The goal of the Image Quiz Project is to increase comprehension of complex subjects through visual learning. This goal is accomplished through the development of a series of computer-based visual training programs under the working title Image Quiz. Programs in the Image Quiz family are designed to rapidly help users become visual experts. Unlike novices, visual experts are able to quickly recognize patterns. This allows chess masters to recognize meaningful chess configurations, and field biologists to identify organism from a mere glance. 

The goal of the Image Quiz Project is to increase comprehension of complex subjects through visual learning. This goal is accomplished through the development of a series of computer-based visual training programs under the working title Image Quiz. Programs in the Image Quiz family are designed to rapidly help users become visual experts. Unlike novices, visual experts are able to quickly recognize patterns. This allows chess masters to recognize meaningful chess configurations, and field biologists to identify organism from a mere glance. 


Programs in the Image Quiz family help users achieve this mastery in a fraction of the time normally required. They do this by adapting learning techniques from areas of cognitive psychology concerned with expertise. The programs are designed to teach pattern recognition, and promote holistic visual processing, the visual processing mode used by experts. They do this through a series of active learning activities. Active learning engages brain areas associated with visual expertise, while passive learning does not. The training techniques embodied in the Image Quiz family are based on research protocols that were used to define holistic processing.


In addition to recognizing patterns, visual experts are also able to segment their perceptual field in order to pick out relevant details. The ability to see relevant details is not something realized on first exposure to a new visual domain; rather it emerges from experience. The Image Quiz programs provide this experience. In the area of organism identification, the Image Quiz programs provide the perceptual basis necessary for mastering the complex terminology of classification. Rather than learning terms for characteristics for which they have no experience, users first learn to recognize the characters and can then easily learn their names.


The Image Quiz programs also help users form mental images. These images are the basis of pattern recognition, and are important stepping stones in the formation of scientific intuition. The Image Quiz programs accomplish this goal by exposing users to many examples, covering the range of variation of the relevant concepts. Exposure to variation is important because concepts encode information not only about the prototype of a category, but about its variation. Exposure to variation forms the basis of the visual concept.
Although the Image Quiz programs accomplish all of these goals, they are not intended as a replacement for traditional teaching methods. They are supplements that provide users with effective homework and make traditional teaching methods more effective.


Stand-alone versions of programs currently exist in Java[1] and C++ and are used for teaching organic chemistry functional groups, amino acid structure, plant identification, plant life cycles, and plant structure terminology. It is easy to add your own images to the software and create custom versions in other subject areas. 
Controlled experiments and pre-test, post-test protocols have both shown that the software is effective in promoting learning.[2] 

The mentors for the project are Ian Dolphin and Benito Gonzales. 


Our greatest current need is or a C++ developer who will help us release the C++ code on GitHub. Please contact Bruce Kirchoff (bruce.kirchoff[at]apereo[dot]org) if you are interested in joining the team.
-- Dr. Bruce Kirchhoff, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Biology

[1] https://github.com/Jasig/ImageQuiz
[2]Kirchoff BK, Delaney PF, Horton M, Dellinger-Johnston R. 2014. Optimizing Learning of Scientific Category Knowledge in the Classroom: The Case of Plant Identification. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 13: 425-436;   Burrows GE, Krebs GL, Kirchoff BK. 2014. ‘Visual Learning – Agricultural Plants of the Riverina’ – A New Application for Helping Veterinary Students Recognise Poisonous Plants. Bioscience Education, DOI: 10.11120/BEEJ.2014.00028
 

News

January 2017 Update on the Image Quiz Project

The Image Quiz Project was introduced last year with the aim of increasing comprehension of complex subjects through visual learning. Watch our videos!