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Bryan Matlen

Bryan Matlen is a Senior Research Associate in the Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics (STEM) program at WestEd.

Matlen explores how cognitive science-based strategies can be applied to support learning and inform instructional decision-making. He serves as:

  • Principal Investigator of the Institute of Education Sciences-funded project Exploring the Spatial Alignment Hypothesis in STEM Disciplines, which investigates optimal ways in which to design STEM visuals
  • Co-Principal Investigator of a National Science Foundation-funded project, An Instructional Complexity Approach to the Science of Learning by Analogy, which aims to explore how analogical principles interact to support learning in mathematics classrooms

In addition, Matlen is a senior methodologist for several large-scale efficacy studies at WestEd and leads both formative and summative evaluations of educational technology products.

His work is extensively published in cognitive science and educational journals and publications. Highlights include:

  • Matlen, B.J., Gentner, D. & Franconeri, S. (in press). Spatial alignment facilitates visual comparison. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 46(5), 443-457. https://doi.org/10.1037/xhp0000726
  • Davenport, J., Kao, Y., Matlen, B.J., Thomas, L., & Schneider, S. (2019). Cognition Research in Practice: Engineering and Evaluating a Middle School Math Curriculum. The Journal of Experimental Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220973.2019.1619067
  • Tipton, E. & Matlen, B.J. (2019). Improved generalization through improved recruitment: Lessons learned from a large-scale randomized trial. American Journal of Evaluation, 40(3), 414-430. https://doi.org/10.1177/1098214018810519
  • Klahr, D., Zimmerman, C., & Matlen, B.J. (2019). Improving students’ scientific thinking. To appear in J. Dunlovsky, & K. Rawson (Eds.), Cambridge University Handbook on Cognition and Education. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108235631.005
  • Kao, Y., Matlen, B.J., Tiu, M. & Li, L. (2018). Logic models as a framework for iterative user research in educational technology: Illustrative cases. In R.D., Roscoe, S.D. Craig, & S.C., Douglas (Eds.). End-User Considerations in Educational Technology Design (52 – 75). Hershey, PA: IGI Global. http://dx.doi.org/10.4018/978-1-5225-2639-1.ch003
  • Matlen, B.J., Richland, L.E., Klostermann, E.C., & Lyons, E. (2018). Impact and Prevalence of Diagrammatic Supports in Mathematics Classrooms. In International Conference on Theory and Application of Diagrams (pp. 148-163). Springer, Cham. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-91376-6_16
  • Vendetti, M., Matlen, B.J., Richland, L.E., & Bunge, S.A. (2015). Analogical reasoning in the classroom: Insights from cognitive science. Mind, Brain, and Education, 9 (2), 100 – 106. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/mbe.12080
  • Matlen, B.J., & Klahr, D. (2013). Order effects of high and low guidance on children’s acquisition of experimentation skills: Is it all in the timing? Instructional Science, 41 (3), 621 – 634. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11251-012-9248-z.

Matlen completed an undergraduate degree from the University of California Davis, a  doctorate from Carnegie Mellon University, and a postdoctoral fellowship at Northwestern University.