Bridging social, cognitive, and educational psychology fields, Dr. Yan's research explores how we can empower people to become motivated and effectively self-regulated learners. Learners must have the right mindset-they must be motivated and interpret the experience of difficulty in productive ways-but they also have to know effective strategies for learning. Rather than "making learning easy", what research from cognitive psychology demonstrates is that the effective learning strategies that make learning stick are often the ones that introduce difficulties (e.g., interleaving, retrieval practice, pre-testing). Dr. Yan is presently focused on examining the mechanisms underlying these 'desirably difficult' strategies and the motivational mindsets that encourage learners to not just study harder, but to study smarter.
- Faculty Profile