BA, DipEd (Monash), MEd, PhD (Alberta)

Director, Educational Futures ASRI

Location: 5.47 Education building
Phone:  (+61 8) 8201 2829
Fax:  (+61 8) 8201 3184
Email:  mike.lawson@flinders.edu.au
Postal Address:  School of Education, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide, South Australia 5001


Research Interests

Mike Lawson’s major research concern has been with metacognition, with how the cognitive activity of the learner can be managed by the learner, and developed by the teacher, during learning and problem solving. This includes an interest in knowledge representation.

Recent research has been focussed in the following areas:

  • Description of students’ knowledge about learning and teaching and on developing ways to describe the quality of that knowledge.
  • Vocabulary acquisition for second and foreign language learning, with a particular focus on the use of the keyword method for vocabulary acquisition.
  • Issues in mathematics education, such as the role of counting speed in influencing the development of a reliance on retrieval for simple addition problems.
  • Student representation of social situations in schools, with a focus on those that involve interpersonal conflict.
  • Evaluation of curriculum innovations for students’ mental health.

Areas for Postgraduate Supervision

  • Metacognition and the control of cognitive processing
  • Cognitive activity in problem solving
  • Cognitive strategy training
  • Cognitive processes in vocabulary acquisition
  • Representation of the quality of knowledge about learning and teaching
  • Student and teacher knowledge of learning and teaching processes

Selected Publications

Askell-Williams, H., & Lawson, M. J. (2006). Multidimensional profiling of medical students cognitive models about learning. Medical Education, 40, 138-145

Hopkins, S.L. & Lawson, M.J. (2002). Explaining the acquisition of a complex skill: Methodological and theoretical considerations uncovered in the study of simple addition and the moving-on process. Educational Psychology Review, 14, 121-154.

Hopkins, S. L. & Lawson, M. J. (2006). The effect counting speed has on developing a reliance on retrieval in basic addition. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 31, 208-227.

Lawson, M.J. & Hogben, D. (1996). The vocabulary learning strategies of foreign language students. Language Learning, 46, 101-135.

Lawson, M.J. & Chinnappan, M. (2000). Knowledge connectedness in geometry problem solving. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 31, 26-43.

Lawson, M. J. (2004). What students know about making good use of learning and teaching situations. Language & Academic Skills in Higher Education, 6, 11-24.

Wong, R., Lawson, M.J., & Keeves, J. P. (2002). The effects of self-explanation training on students' problem solving in high school mathematics. Learning and Instruction, 12, 233-262.

Wyra, M., Lawson, M. J. & Hungi, N. (in press) The mnemonic keyword method: the effects of bidirectional retrieval training and of ability to image on L2 vocabulary recall. Learning and Instruction.

For a more comprehensive list of publications, click here.

Professional Memberships

  • Australian Association for Research in Education
  • American Educational Reserach Association
  • International Society for the Learning Sciences