S6E40: Engineering Education Research Briefs with Dr. Ruth Streveler

Event Date: October 18, 2022
Dr. Emily Dringenberg
What’s it like to be in the middle of developing a new framework for learning? This conversation between Dr. Ruth Streveler and Dr. Emily Dringenberg took place during the development of a socially-embedded framework for learning.

 [When teaching for conceptual change we have] “been focusing on … convincing people with evidence and wondering why they weren’t convinced.  …  [Instead of asking: ‘How can I convince people with evidence?’ the better] question might be, ‘How do I help people feel like they belong to this community?  How can they trust … that I’m telling them the truth?’ “  - Ruth Streveler, July 2021

An opinion piece by Dr. Ruth Streveler 
DOI: 10.18260/3-1-1153-36030


Episode Transcript

Ø  Welcome to the Engineering Education Research Briefs podcast. I am your host, Dr. Ruth Streveler, Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University. This is the sixth and final season of this podcast series. In May 2023, I will retire from Purdue University and begin a new phase of my life and career. I love hosting podcasts, and am deciding how to pursue those interests after my retirement. For updates, see my LinkedIn page. 

Research Briefs has focused on people who create new frameworks and new methods in engineering education research. In past episodes, we’ve spoken with researchers when they had already had a finished product – say, a framework or method – that they were willing to discuss. What we wanted to do with this episode, was talk about a new framework that was still “in process.” What we wanted to do in this episode, was share what is it like when one is in the middle of developing something new. 

This episode is a 2021 conversation between me, Ruth Streveler, and Dr. Emily Dringenberg, Assistant Professor of Engineering Education at the Ohio State University. You’ve heard Emily before – most recently on her fascinating episode on “smartness” from summer 2022. And the framework we are discussing is called a socially-embedded framework for learning.  At the end of this episode, I’ll provide an update on this framework.  

Emily and I both have similar interests about beliefs, and learning, and implicit learning in particular, the things that we’re not that conscious of.  

v Dr. Dringenberg:  I think that as part of the conversation I was recently listening to one of your recent podcasts with Chanel Beebe with trying to articulate and this idea of trying to articulate things that are still sort of in the works.  Because I think that, Ruth, you and I both benefit a lot from our conversations because they just help us continue our thinking, and continue to define the questions we’re asking, and the kind of behind the scenes of work of the grants we get funded, or the papers we write.  I have taken a lot from these conversations as sort of the true place in which some of these curiosities come to life.  So, yeah, we’ll see where this conversation takes us.

Ø  One of the things too, as you were talking, Emily, I was thinking about is that one of the things that’s really wonderful about the conversations you and I have is that we both really trust each other not to go, “What the hell are you thinking?  How come you aren’t as articulate?  What do you mean, you don’t have that figured out yet?”  So, we’re safe with sharing that with each other.  And the thing that is so much more intimidating about this particular conversation is that we’re going to put it out there for other people to hear and so when we were preparing for this, I was telling you, “Oh, this is really scary.”  And you were saying, “Why should you be scared, you’re a full professor?”  Well, ‘cause it’s scary, what will people think?

And I think that’s one of the reasons a lot of these kinds of conversations aren’t shared more regularly, because it makes someone really vulnerable.  But if we don’t ever share them people won’t have a sense of what that ‘messy middle’ looks like.  They only see the end product.  And so, you know, we have this great new idea, that’s always like this huge dopamine hit and it’s really exciting.  And then there’s the end product which might not happen for years.  There are people who have spent 10 years or more working on that idea.  I was just talking with Micki Chi lately and I know that she first started writing about the idea of ontologies in 1992.  So, that’s almost 30 years ago.  

But, you know, we see these end ideas, like we see Micki Chi writes these amazing papers that are 60 pages long and win awards and all of that and that’s what we see.  And then we experience that wonderful hit of dopamine you get when you first get the idea but what’s happening in those 30 years that she’s developing stuff people don’t see that.  

v Mm-hmm, yeah, absolutely.  And I remember you were on my committee when I was a student at Purdue, and I remember I would be, “I don’t know what I’m doing,” and you said, “Look at the sign that you had in your office that said something about ‘If we knew what we were doing it wouldn’t be called research.’ ”  Well, I say that to my students too now and to myself.  And I think it was my first year at Ohio State four years that you came to campus, and we were talking about thinking fast and slow, we were talking about fMRIs, and so even just some of these ideas are years in the making just to get to the point that we have enough of a solid idea to try to talk about it ((Ruth:  Right, right.)) let alone to develop a proposal.  ((Ruth:  Yeah.))

So, thanks for being willing to do this.  Since this is kind of one of your big ideas that we’re going to kind of explore today.  Do you want to give us a highlight of what that idea is and then we’ll talk about how you’re making sense of it?

Ø  Sure.  So, I was on sabbatical in the fall of 2020 and my idea was to relook at learning.  And just before we started this conversation, I was just paging through a notebook that I call my “Academic Notebook,” and I saw that in about September 2019 my department head had just given me the thumbs up for starting the application process for sabbatical in the fall of 2020.  So, I needed to begin writing kind of a little justification of what I was going to do.  And my thought at that point was that I was going to study how implicit learning works in conceptual change and how you might measure it.  

So, that’s what I thought I was going to do.  I wanted to switch from this cognitive model of conceptual change where you reason your way through why one theory is a better explanation of a phenomenon than another theory and to help people release their hold on the way they’ve been looking at things and look at something in a different way.  ((Emily:  Mm-hmm))  So, all of the theories up until that point had been, you know, through reason you just show evidence, evidence, evidence, and convince people that they’re wrong and you’re right, and that’s the magic wand. 

But, as you were mentioning the book, “Thinking Fast and Slow,” with Daniel Kahneman, that talks a lot about implicit learning, and I’ve been very engaged with that actually since my first sabbatical.  And so, I thought, “Yes, that’s what I’m going to bring into this.”  So, I was going to go from just looking at the head kind of to looking at the whole body.  And I started reading things about embodied learning particularly starting out with the book called, “The Embodied Mind,” that has just kind of gone through its  30th anniversary edition.  It came out in the early 90s, maybe 1991.  

And so, I started reading about that and I had this little graphic of going from the head to the whole body and beginning to look at that.  And I was relieved to find that there was a methodology called phenomenology, that went along with that.  And that had already been explained through a philosophical tradition which I guess methodologies have to have a philosophical tradition behind them.  So, I thought, “Cool, I don’t have to create this; there’s this coherence.”  So, I started racking up the books about phenomenology and that’s where I was going to go.

And then I thought, “I really should also read again, ‘Thinking Fast and Slow,’” and in a way to kind of get me charged up for that, or in conjunction with that, I don’t remember the flow of that now, I was listening to an old episode of one of your and my favorite podcasts called, “The Hidden Brain,” with Shankar Vedantam and he had Daniel Kahneman as one his guests.  And they were talking about climate change at the time.  And Shankar was asking, “Danny,” as everybody apparently calls Kahneman, “How come evidence isn’t working to help convince people that climate change is happening?”  And Kahneman said that evidence isn’t that important, that what is important is that we believe the people we love and trust.  And that hit me like a ton of bricks.  It’s like, “Trust?  Wow, trust is important.  It’s not logic, it’s trust.”  

And so, I began to develop this idea that I was at first calling conceptual trust.  And I remember, I think it was in September, 2020, talking with a group of my conceptual change buddies like Shane Brown, and Devlin Monfort, and Holly Matusovich, and Geoffrey Herman, and just saying, “Conceptual trust this is a thing,” and it kind of resonated with them.  And we started talking a bit about trust and how do you develop trust.  And Geoffrey was telling me about trust in business and some people that were talking about that, and I was going to follow up with that.

So, with the idea of trust then that expanded the idea both to emotion and other people.  And I really didn’t see how that was going to be; I didn’t know how that was going to happen because that whole idea of other people, the social aspects of it, I didn’t see how it really fit yet.  

And you and I have been having a conversation for a while about your idea of beliefs and one question we asked ourselves maybe a couple of years ago already, “Why our beliefs so angry?”  And why is it when we have beliefs and we come upon who has an opposing belief we get so riled up about it?  

Just the other day I was in the supermarket, and I saw this guy with this t-shirt about the second amendment and homeland security, and I just started developing these thoughts about who this guy was.  And did I want to go find his car and ram it with my car?  Or sometimes I’ll see a bumper sticker that I don’t like, and I have this sense that I’m going to ram that car with my car.  And it’s like why is that?  And you and I have been reading then about group membership and how we have such allegiance to our groups and when we find a person from another group we just often have this strong reaction.

So, another area kind of came into this equation, another strand of thought, and I was talking to my buddy, Karl Smith??, and I don’t even remember exactly what we were talking about but, Karl always reads everything and has great ideas about what to read next, and he was talking about the evolutionary biologist, E. O. Wilson.  And while looking up the book that Karl was talking to me about, I found another recent book of his that talked about the deep origin of society.  The book is entitled, “Genesis:  The Deep Origin of Society.”  And Wilson spoke about this idea of natural selection, which as a biologist and a person who was studying evolutionary biology in my master’s degree at the Ohio State University where you’re sitting right now.  E. O. Wilson was really an important person at that particular time when I was studying this in the 70s.  So, he’s a person I trust, right?  And what he was saying was that natural selection doesn’t really work on the unit of a family, or your kin, which is what he was saying in the 70s, they call it kin selection, but that it’s actually at the level of the group.  And it is groups that compete with each other not really individuals.  Groups of humans are competing with each other to see who is most fit in natural selection terms.  And often groups and your relatives are the same people in early clans; usually the group you were with were also people you were related to.  But he had other arguments to say that it wasn’t always the case.

And so, I began to think, my goodness, groups are so important in natural selection, no wonder we’re so aligned and have such allegiance to our group.  And if we are kind of programmed to compete against other groups, no wonder when we encounter other groups, we are so strong in our reaction towards them.  

There was another reading I had, not from Wilson, but I think he would agree with this statement that natural selection influences us to strongly cooperate with our own group and compete against other groups.  So, there’s this huge group dynamic happening.

v    Yeah, so you have at the individual level you’re meant to go from mind to body, but then the common trust is like, “Hold on, it’s not just one body, there’s other bodies and minds.”  But then how does that relate to these biological theories of groups? 

Ø  Yes, how does that?  Each group has their sets of norms and beliefs.  And they see something as being true; they have their own reality you might say.  And one thing that popped up for me as I was beginning to think about how to explain this, there’s a graphic that is often used to explain the theory called, “How People Learn.”  And in it there’s a kind of a circle that is considered the community-centeredness, and then there’s these three intersecting circles that talk about knowledge-centered, assessment-centered, and learner-centered.

And as I was looking at that model, I thought well that model holds if you’re all in the same community and if the community you’re in agrees that certain things are knowledge, and that the learner behaves a particular way, and that certain things are valued.  But that each community has their own circle and looks at knowledge, and values, and behavior in different ways; they have their different norms about what is acceptable and they really police those norms.  

So, what happens if you have these groups that have these different views of knowledge?  And the thing that hit me was, when we ask people to change their conceptions about a phenomenon, are we asking them to join a different community?  Are we saying, “You used to believe X about how things worked, but no now, we want you to believe us and when I tell you this is how it works, you should believe me and be convinced”?  And that just spurred this explosion of different ideas about the importance of belonging, about power structures between groups, ((Emily:  Yes)) about how people navigate through different groups or not.  Which groups they have access to and which groups they don’t?  How you view newcomers to a group, just this whole realm of things.  

And it made me think that all of that is really an important part of conceptual change and all we had ever been focusing on is convincing people with evidence and wondering why they weren’t convinced.  And thinking truthfully that obviously they are some kind of strange person, or an idiot, or why can’t they see this?  Can’t they see that this is the way it is.  And we pound our heads against the wall figuring out how to convince people.  When the question might be, “How do I help people feel like they belong to this community?  How can they trust me that I’m telling them the truth?”  

And I remembered back to some discussions I had back in spring of 2020 with a class on neuroscience that I was teaching at the time, and there were just a few students and we had great conversations.  And I think we all did trust each other.  And I proposed some kind of I think wild ideas to them, and they immediately accepted it.  And I thought back to it and it was like, “Was I particularly convincing with my argument?”  I don’t think as this conversation is showing I’m not that skilled at having these fabulous logical arguments that people can follow.  But I think what was really happening was not that my evidence was so great but that the students trusted me and so they were like, “Yeah, that makes sense.”  

So, it has made me think about myself differently as a teacher, that the first thing I should do is be trustworthy.  And then, how do you become trustworthy?  Part of it is your group membership.  Students might trust you because you’re a professor and you’re their teacher.  But also, I think people trust you if they feel you will honor them and protect them and care for them.  And that’s a different way than we often think about teaching, or at least some people think about teaching.  ((Emily:  Mm-hmm)) It’s different than the way I’ve thought about teaching; not that I didn’t care for my students, not that I don’t think that I showed them that I cared, but I didn’t realize the primacy of it ((Emily:  Mm-hmm)) the way I do now.  

v Yeah, I’m wondering about does it start to get a little creepy?  Like it starts to sound almost like brainwashing.  Do you know what I mean?  ((Ruth:  Yes)) I will get you to trust me and then I will get you to believe what I believe.  Like how does taking it in that direction, do you have thoughts on that?  

Ø  Well, that’s exactly what con people do.  They take advantage of the fact that they can appear trustworthy.  

There was just a podcast about the assassination of the president of Haiti.  And there was speculation that there’s a Haitian American who possibly spurred this.  And that person got other people of very high importance to buy in to it.  And one of the reporters that was questioning this other person said, “How did he do that?”  And finally, the person the reporter was interviewing just said, “I think he’s just a con man and I’m really embarrassed I fell for it.”  

So, yes, it can be used to manipulate and certainly people we would call demagogues do that consciously.  It might be happening as we speak.  So, do we need to be demagogues?  I would hope not.

v Well, I also really like a lot of our conversations.  Like as you’ve expanded into your model, and you mentioned this earlier like all of this brings to the front power and privilege and who is assumed trustworthy?  Like as white people, as people with Ph.D. behind our names, those sorts of things, and again this sort of especially in engineering idea that it’s somehow apolitical, and it’s just knowledge, and it’s scientific, and it’s objective, I think the ideas you’re bringing forward helped me to see that it just gets harder and harder to see.  Maybe I just believe you, Ruth, because I trust you.  But your model helps to bring in how that’s just such a part of knowledge.  

We’ve even said like should we just say that knowledge equals belief?  ((Ruth:  Right)) And I think we both are like, “Ooh, there might be a lot of resistance in a scientific community that no, no, knowledge is facts and belief is like your religion or your whatever,” versus our belief and our trust in science.  ((Ruth:  Right)) I think this blurs those lines and also just explodes the complexity ((Ruth:  Yes)) is what makes it so hard to neatly write about or neatly theorize.  ((Ruth:  Yes, yes, yes)) 

Ø  The thought that ‘science is a culture that I believe’ versus ‘science is the truth’ is a very unsettling thing.  I’m unsettled by it.  And even, I notice as I’ve been explaining this, I really trust Daniel Kahneman and I tell everybody, “Nobel-prize-winning, Daniel Kahneman…” because obviously if he was smart enough to win a Nobel prize he’s right.  

And that was one of the things too about listening to the podcast and hearing him say that was like, “Whoa, I really trust him.”  That’s one of the reasons that knocked me off my feet.  

And then, the other big person I’m bringing in, E. O. Wilson, who coming back full circle from when I was getting my master’s degree over 40 years ago.  It’s like, “Oh, well, you know, he’s the top person when it comes to evolutionary biology.  So, obviously, if he’s saying it’s group selection, we are now in some ways acted upon by natural selection to have such allegiance to our groups and such suspicion of other groups.  And the moment anything starts to go wrong we start to blame other groups for even random things or things that those groups had nothing to do with.  And history is rife with those examples.  Again, not only in the past but in our present as well.  ((Emily:  Right))

I remember one of my Ph.D. advisees was telling me that when you’re talking about “privilege,” that in the country that she was from you would never ever deviate from the sequence that a textbook was written in.  That if you were teaching from a particular textbook you would teach in the order of the chapters, you would never skip chapters, you wouldn’t disagree, and “Well, how were you to know better than the author of the textbook?”  And the textbook authors were usually either British or American.  And this country she was from had been colonized up until the 20th century.  And that was still very much there. 

And I notice as I’ve traveled places internationally, there are places that still want a person to come in from the U.S. or England.  “Oh, you’re from the U.S.?  Oh, you’re from Purdue.  Oh, you’re special and you must be our keynote speaker.”  Which is kind of nice I guess ((Ruth:  Chuckle)) if you’re an American professor, you get asked to go places and speak.  But then it’s uncomfortable as well.  ((Emily:  Mm-hmm)) 

So, I’m calling the model right now, a “Socially Embedded Learning Framework,” or SELF.  I used to call it a “Socially Embedded Framework for Learning,” or SEFL and I’m like why am I doing it that way? that’s not a word!  ((Emily:  Yeah))

v I was intrigued that you said, “How I’ve evolved in what I’m thinking about to make what I know to be true and how I want to include these social dynamics in group/out group,” you said, “This is what I think it means for my teaching, so I have to earn trust if I want to do anything.  It’s not actually about presenting a coherent argument or evidence.”  What do you think about more broadly whether it’s engineering education or higher education?  How would it look different if instead of this idea of in people’s brains they’re rationally learning and committing to ideas to we’re all navigating these complex social dynamics, as one way to articulate your model?  What ideas do you have about how things would look differently if this was our framework?

Ø  So, a couple of examples I have thought about are what I think is the usual kind of outreach and what I see again and again in engineering as students in my class are designing other courses.  And if they’re designing outreach they have a very similar structure usually of you want to outreach to a community so you go and you tell them about the design process, and you tell them about how fun engineering is, and you may tell them about the financial security that an engineering career can bring you.  But the general thrust is “We’re really cool! Don’t you want to be like us?”  

And I’m contrasting this with a couple of examples I know from two other podcasts guests.  One was Shawn Jordan at Arizona State who now works with Native American communities, and he was looking at using a Native American structure for storytelling to talk about engineering.  So, he would have Native American engineers come and talk to indigenous middle school students and the students then would not just listen to the story and say, “Oh, I want to be like person X, I want to be like Henry,” or whatever.  They would incorporate themselves into the story and tell the story of the person incorporating their own story into it and fusing the two.  And they were beginning to see themselves then, this is my hypothesis, see themselves as this person.  So, it’s no longer, “I want to be like this person,” but “I amthis person.”  So, if you think of group membership it’s not saying, “Don’t you want to join the group of engineers?” but, “You are in this group, already.”  

Another example comes from James Holly who has been a podcast guest a couple of times.  James has worked particularly with Black urban boys.  And worked with them on how basketball actually exemplifies engineering thinking.  So, he’s taking this thing, basketball, which often these students really, really like, maybe even are obsessed by and saying, “Wow, this is engineering.”  So, again, this thing that you are already interested in, that you love is actually engineering.  You don’t have to become something; you already are something.  

v Hmm.  I’ve never heard you describe it in that way, and it’s reminding me of culturally relevant pedagogy.  

Ø  Absolutely, yes, yes, mm-hmm.  

This is one of my own teaching practices differently.  Students really do often say that this different model of looking at curriculum design that I teach that it really stays with them and impacts them.  ((Emily:  Mm-hmm)) And one of the reasons I think that is so is that students are asked to choose a course to redesign that is first of all their own choosing, but then I also say, “Please have it be something you’re really interested in that you think will be useful for you to do.”  And so, they get to choose something that’s really close to their hearts, and they then take this new different way of looking at curriculum design and apply it to this thing that is close to their hearts.  And as I am giving them feedback on it, I of course am honest with them when they are doing something that is not aligned with the model, but also, I really validate their idea.  And I’ve come to think that that might be a very critical piece in why that model stays with them for so long and really impacts them.  And they often say that it was pleasurable and a really good class or a really useful class.  I think that’s an important thing.

v Yeah, in this moment it resonates with me as I continue to participate in engineering education, and I know you going all the way back with your RREE, right?  It’s the idea of who is in the group and who is not.  And if you’re a Capstone educator and you want surveys from students in your class, it’s not really research…I mean it’s that same sort of dynamic, right?  ((Ruth:  Right)) I know other groups, and this idea that you’ve got to meet people where they are and this sort of thing, but I think to bring it back I can just see so many examples of how we do that, right?  ((Ruth:  Right)) That all of the things are actually us positioning ((Ruth:  Yes)) your higher group; it’s never just one group and the other group, it’s which group has more status, right?  ((Ruth:  Yes))  Engineers get a lot of status and researchers and faculty get a lot of status.  So, yeah, I just see that come up over and over.  Even as I think about my own life and the ways in which I’ve been so guilty of perpetuating that, that what counts is knowledge.  I mean I do it now.  I teach a research design class and it’s the same kind of thing.  

I’m finding perhaps these things are paradoxical; it’s both.  ((Ruth:  Right)) There is more alignment and there’s also value in your idea and how you do both.  It’s no longer the objective truth that I convince you of, but it’s us in a social setting navigating what counts.  ((Ruth:  Right, right.))

So, Ruth, you’re giving me a lot of great ideas.  Even though we’ve been talking about this for years there’s always more things to explore.  So, thinking about this as sort of a work in progress, a journey you’ve been on to revise and resituate your model, do you have some takeaways or advice, this is how you often end your podcasts for listeners, this process or the messiness, or what would you offer as some of the takeaways from this journey you’ve been on?

Ø  One thing that I know that has really been useful is talking to people and forcing myself to put words onto what my thoughts are.  Also making graphics has been really useful.  And then, I have this linear idea of how I was going to read and what I was going to look at when I was starting my sabbatical, and then these other kinds of flickers of intuition, my ADD-ness, I guess kind of kept popping in.  And as I look back if I had not allowed myself to take those little side trips to explore here and there with something that didn’t seem like it had much connection, I would not have ended up where I ended up.  So, one takeaway and advice is to allow yourself to pursue your interests.  And you do have to have ways to pull yourself back and talking to people can do that, making a graphic can do that.  Both are a way of kind of saying, how do these different threads start to integrate with each other.  

Those would be some takeaways I have as I look back at this process of the last couple of years of beginning to form this.  

v Yeah, I know you mentioned the discomfort as those things are coming together.  So, thank you for being willing to share even though it feels like it’s not the perfect description yet.

So, being a little selfish, I have one more question I’d like to ask.  My research group is focused on studying beliefs and we still grapple regularly with these big questions of why?  What is the belief?  Where do beliefs exist?  How do we measure a belief?  Where did it come from?  These very big foundational questions you would think you would need to know to study these things.  And I’m just six years out of my Ph.D., so I feel like I’m still laying the groundwork.  I’m curious for someone like you closer to the end of your career, how does it feel to still have these big aha’s, or reframing as a part of being a researcher?

Ø  One thing that I will bring to mind is I think the last time you and I talked I was telling you how scared I was about this, about the thought of having a podcast of sharing this.  And you said, “Well if you can’t say it, and if you can’t say it now, who can say it and when could they say it?”  And that keeps popping through my head.  Like if I can’t say this now when will I ever be able to say it?  And that has given me courage to stumble my way through things.  

But it’s still stumbling, and it’s still scary, and it’s still things that I don’t want to share with a wider world and have everybody see how badly I stumble.  Again, perhaps going back to this idea of power and privilege, we all want to keep the illusions that we have it all together there even though we know that that’s not the case.  

And I think for myself there’s nothing I love more than a good idea.  So, when I get like these aha kinds of moments it really is a huge dopamine rush; I’m just like flying, I’m in the best mood ever.  And then comes the, “What is this really?”  And that is really uncomfortable.  And the more I see an idea that I have that I think goes against the accepted way of looking at things like there’s really not much difference between knowledge and belief, for example.  I know you and I both have been kind of using that as kind of the assumption that we’re now making.  When you think something like that it’s like you feel like you’re the smartest person in the world for going against the grain but you also realize that you’re going against the grain and there’s something in the air about the group norm that is always there with you that makes it uncomfortable.

So, there’s this dueling feeling of this is so cool I can’t even stand how cool this is and people aren’t going to like this.  I guess it depends on which of those feelings has predominance in your body at any particular time, of like, “Wow!  This is really cool.  I guess I’ll do this!” to, “Oh, I think I just want to shut up.”  

And also, for people like yourself who are as like you said six years out, you might not have seen many examples of what the middle looks like or feels like.  And so, you just see the end product of people do the TED Talk and it sounds so fabulous.  Or they’ve got the best seller book like Gladwell or “Thinking Fast and Slow,” and Kahneman has the Nobel prize now.  So, you see the end and you might have the sense of how exciting the beginning is, but that middle isn’t there.  And so, you think there is something wrong with you if you are stumbling and you have doubts.  

This is the time of year where students are doing their preliminary exams and they’re looking at their dissertation proposals.  And as I’m going through this with students, I can see they’re like, “Is this right?  Is this right?  Is this right?  Is this okay?”  You want to get it right and you don’t know what’s right at this point; it’s all being formed.  It’s an uncomfortable place to be.

But as researchers we’re probably saying that that dopamine hit of having a new idea and figuring something out is strong in us or we wouldn’t be doing this.  So, we’re still propelled but we still have those doubts when we’re in the middle of the process.  

v Mm-hmm.  Awesome.  Well, I know I still do look forward to seeing your opinion piece when it comes out about your model and it is that final thing.  And thanks for sharing some of those initial aha moments as well as sort of the messy middle states of still trying to iron things out.  It’s always a pleasure.

Ø  Well Emily, thank you.  You’re a very important colleague to me because you are safe.  And I know I can trust you.  So, thank you for being a trustworthy and wise and knowledgeable person. 

v We all need those friendships, don’t we?  

Ø  We do.  

As we said at the beginning of this episode, this conversation took place in 2021. After more thought, and a couple of rounds of review and revision, an Opinion piece about this framework, entitled lessons from the misinformation age: proposing a socially-embedded approach to fostering conceptual change. has been published in Advances in Engineering Education, volume 10, issue 3.  

Research Briefs is produced by the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. Original theme music is composed and performed by Patrick Voigt.