Talk:In vivo experiment

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Anything from this Whitehurst quote worth adding?

Russ Whitehurst on an APS Observer web page said: "One explanation for the limited use of instructional practices based on cognitive science rests in the differences between classrooms and laboratories. In contrast to learning in laboratory settings, learning in classrooms typically involves content of greater complexity and scope, delivered and tested over much longer periods of time, with much greater variability in delivery, and with far more distraction and competition for student time and effort. Before principles of learning from cognitive science can be applied to classroom instruction, we need to understand if the principles generalize beyond well controlled laboratory settings to the complex cognitive and social conditions of the classroom."

Should the idea be called "in situ" rather than "in vivo"?

Here's an email dialog, started by Jacqueline Bourdeau, around the question of whether we should use "in situ experiment" rather than "in vivo experiment". Perhaps some of this dialog should get into the article ...

Hi Jacqueline,

Thanks for your great question! Indeed there is possibility for confusion. It appears, though, that all the definitions of /in vivo/ that people found are inclusive of field trials and, while they allow for it, they don't require dissection of students! :)

1) The /in vivo/ definition Vincent found explicitly mentions "clinical trials" -- which are field-based randomized controlled experiments in medicine. "Animal testing <> and clinical trials <> are two forms of /in vivo/ research."

2) The /in vivo/ definition David found explicitly includes "environment": "/in vivo/ experimentation allowed testing to occur in the originate organism or environment."

3) And even your definition includes "natural setting": "in vivo = (of a biological process) occurring or made to occur within a living organism or natural setting."

Our definition of /in vivo/ experimentation is "principle-testing experiments run in the context of academic courses". The "field" "environment" or "natural setting" is the place in which course work is done, whether that is the classroom, computer lab, study hall, dorm room, home, etc.

I can see an argument for "in situ experiment" being a good alternative name, but it doesn't seem as though "in vivo" is being incorrectly used.

Like the photographer of animals in the wild, we have an observational tool or instrument that allows us to capture an aspect of the phenomenon, though, like the photographer, certainly not all of it. Our key observational instrument is not the camera, but it is educational technology tools that log student interactions.

The broader substantive point is our effort to add awareness to /in vivo/ experimentation to the array of methodologies in the learning and educational sciences. /In vivo/ experimentation is different from (not necessarily better than) other methodologies in the learning and educational sciences including 1) design-based research, as you mentioned, which doesn't have control conditions, 2) randomized field trials, which don't test a principle, but a policy or curriculum, and 3) lab experiments, which are not run in a natural setting. I have emphasized weakness, but all of these methodologies have strengths and should be applied at the right time for the right purpose. (I have participated in all four myself.)


On 10/21/10 10:10 AM, Jacqueline Bourdeau wrote:

> In vivo experiment: > - 'experiment' includes control and manipulation > - so what does in-vivo mean in this expression? if taken literally, it would mean controlling and manipulating the brain; if analogically, then what? manipulating cognitive-emotive functions? In that case, shouldn't we rather think of virtual frog dissection? Then we should use Noboru's virtual student! > if what we mean is controlling and manipulating cognitive-emotive functions in a real setting, then I consider that in situ experiment is a correct wording. Or maybe situated experiment. > I like Design-Based research, but I understand that it is different, since DBR means to test and vary the design itself, not to control and experiment on students. > Jacqueline > > *From:* Vincent Aleven <> > *Sent:* Wednesday, October 20, 2010 10:59 PM > *To:* klahr <> > *Cc:* Geoff Gordon <> ; PSLC-EC <> ; <> > *Subject:* Re: in vivo experiments? > > The wikipedia definition is confusing. In situ means exactly in the place where the phenomenon occurs. "In the wild." > > This seems exactly aligned with what we mean by "in vivo experiments." But then it also goes on to say that "in situ" means that an organ may be isolated for which the donor is sacrificed ???? > > I have trouble reconciling these definitions. It all depends on context I am sure. > > > Wikipedia also says: > > /*In vivo*/ (Latin <> for "within the living") is experimentation using a whole, living organism <> as opposed to a partial <> or dead organism, or an /in vitro <>/ controlled environment. Animal testing <> and clinical trials <> are two forms of /in vivo/ research. /In vivo/ testing is often employed over /in vitro/ because it is better suited for observing the overall effects of an experiment on a living subject. This is often described by the maxim /in vivo veritas/.^[1] <> > > > So that sounds reasonably well-aligned with what we mean by an in vivo experiment (though the first definition of in situ captures it even better - though it is contradicted by the second definition). > > Clearly, under this definition, in vivo does not necessarily mean IN the living organism. > > Vincent > > PS Anybody wants to make the case that "in situ" really is analogous to "pull out experiments?"  :-) > > > > On 10/20/10 10:32 PM, klahr wrote: >> >> Two responses: First fm wiki: >> In biology <>, /in situ/ means to examine the phenomenon exactly in place where it occurs (i.e. without moving it to some special medium). >> In the case of observations or photographs of living animals, it means that the organism was observed (and photographed) in the wild, exactly as it was found and exactly where it was found. The organism had not been moved to another (perhaps more convenient) location such as an aquarium. >> This phrase /in situ/ when used in laboratory science such as cell science can mean something intermediate between /in vivo <>/ and /in vitro <>/. For example, examining a cell <> within a whole organ <> intact and under perfusion <> may be /in situ/ investigation. This would not be/in vivo/ as the donor is sacrificed before experimentation, but it would not be the same as working with the cell alone (a common scenario for /in vitro/ experiments). >> /In vitro/ was among the first attempts to qualitatively and quantitatively analyze natural occurrences in the lab. Eventually, the limitation of /in vitro/ experimentation was that they were not conducted in natural environments. To compensate for this problem, /in vivo/ experimentation allowed testing to occur in the originate organism or environment. To bridge the dichotomy of benefits associated with both methodologies, /in situ/ experimentation allowed the controlled aspects of /in vitro/ to become coalesced with the natural environmental compositions of /in vivo/ experimentation. >> >> Second: I know that Kevin Dunbar popularized the term in cognitive science when he studied scientific thinking by observing the reasoning processes used by researchers in real molecular biology labs, rather than in the psychology lab. He was just applying the analogy between /in vitro/ and /in vivo/ commonly used in the biological sciences to his work (Dunbar, K. (1995). How scientists really reason: Scientific reasoning in real-world laboratories. In R.J. Sternberg, & J. Davidson (Eds.). /Mechanisms of insight/. Cambridge MA: MIT press. pp 365-395). Ken Koedinger has also used the analogy to emphasize the difference between "in vitro" (/aka/ "laboratory studies") that are so common in cognitive psychology, with the kind of "in vivo" studies done by many in the PSLC in which the experimental manipulations are embedded in real classrooms, by real teachers (or teaching agents), on real students, who are really trying to lean something, rather than participating in experiments. >> >> At least thats my take on the issue. If I've mis-characterized Ken's view, I'm sure he'll join the discussion. >> >> -David >> >> >> On Oct 20, 2010, at 7:14 PM, Geoff Gordon wrote: >> >>> An interesting question. My thought is that learning does occur within the student -- we just don't try to discover it with scalpels, but measure it at least somewhat non-invasively. >>> >>> -Geoff. >>> >>> >>> On Oct 20, 2010, at 5:19 PM, Vincent Aleven wrote: >>> >>>> It seems to me this query should be addressed by the EC as a whole ...  ;-) >>>> >>>> >>>> >>>> -------- Original Message -------- >>>> Subject: >>>> in vivo experiments? >>>> Date: >>>> Wed, 20 Oct 2010 16:37:15 -0400 >>>> From: >>>> Jacqueline Bourdeau < <>> >>>> To: >>>> Vincent Aleven < <>> >>>> >>>> >>>> Dear Vincent, >>>> I recently met the 'in-vivo experiments' in 2 of your publications, 2007 (Koedinger, Kenneth; Aleven, Vincent; Baker, Ryan. In vivo experiments on whether tutoring meta-cognition yields robust learning. 12th Biennial Conference for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI). Budapest, Hungary, August, 2007. 2007) >>>> >>>> Are you still using this expression? >>>> >>>> To my knowledge, in vivo = (of a biological process) occurring or made to occur within a living organism or natural setting. >>>> But we do not (yet) use scalpels with students! >>>> >>>> Did you mean in situ? >>>> = situated in the original, natural, or existing place or position >>>> In situ is used to distinguish from a lab experiment; it means in classroom or any other natural setting >>>> >>>> I would very much like to have your feedback on this. I should say that I am very curious! >>>> Jacqueline