Quantum Theory and Semiconductor Devices:
An Experiential Learning Environment

We explore immersive digital worlds through interactive visualizations and games for experiential learning of Quantum Mechanics and Semiconductor Physics. These educational tools help students gain intuition, avoid common misconceptions, and build accurate mental models. The educational tools are publicly available on the following links and educators may contact us for homework assignments and solutions.

What is LearnQM?

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Learning Challenges

Quantum Mechanics (QM) and Semiconductor Physics are the foundations of modern technology. They are taught in core courses in science and engineering disciplines such as electrical engineering, chemistry, and material science and engineering. However, educators face major challenges because of the abstract, non-experiential, and counter-intuitive nature of the key concepts in these areas. Further, course materials predominantly focus on the mathematical formulations of these subjects and lay less emphasis on their conceptual understanding. As a result, students often struggle to develop robust mental models and intuitive grasp of the concepts.

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Learning through Interactive Media

We are exploring supporting material such as interactive visualizations and games for intuitive and experiential teaching and learning of quantum mechanics and semiconductor physics/devices. Our tools provide students with an experiential learning environment that allows them to 1) test their preconceptions by interacting virtually with the phenomena and improve their mental models, 2) experiment with the phenomena to tease out the relationships between concepts, and 3) compare their experience of the phenomena to the math that describes them.

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Research and Evaluation Methods

We conduct mixed-methods controlled studies using a concurrent triangulation design where quantitative and qualitative data are collected and analyzed concurrently to answer research questions. We are interested in understanding to what extent such tools can change students’ conceptions compared to traditional approaches and whether and how do these educational tools affect students' grasp of abstract concepts.

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Recognitions and Support

Our educational tools have been widely used and recognized. Notably, we have received the IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society James Meindl Innovators Award, the Georgia Tech Outstanding Innovative Use of Educational Technology Award, and the Student's Choice Award at Serious Games Showcase & Challenge, I/ITSEC, Orlando, 2015 (based on the direct vote of more than 150 middle- and high-school students).

Our research has been supported in part by the generous gifts from the IEEE Foundation and Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC), Georgia Tech Fund for Innovation in Research and Education (GT FIRE), alongside awards from the National Science Foundation (NSF).