question used (living plants, photographs, written descriptions). The software demonstrates how the use of interleaved examples, spaced repetition, and retrieval practice (SPRINT) can be used to train identification of complex and highly variable objects.

Log in to add this item to your schedule

Related Links:
Visual Learning - Plant Identification software download

1 - University Of North Carolina At Greensboro, Department Of Biology, PO BOX 26170, GREENSBORO, NC, 27402-6170, USA, 919-304-2991
2 - University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Psychology, Greensboro, NC, 27402, USA
3 - University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Grogan College, Greensboro, NC, 27402, USA
4 - UNC Greensboro, Department Of Biology, P. O. Box 27402, Greensboro, NC, 27402, USA

active learning
student learning
learning gains
visual learning
plant identification
botany education

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 4
Location: Payette/Boise Centre
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2014
Time: 10:15 AM
Number: 4009
Abstract ID:199
Candidate for Awards:None

Copyright 2000-2013, Botanical Society of America. All rights reserved