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Hello, all and welcome to the final LSW newsletter of 2020! We’re so thankful that you’ve been with us this past year and we’re excited to see what 2021 has to offer in terms of customer education and workplace learning research.

This week, we’re wrapping things up with a few article reviews and a shout out to our stellar community. If you haven’t joined us on our site yet, please do!

Space Jam

In any space-related movie or show, when the astronauts have to dock their spacecraft, I hold my breath *every single time* (because that somehow helps, right?). Well, holding your breath may not help astronauts with this tricky maneuver, but what about virtual reality training? In a study reported in the journal Acta Astronautica, researchers investigated whether a desktop-based virtual reality version of the spaceship docking training program was as effective as a 2D-version. The result? Overall, this study’s findings indicate that learning with the VR version was slightly faster, but there were no long-term performance gains for the participants.

Key Finding: As reported in previous newsletters, the benefits of virtual reality training may not justify the expenses of creating a high-fidelity virtual training environment.

Read More ($): Piechowski, S. et al. (2020). Virtual reality as training aid for manual spacecraft docking. Acta Astronautica, 177, 731-736.

Cavity Sam

If you’re a fan of the 1960’s game Operation, you might enjoy this next article. (Skip it if you’re squeamish, though.) In a recent study, researchers examined the impact of leveraging gamification elements like awards, points, and competitions to see if they could help medical residents “increase efficiencies, improve communication, enhance preoperative planning, and establish team expectations within the operating room” (Hockman et al., 2020). Overall, researchers concluded that “gamification techniques with use of long cephalomedullary nails are a valid approach to the treatment of intertrochanteric femur fractures,” whatever that means. (Much to my own dismay, I’m not a medical doctor.)

Key Finding: Gamification helped residents perform surgeries faster, but there were no statistically significant impacts on the patients… I’m just hoping their noses didn’t buzz during surgery.

Read More ($): Hockman, T. et al. (2020). Effects of Gamification on Surgical Duration and Outcomes in Patients Undergoing Fixation of Intertrochanteric Hip Fractures. Journal of Surgical Education, in press.

It’s a Small World After All

Our community is growing, and if you haven’t joined us yet, you’re missing out! Juli posts job openings, community member highlights, resources, and podcasts, and I post mainly pet pics, naturally. You’ll find connections, chat options, and lots more… we hope to see you there! (Be sure to introduce yourself and use #introduction in your post!)

Stop, Collaborate and Listen... our podcast! Our first episode featured Dr. Kripa Sundar and Carl Crisostomo; our next episode, which will be released Tuesday, is all about gamification and features Drs. Lisa-Maria Putz and Horst Treblmaier. Who would you like to hear from next? Let us know at

Doctoral Position Available

Are you a doctoral student looking for a meaningful project in customer education or corporate learning? Do you need data for your dissertation or other research project? We have a part-time contract position available through Learning Science Weekly and our sponsor, Intellum -- email Dr. Julia Huprich (julia at intellum dot com) to discuss this opportunity for next semester, which also includes a stipend.

Rachel is a fifth-year doctoral candidate at Rutgers University’s Graduate School of Education with a specialization in the learning sciences. Her research interests are around the use of artificial intelligence to support learners and educators in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

Currently, she is examining how technologies are being used within classrooms that are taking place remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, she is exploring how educators use a dashboard technology remotely to monitor learners’ progress in an intelligent tutoring system. She is analyzing the relationship between the discourse that occurs and learner performance, and using these findings to iterate on the design of the technologies as part of a larger design-based research study.

Pets of Learning Science Weekly

Today we're featuring Mr. Fluffington, the dapper -- and also somewhat skeptical -- canine companion of reader Pooja P. That look he's giving us is something else! Thanks for sharing, Pooja!

Send us your pet pics at

Wondering why we’re including animal photos in a learning science newsletter? It may seem weird, we admit. But we’re banking on the baby schema effect and the “power of Kawaii.” So, send us your cute pet pics -- you’re helping us all learn better!

The LSW Crew

Learning Science Weekly is written and edited by Julia Huprich, Ph.D. Our head of growth and community is Julieta Cygiel.

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