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Crystal Carlson, Ph.D. - Saint Mary's University of Minnesota. Winona, MN, US

Crystal Carlson, Ph.D. Crystal Carlson, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Psychology | Saint Mary's University of Minnesota


Expertise: Educational psychology, educational technology, fostering critical thinking skills, first-year and first-generation students





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Areas of Expertise (4)

General Psychology

Learning and Cognition

Educational Psychology

Developmental Psychology

Education (3)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Ph.D., Educational Psychology 2015

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: M.S., Field Of Study Educational Psychology 2011

University of Chicago: B.A., Psychology 2007

Affiliations (2)

  • American Educational Research Association : Mamber
  • Association for Psychological Science : Member

Recent Event Appearances (5)

Does question type matter? Examining students’ performance and affective ratings on online homework questions

Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Education Research Association  Philadelphia, PA., 2014, April

Beyond ‘remembering’: How well do students learn new concepts presented at different levels of cognitive difficulty?

Poster presented at the annual meeting of the National Institute of the Teaching of Psychology  St. Pete’s Beach, FL., 2014, January

Learning from Mistakes: Pedagogical Approaches to Errors in First-Grade Mathematics

Poster presented at the Jean Piaget Society Conference  2013, June

The effect of gestured instruction on the learning of physical causality problems

Poster presented at the Jean Piaget Society Conference  2013, June

Beyond multiple choice questions: Using e-homework to develop cognitive thinking skills

Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science  Washington, D.C., 2013, May

Recent Articles (2)

The effect of gestured instruction on the learning of physical causality problems Gesture

Crystal Carlson, Steven A. Jacobs, Michelle Perry, and Ruth Breckinridge Church

2014 Recent research has demonstrated instruction that includes gesture can greatly impact the learning of certain mathematics tasks for children and much of this work relies on face-to-face instruction. We extend the work on this problem by asking how gesture in instruction impacts adult learning from a video production for a science concept. Borrowing from research by Perry and Elder (1997), the research presented here examines what role adding gesture to instruction plays for adults learning about gear movement. In this pretest-instruction-posttest design, 56 college-aged participants were asked to complete problems relating to gear movement. Participants viewed either an instructional video in which an instructor used speech only (control) or speech-plus-gesture (experimental) to explain a fundamental principle in the physics of gear movement. Results showed that adults who knew less actually learned more and that instruction was effective, but significantly more effective when gesture was added. These findings shed light on the role of gesture input in adult learning and carry implications for how gesture may be utilized in asynchronous instruction with adults.

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Focus Group Evidence Implications for Design and Analysis American Journal of Evaluation

Show less Katherine E. Ryan, Tysza Gandha, Michael J. Culbertson, Crystal Carlson

2014 In evaluation and applied social research, focus groups may be used to gather different kinds of evidence (e.g., opinion, tacit knowledge). In this article, we argue that making focus group design choices explicitly in relation to the type of evidence required would enhance the empirical value and rigor associated with focus group utilization. We offer a descriptive framework to highlight contrasting design characteristics and the type of evidence they generate. We present examples of focus groups from education and healthcare evaluations to illustrate the relationship between focus group evidence, design, and how focus groups are conducted. To enhance the credibility of focus group evidence and maximize potential learning from this popular qualitative data collection method, we offer a set of questions to guide evaluators reflection and decision making about focus group design and implementation.

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