Olusola (Sola) Adesope

Education doctoral grad maps promising research path

June 10, 2010

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Olusola (Sola) Adesope and his wife Tolu were expecting their second baby in 2003 and had just immigrated to Canada from the U.S.

But they both threw caution to the wind and enrolled at SFU, seeking out a living as teaching and research assistants supplemented with scholarships and bursaries.

Their decision paid off. Tolu has since graduated with a degree in economics and this month Sola graduates with a doctorate in educational psychology.

Sola is now fielding academic job offers from universities in the U.S., Eastern Canada and Europe who are interested in his research into educational technologies.

His work on the learning effectiveness of animated concept maps— multimedia diagrams used to introduce students to relationships between various new concepts—has received particular attention.

So much so that his 2006 article on the subject co-published with SFU professor John Nesbit in the Review of Educational Research is still one of the prestigious journal’s most frequently read articles.

Sola’s thesis found that conventional methods of lecturing over slide presentations often require more multi-tasking than some students can manage, making it diffi cult for them to learn.

“The research also has implications for the design of read-along books accompanied by tapes to help students with reading difficulties, as well as the design of smart toys that help early readers,” he says.

Sola has just accepted a tenure-track assistant professorship (subject to obtaining a work permit) in the College of Education at Washington State University where he would also co-direct a $7-million learning and performance research centre.

“One of my goals is to package my multimedia learning research to meet real-life learning issues,” he says, “such as designing smart toys for teaching kids to read.”

Convocation, he says, seems like just the end of the beginning. “I’m looking forward to continued productive collaboration with professors here at SFU in the years ahead.”


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