Many college students believe that typing lecture notes on computers produces better notes and higher achievement than handwritten lecture notes on paper. The few studies investigating computer versus longhand note taking yielded mixed note-taking and achievement findings. The present study investigated computer versus longhand note taking but permitted note takers to revise or recopy notes during pauses interspersed throughout the lecture. Moreover, the present study analyzed notes recorded while a lecture was ongoing and following revision pauses to determine if lecture ideas and images were recorded completely or partially. Findings did not support the belief that computers aid note taking and achievement and, instead, favored longhand note taking and revision. Computer and longhand note takers recorded a comparable number of complete and partial ideas in notes while the lecture was ongoing, but longhand note takers recorded more lecture images. Among note revisers, longhand note takers added three-times-as-many complete ideas to their notes during revision as computer note takers—an important finding because note completeness predicted achievement. Achievement results showed that longhand note takers who revised notes scored more than half a letter grade higher on a lecture posttest than computer note takers who revised notes. Present findings suggest that college instructors should provide students with revision pauses to improve note taking and achievement and encourage students to record and revise notes using the longhand method. Finally, regarding the computer versus longhand note-taking debate, the need to investigate further the interplay between note-taking medium and lesson material is discussed.
This electroencephalography (EEG) study tested the benefits of generative learning and the underlying neural mechanism of these benefits when learning from video lectures. Twenty-six Chinese young adults independently viewed two video lectures in a repeated measures design. Each video lecture was broken into 40 segments, and after each segment, the participants either generated an oral sentence (generative learning condition) or viewed a sentence (passive viewing condition). Participants’ learning performance (accuracy and reaction time) were assessed after viewing each video, and their EEG oscillations (i.e., lower alpha band and upper alpha band in frontal and occipital-parietal regions) were recorded while watching each video and while generating a sentence or viewing a sentence. Paired t tests showed that students had higher learning performance (higher accuracy and shorter reaction time) after learning by using a generative learning strategy than learning by passive viewing. Repeated measures ANOVAs showed that when learning by using a generative learning strategy, students exhibited increased frontal and occipital-parietal lower alpha and upper alpha power, both while watching the video lectures and generating/viewing a sentence. The two learning strategy conditions showed a larger difference in upper alpha power than in lower alpha power. Correlation analyses showed that students’ alpha power in the generative learning strategy condition was positively related to their reaction time. Based on the learning performance tests, generative learning is more effective than passive learning from video lectures; based on the EEG results, the effectiveness appears to be due to students being primed to apply a top-down processing strategy. The findings have an important practical implication: instructors can encourage students to engage in generative learning after viewing video lectures.
This study investigates the effects of a short pedagogical training on university teachers’ professional vision and (mis)conceptions concerning teaching and learning, utilizing a mixed-methods approach. Participants’ written interpretations of a video-based teaching–learning situation were analyzed and comparisons were made between prospective and current faculty teachers. Before the course, participants missed almost half of the pedagogically relevant incidents in a classroom. Generally, the short pedagogical training was successful in supporting all participants’ professional vision development. The training successfully provided all teachers’ with more in-depth reasoning skills as a result of the course. Thus, improvements in participants’ reasoning skills were identified, but interestingly not in their noticing capability. In addition, prospective teachers had more misconceptions concerning teaching and learning both before and after the training. Finally, the study discusses the implications for research on how teachers’ beliefs and conceptions are related to professional vision.
Learner control of video presentations by using pause buttons or timeline scrollbars was suggested as helpful for learning from sources of transient information such as dynamic visualizations and spoken words. However, effective learner control could be difficult to attain without sufficient instructional support. This study developed strategies for facilitating processing and integration of transient information based on cognitive load theory by providing learners with explicit guidance in when and how to use pausing and timeline scrollbars while watching instructional videos. A single-factor between-subjects experiment was conducted to examine the effects of the proposed strategies. Ninety undergraduates were randomly assigned to one of three groups - strategy guidance group (learners were provided with guidance in strategies), learner control group (learners were allowed to control the video but without any guidance in strategies), and continuous presentation group (without any learner control mechanism). The results revealed that compared to the learner control group, the strategy guidance group had a greater number of pauses and scrollbacks on the timeline, demonstrated significantly better performance in the immediate comprehension test and higher performance efficiency in the immediate recall and comprehension tests. Compared to the continuous presentation group, the strategy guidance group demonstrated significantly better performance in the immediate recall and comprehension tests and higher performance efficiency in both these tests, as well as better performance in the delayed recall test and higher performance efficiency in the delayed recall test.
Sourcing - identifying, evaluating, and using information about the sources of information - assists readers in determining what to trust when seeking information on the Internet. To survive in the post-truth era, students should be equipped with sufficient sourcing skills. This study investigated the efficacy of a teacher-led intervention aimed at fostering upper secondary school students’ (N = 365) sourcing during online inquiry. The intervention (4 × 75 min) was structured in accordance with the phases of online inquiry: locating, evaluating, synthesizing, and communicating information. During the intervention, teachers demonstrated why and how to source, and students practiced sourcing by investigating a controversial topic on the Internet. Students worked in small groups and their work was supported with analysis and reflection prompts. Students’ sourcing skills were measured with a web-based online inquiry task before and after the intervention. Compared to controls, the intervention fostered students’ abilities in three of the four skills measured (sourcing in search queries, credibility judgments, and written product). Depending on the sourcing skill, 4–25% of students showed improved performance. The students with low sourcing skills to begin with, benefited the most from the intervention. The study demonstrated that students’ sourcing skills can be supported throughout online inquiry.
Self-regulated learning (SRL) is essential for independent active learners. Despite its importance, supporting students' SRL is often challenging for teachers who lack the necessary knowledge and skills for in-class SRL practices. Hence, there is a need to support teachers' SRL: both as learners—how to self-regulate their own learning, and as teachers—how to use practices to support students' SRL. This study proposes an innovative instructional model empowered by “Authentic Interactive Dynamic Experiences” (“AIDE”) oriented to SRL and called the SRL–AIDE model. To examine the effectiveness of the model, we designed a professional development program based on the SRL–AIDE model, called the SRL–AIDE program. It involved explicit exposure to SRL theory, beliefs in independent learning as enhancing SRL, and immersive experiences including video-based learning and simulations with live actors to stimulate motivation for SRL classroom implementation. The model’s effectiveness was evaluated using authentic methods. Seventy-six teachers participated in either the SRL–AIDE program (experimental group) or a control program focused on effective learning principles. The results indicated a shift in beliefs toward independent learning as a core behavior in enhancing SRL, and a highly significant and systematic increase among the experimental group in the lesson plan, performance, and reflection (on the performed lesson) as phases in the teaching relating to the SRL cycle, including cognitive, metacognitive, and independent learning strategies. The improvements of the SRL practices were apparent in two measurement types: explicitness level and duration. Implications for class instruction, teachers’ professional development oriented toward students’ outcomes, and authentic evaluation are discussed.
Images, such as photographs and diagrams, play an important role in the teaching and learning of science. To optimize student learning, educational science images should be designed to facilitate the cognitive processes relevant to comprehension. One such process is comparison, which involves aligning multiple representations on the basis of their common relational structure. This structural alignment process can be facilitated by cognitive supports that are inherent to an image, including its spatial layout. Yet, little is known about the extent to which students must engage in comparison to learn from science images, and whether widely-used educational materials are conducive to structural alignment. To address these issues, we sampled multiple chapters from each of three popular U.S. middle school life science textbooks. We coded each image for the presence of prompts for comparison using cues within the images and surrounding text. For each image that prompted comparison, we coded whether its layout facilitated relevant structural alignment (direct placement of matched pairs) or obscured alignment (impeded placement). Overall, we found that comparisons were prompted for more than a third of the images. However, fewer than half of the images that required comparison had a spatial layout that provided strong support for comparison-that is, direct placement of matched objects/parts. We propose that, in concert with other cognitive supports for learning from multiple representations, spatial supports for comparison could be applied broadly to increase the effectiveness of educational science images.
Students more than ever learn from online sources, such as digital texts or videos. Little research has compared processes and outcomes across these two mediums. Using a between-participants experimental design, this study investigated whether medium (texts vs. videos) and context (less authoritative vs. more authoritative), independently and in concert, affected students' engagement, integrated understanding, and calibration. The two mediums presented identical information on the topic of social media, which was distributed across two complementary texts in the text condition and across two complementary videos in the video condition. In the less authoritative context, the two information sources (texts or videos) were posted by a friend on Facebook; in the more authoritative context, the same information sources (texts or videos) were posted by a professor on Moodle. Results showed a main effect of medium on behavioral engagement in terms of processing time, as students used longer time watching the two videos than reading the two digital texts. No other main medium or context effects were statistically significant; nor were there any interaction effects of medium with context on any of the outcome variables. The findings are discussed in light of the alternative hypotheses that guided the study and the directions it suggests for future research.
The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s11251-022-09591-8.
This paper explores orchestration support introduced to an online class to help students operate as a knowledge community. A technological design was introduced to provide a flexible, dynamic learning environment so that ideas and knowledge artifacts can flow across time, space, and people in the community. With support from a CSCL technology named FROG, we incorporated several general-purpose tools to support a variety of collaborative activities and relied on FROG as a backbone to connect these tools and orchestrate knowledge flows among them. Through a mixed-methods case study, we investigated the ways in which the design facilitated the flow of knowledge artifacts and idea development. Detailed analysis of a rich dataset revealed multiple ways in which ideas and artifacts flowed in the community, leading to growth in both individual learning and group projects. However, these phenomena varied across groups. This paper advances the community approach to learning by devising new technological and pedagogical supports. It also highlights the prospect of bringing guidance, control, and agency—long-standing issues of CSCL—into productive dialogues.
This study reports a field experiment investigating how instructional videos with and without background music contribute to the learning of examination techniques within a formal curriculum of medical teaching. Following a classroom teaching unit on the techniques for examining the knee and the shoulder joint, our participants (N = 175) rehearsed the studied techniques for either the knee or the shoulder joint with an instructional video with or without background music. As dependent measures, we collected a general questionnaire, a prediction of test performance, as well as performance on an exam-like knowledge test covering both joints. For both videos, the participants who had watched the particular video during rehearsal were more accurate in answering the corresponding questions than the participants who had seen the other video, signaling that instructional videos provide a useful tool for rehearsal (i.e., both groups reciprocally served as control groups). For the knee video (less difficult), we observed a detrimental effect of the background music, whereas we observed no such effect for the shoulder video (more difficult). Further explorations revealed that background music might be detrimental for learning, as it reduces the perceived demand characteristics. Because the impact of the demand characteristics might be more pronounced in less difficult instructional videos, we discuss video difficulty as a potential moderating factor. Overall, our study provides evidence that instructional videos could be usefully implemented in formal teaching curricula and that such instructional videos probably should be designed without background music.
This study analyzes the effect of text-inserted questions and post-text-reading questions, i.e., questions timing, on students’ processing and learning when studying challenging texts. Seventy-six freshmen read two science texts and answered ten adjunct questions with the text available, being tested on learning 5 days afterwards. Questions were presented either after reading the whole text or inserted in the text after reading the relevant information. Online processing data were recorded while reading and searching the texts, and measures of processing strategies (i.e., paraphrases, elaborations) while answering the questions were collected. Compared to students in the post-reading condition, those in the inserted condition spent more time reading the text initially, were more efficient at searching for information in the text, and produced more accurate elaborations, all of which may explain why answering inserted questions in an available text were more effective in terms of learning than answering post-reading questions. Limitations and educational implications of these results are also discussed.
Based on previous research on multimedia learning and text comprehension, an eye-tracking study was conducted to examine the influence of audio text coherence on visual attention and memory in a multimedia learning situation with a focus on picture comprehension. Audio text coherence was manipulated by the type of LDI structure, that is, whether localization, description, and interpretation followed in immediate succession for each pictorial detail or whether localizations and description of details were separated from their interpretation. Results show that with a LDI integrated structure compared to a LDI separated structure the referred-to picture elements were fixated longer during interpretation parts, and linkages between descriptions and interpretations were better recalled and recognized. The effects on recall and recognition of linkages were fully mediated by fixation times. This pattern of results can be explained by an interplay between audio text coherence and dual coding processes. It points out the importance of local coherence and the provision of localization information in audio explanations as well as visual attention to allow for dual coding processes that can be used to better attribute meaning to picture details. Practical implications for the design of educational videos, audio texts on websites, and audio guides are discussed.
Studies indicate that learners’ cognitive style (CS), self-regulated learning (SRL), and working memory (WM) are associated with their academic performance. These studies describe the relationship of academic achievement with SRL, CS, or WM individually or pairwise relationships between SRL, CS, and WM rather than the overall relationship between academic achievement and each factor. In this study, a structural equation modelling (SEM) analysis was conducted to explore the overall theoretical relationship. We focused on academic achievements in mathematics and science (AAMS). A total of 191 sixth-grade students (male: 111, female: 80; mean age: 11.08 years, SD = 0.282) from two public elementary schools in Taiwan was selected as valid samples for this study. The findings indicated that CS, WM, and SRL individually had significant influences on AAMS, among which SRL had the largest effect, followed by WM and CS. Furthermore, we discovered that CS was significantly correlated with WM. The results of the analysis of the mediation effect demonstrated that CS both directly affected AAMS and indirectly affected AAMS through SRL. The implication of the findings and recommendations are also discussed.
In order to cultivate students to be able to participate in public affairs and make decisions about socioscientific issues (SSI), a web-based module was designed for students to collaboratively engage in the decision-making (DM) process. This study attempted to identify students’ discourse characteristics that might lead to formulating an evidence-based decision on SSI. Twenty-nine Grade 10 students were randomly divided into eight groups of three or four. The transcribed data of one case from each performance level were compared to investigate the interplay between groups’ DM performances and discourse characteristics. The results showed that the group that gained a high score on the DM group worksheet engaged in the metacognitive discussion for planning procedures of the module tools and in the conceptual exchanges to accomplish the tasks. The members of this group could initiate and extend ideas, provide prompts, and confirm or reject each other’s ideas, resulting in sustained interactive dialogs that allowed them to learn from one another. This indicated that students need to be encouraged to clarify the task goals, plan procedures, monitor their performance, and exchange their ideas actively. The implications of how collaborative discourse promote students’ SSI DM performance, and the better design and enactment of SSI modules are discussed.
Computational thinking (CT) and computer science (CS) are becoming more widely adopted in K-12 education. However, there is a lack of focus on CT and CS access for children with disabilities. This study investigates the effect of the robot development process at the secondary school level on the algorithmic thinking and mental rotation skills of students with learning disabilities (LD). The study was conducted with the single-subject model and as an A-B-A design. In the study, the CT skill development of four students with LD (1 female, 3 male) was monitored throughout 13 weeks with the pre-treatment sessions running from weeks 1–4, treatment sessions running from weeks 5–9, and post-treatment sessions running from weeks 10–13. During the treatment sessions, robot design and programming implementations were performed. During these 13 sessions, the observer scored participants’ both algorithmic problem-solving and mental rotation skills. These skills are also required to use some other cognitive sub-skills (i.e., selective attention, processing speed) which were defined by ten special education experts at the beginning of the study. All these skills were evaluated according to how well the students performed the following four criteria: (1) To start to perform the instructions quickly (processing speed), (2) to focus on the task by filtering out distractions (selective attention), (3) to fulfill the task without having to have the instructions repeated, (4) to perform algorithmic problem-solving/mental rotation tasks without any help. Considering the results on the participants’ algorithmic problem-solving skills, a significant improvement was obtained in their skills after the treatment process. The improvement obtained in the participants’ mental rotation skills is another important result of the study. Considering the study results from a holistic perspective, it can be concluded that the robot development implementation, as educational technology, can be used to support the cognitive development of students with learning disabilities.
This study examined whether learning with heuristic worked examples can improve students’ competency in solving reality-based tasks in mathematics (mathematical modeling competency). We randomly assigned 134 students in Grade 5 and 180 students in Grade 7 to one of three conditions: control condition (students worked on reality-based tasks), worked example condition (students studied worked examples representing a realistic process of problem-solving by fictitious students negotiating solutions to the tasks), and prompted worked example condition (students additionally received self-explanation prompts). In all three conditions, the students worked on the tasks individually and independently for 45 min. Dependent measures were mathematical modeling competency (number of adequate solution steps and strategies) and modeling-specific strategy knowledge. Results showed that although strategy knowledge could be improved through the intervention for fifth and seventh graders, modeling competency was improved only for seventh graders. The prompting of self-explanations had no additional effect for either fifth or seventh graders.
Concept map (CM) is introduced as a useful tool for studying students’ system thinking (ST). However, it is more known to represent students’ knowledge of system components and organization and less recognized as a tool to examine and enhance students’ understanding about the underlying causal mechanisms in complex systems. In this study, through a mixed method approach, we investigated the potential of CM in demonstrating undergraduate students’ (n = 173) ST. We also conducted a comparative analysis to examine the effects of different scaffolding on developing students’ ST skills. Through a theoretical framework of causal patterns, we present a new perspective on what CM reveals about students’ ST and what are its limitations in showing system complexities. The results indicated that CM can provide a platform for students to practice causal mechanisms such as domino, mutual, relational, and cyclic causalities, and accordingly, work as a tool for teachers to examine students’ knowledge of such mechanisms. The results also showed that students improved in demonstrating ST by CM when they were scaffolded for showing causal mechanisms and building CM. Eventually, this study concludes that the CM is a highly relevant tool to increase and examine students’ ST skills. To this end, we found it is important to explicitly teach students about causal patterns and guide them to construct CM with an emphasis on showing the interconnection among concepts.
Our objective in this study was to investigate how the eye-movement behavior and concurrent verbal protocols of students with high-/low-prior-knowledge were reflected in the use of multiple representations for scientific argumentation. We also examined the degree of consistency between eye-fixation data and verbalization to ascertain how and when the eye-mind hypothesis (EMH) applies in this subdomain of scientific argumentation. Our results focused on fixation duration and recorded arguments from 96 college students. The high-prior-knowledge group did not present static patterns in the inspection of multiple representations, which indicates that they tended to select representations according to the contingent demands of the current task, indicating that for them, there was no "most appropriate representation". The high-prior-knowledge group also submitted a greater number of representations and more frequently mentioned multiple representations in their verbal protocols. Finally, the students demonstrated notable discrepancies between eye-movement data and verbal protocols related to representations as well as inconsistencies with previous findings. Thus, the fact that the EMH does not always hold could perhaps be attributed to the scope of interpretation in argumentation tasks and the complexity of information related to some representations, both of which could hinder the instantaneous formation of a gist. Our findings may contribute to reducing the ambiguity and uncertainty involved in the analysis of eye-fixation data when multiple representations are employed for scientific argumentation.
Models and modeling are central to both scientific literacy and practices as demonstrated by the Next Generation Science Standards. Through a design-based research framework, we developed a model-based assessment (MBA) and associated rubric as tools for teachers to understand and support students in their conceptualization of the flow of energy and matter within ecosystems. The MBA was piloted with four middle school students (n = 4) and implemented in two sixth grade student cohorts (n = 89 & n = 98). The MBA and rubrics went through several design iterations in order to best capture student understanding of complex systems. The design of the MBA allows students to express conceptual understanding while also capturing the transformation of their understanding as they are exposed to new information and experiences within the curricular content.
We face complex global issues such as climate change that challenge our ability as humans to manage them. Models have been used as a pivotal science and engineering tool to investigate, represent, explain, and predict phenomena or solve problems that involve multi-faceted systems across many fields. To fully explain complex phenomena or solve problems using models requires both systems thinking (ST) and computational thinking (CT). This study proposes a theoretical framework that uses modeling as a way to integrate ST and CT. We developed a framework to guide the complex process of developing curriculum, learning tools, support strategies, and assessments for engaging learners in ST and CT in the context of modeling. The framework includes essential aspects of ST and CT based on selected literature, and illustrates how each modeling practice draws upon aspects of both ST and CT to support explaining phenomena and solving problems. We use computational models to show how these ST and CT aspects are manifested in modeling.
Instructional videos have been widely used in online learning environments. Effective video learning requires self-regulation by learners, which can be facilitated by deliberate instructional design, such as through prompting. Grounded in the interactive, constructive, active, and passive (ICAP) framework, this study compared the effects of explanation prompts and explored how they affected the retention and transfer of learning. In an online experiment, 103 participants were randomly assigned to focused self-explanation, scaffolded self-explanation, and instructional explanation prompting conditions. The results indicated better retention performance from the scaffolded prompt than from the focused prompt. No differences were found in transfer performance across various forms of prompts. Regression analysis suggested that prior knowledge and cognitive load may have interacted with the effect of self-explanation prompts. Prior knowledge positively predicted transfer performance, and cognitive load negatively predicted transfer performance when focused or scaffolded prompts were implemented. Potential explanations concerning how self-explanation prompts affect learning were discussed.
We extended research on scaffolds for formulating scientific hypotheses, namely the Hypothesis Scratchpad (HS), in the domain of relative density. The sample comprised of secondary school students who used three different configurations of the HS: Fully structured, containing all words needed to formulate a hypothesis in the domain of the study; partially structured, containing some words; unstructured, containing no words. We used a design with two different measures of student ability to formulate hypotheses (targeted skill): A global, domain-independent measure, and a domain-specific measure. Students used the HS in an intervention context, and then, in a novel context, addressing a transfer task. The fully and partially structured versions of the HS improved the global measure of the targeted skill, while the unstructured version, and to a lesser extent, the partially structured version, favored student performance as assessed by the domain-specific measure. The partially structured solution revealed strengths for both measures of the targeted skill (global and domain-specific), which may be attributed to its resemblance to completion problems (partially worked examples). The unstructured version of the HS seems to have promoted schema construction for students who revealed an improvement of advanced cognitive processes (thinking critically and creatively). We suggest that a comprehensive assessment of scaffolding student work when formulating hypotheses should incorporate both global and domain-specific measures and it should also involve transfer tasks.
A worked-out or an open inventing problem with contrasting cases can prepare learners for learning from subsequent instruction differently regarding motivation and cognition. In addition, such activities potentially initiate different learning processes during the subsequent (“future”) learning phase. In this experiment ( N = 45 pre-service teachers), we aimed to replicate effects of earlier studies on learning outcomes and, on this basis, to analyze respective learning processes during the future-learning phase via think-aloud protocols. The inventing group invented criteria to assess learning strategies in learning journals while the worked-example group studied the same problem in a solved version. Afterwards, the pre-service teachers thought aloud during learning in a computer-based learning environment. We did not find substantial motivational differences (interest, self-efficacy), but the worked-example group clearly outperformed their counterparts in transfer ( BF +0 > 313). We found moderate evidence for the hypothesis that their learning processes during the subsequent learning phase was deepened: the example group showed more elaborative processes, more spontaneous application of the canonical, but also of sub-optimal solutions than the inventing group ( BF s around 4), and it tended to focus more on the most relevant learning contents. Explorative analyses suggest that applying canonical solutions to examples is one of the processes explaining why working through the solution leads to higher transfer. In conclusion, a worked-out inventing problem seems to prepare future learning more effectively than an open inventing activity by deepening and focusing subsequent learning processes.
Extensive research has established that successful learning from an example is conditional on an important learning activity: self-explanation. Moreover, a model for learning from examples suggests that self-explanation quality mediates effects of examples on learning outcomes (Atkinson et al. in Rev Educ Res 70:181-214, 2000). We investigated self-explanation quality as mediator in a worked examples-problem-solving paradigm. We developed a coding scheme to assess self-explanation quality in the context of ill-defined statistics problems and analyzed self-explanation data of a study by Schwaighofer et al. (J Educ Psychol 108: 982-1000, 2016). Schwaighofer et al. (J Educ Psychol 108: 982-1000, 2016) investigated whether the worked example effect depends on prior knowledge, working memory capacity, shifting ability, and fluid intelligence. In our study, we included these variables to jointly explore mediating and moderating factors when individuals learn with worked examples versus through problem-solving. Seventy-four university students (mean age = 23.83, SD = 5.78) completed an open item pretest, self-explained while either studying worked examples or solving problems, and then completed a post-test. We used conditional process analysis to test whether the effect of worked examples on learning gains is mediated by self-explanation quality and whether any effect in the mediation model depends on the suggested moderators. We reproduced the interaction effects reported by Schwaighofer et al. (J Educ Psychol 108: 982-1000, 2016) but did not detect a mediation effect. This might indicate that worked examples are directly effective because they convey a solution strategy, which might be particularly important when learning to solve problems that have no algorithmic solution procedure.
Threshold concepts are transformative elements of domain knowledge that enable those who attain them to engage domain tasks in a more sophisticated way. Existing research tends to focus on the identification of threshold concepts within undergraduate curricula as challenging concepts that prevent attainment of subsequent content until mastered. Recently, threshold concepts have likewise become a research focus at the level of doctoral studies. However, such research faces several limitations. First, the generalizability of findings in past research has been limited due to the relatively small numbers of participants in available studies. Second, it is not clear which specific skills are contingent upon mastery of identified threshold concepts, making it difficult to identify appropriate times for possible intervention. Third, threshold concepts observed across disciplines may or may not mask important nuances that apply within specific disciplinary contexts. The current study therefore employs a novel Bayesian knowledge tracing (BKT) approach to identify possible threshold concepts using a large data set from the biological sciences. Using rubric-scored samples of doctoral students’ sole-authored scholarly writing, we apply BKT as a strategy to identify potential threshold concepts by examining the ability of performance scores for specific research skills to predict score gains on other research skills. Findings demonstrate the effectiveness of this strategy, as well as convergence between results of the current study and more conventional, qualitative results identifying threshold concepts at the doctoral level.
To promote students’ value-based agency, responsible science and sustainability, science education must address how students think about their personal and collective futures. However, research has shown that young people find it difficult to fully relate to the future and its possibilities, and few studies have focused on the potential of science education to foster futures thinking and agency. We report on a project that further explored this potential by developing future-oriented science courses drawing on the field of futures studies. Phenomenographic analysis was used on interview data to see what changes upper-secondary school students saw in their futures perceptions and agentic orientations after attending a course which adapted futures thinking skills in the context of quantum computing and technological approaches to global problems. The results show students perceiving the future and technological development as more positive but also more unpredictable, seeing their possibilities for agency as clearer and more promising (especially by identifying with their peers or aspired career paths), and feeling a deeper connection to the otherwise vague idea of futures. Students also felt they had learned to question deterministic thinking and to think more creatively about their own lives as well as technological and non-technological solutions to global problems. Both quantum physics and futures thinking opened new perspectives on uncertainty and probabilistic thinking. Our results provide further validation for a future-oriented approach to science education, and highlight essential synergies between futures thinking skills, agency, and authentic socio-scientific issues in developing science education for the current age.
Informal learning environments can be a fun and effective means of introducing visitors to a variety of topics in evolution. Our study examined 120 sixth-grade students’ conceptualisation of evolutionary ideas following three evolution-themed “Science Days” at ‘Nature Campus’—an informal learning environment in Central Israel comprised of a natural history museum, zoological and botanical gardens. The students visited Nature Campus in groups of twenty. After each science day, the students worked in teams of 4–5 to make a poster, based on five pictures representing topics from the learning environment. This poster-making process served as a knowledge integration activity, aimed at assisting students in organizing all the knowledge from each science day, and integrating it with knowledge from the previous science days. Observations of students’ discussions while making their posters and video recordings of the activities throughout the science days were used as a basis for conclusions regarding which events in the program were recalled as meaningful by the students. The ideas and concepts that arose during the students’ poster making process demonstrated knowledge drawn from multiple activities in which they had engaged on Nature Campus, reflecting an understanding of evolution-related concepts from the fields of paleontology and ecology. Our findings showed that concepts and ideas that were taught via hands-on, interactive, inquiry-based learning in an authentic environment were later featured most prominently in the students’ poster-making discussions.
Presenting novices with examples and problems is an effective and efficient way to acquire new problem-solving skills. Nowadays, examples and problems are increasingly presented in computer-based learning environments, in which learners often have to self-regulate their learning (i.e., choose what type of task to work on and when). Yet, it is questionable how novices self-regulate their learning from examples and problems, and to what extent their choices match with effective principles from instructional design research. In this study, 147 higher education students had to learn how to solve problems on the trapezoidal rule. During self-regulated learning, they were free to select six tasks from a database of 45 tasks that varied in task format (video examples, worked examples, practice problems), complexity level (level 1, 2, 3), and cover story. Almost all students started with (video) example study at the lowest complexity level. The number of examples selected gradually decreased and task complexity gradually increased during the learning phase. However, examples and lowest level tasks remained relatively popular throughout the entire learning phase. There was no relation between students' total score on how well their behavior matched with the instructional design principles and learning outcomes, mental effort, and motivational variables.
We investigate an interactive teacher-generated drawing strategy in which the teacher constructs a drawing with the help of the students. The students contribute their ideas on how to visualize to-be-drawn concepts, embedded in an interactive process. The present study explored whether learning from a scientific text on plate tectonics could be enhanced by an interactive teacher-generated drawing strategy. A number of studies on student-generated drawings have shown that students have difficulties to accurately represent scientific information (i.e. Van Meter & Garner, 2005). One solution to such difficulties—providing external illustrations for comparison—has not always been helpful (Fiorella & Zhang, 2018), because students need support on how to process the provided illustrations. Ninety-four 8th-grade students (M = 13.34, SD = 0.50) participated in the study. Instructions varied according to a 2 × 2 factorial between-subjects design with “student-generated drawings” (yes, no) and “interactive teacher-generated drawings” (yes, no) as the two factors. The following conditions were applied: reading a scientific text; reading and creating drawings; reading and engaging in the interactive drawing process; reading and creating drawings as well as engaging in the interactive drawing process. Subsequently, the students answered questions about their comprehension (transfer, recall, and drawing). The interactive teacher-generated drawing groups (interactive teacher-generated drawing group, student-and-interactive teacher-generated drawing group) showed better transfer, recall, and drawing performance than the non-interactive groups (no-strategy group, student-generated drawing group). No effects were found for student-generated drawings on the immediate posttests. However, interactive teacher-generated drawings and student-generated drawings enhanced drawing performance in the long term. Interactive teacher-generated drawing can be seen as an effective strategy for fostering mental model building to enhance learning and understanding of scientific text.
Interactive computer simulations and hands-on experiments are important teaching methods in modern science education. Especially for the communication of complex current topics with social relevance (socioscientific issues), suitable methods in science education are of great importance. However, previous studies could not sufficiently clarify the educational advantages and disadvantages of both methods and often lack adequate comparability. This paper presents two studies of direct comparisons of hands-on experiments and interactive computer simulations as learning tools in science education for secondary school students in two different learning locations (Study I: school; Study II: student laboratory). Using a simple experimental research design with type of learning location as between-subjects factor (NStudy I = 443, NStudy II = 367), these studies compare working on computer simulations versus experiments in terms of knowledge achievement, development of situational interest and cognitive load. Independent of the learning location, the results showed higher learning success for students working on computer simulations than while working on experiments, despite higher cognitive load. However, working on experiments promoted situational interest more than computer simulations (especially the epistemic and value-related component). We stated that simulations might be particularly suitable for teaching complex topics. The findings reviewed in this paper moreover imply that working with one method may complement and supplement the weaknesses of the other. We conclude that that the most effective way to communicate complex current research topics might be a combination of both methods. These conclusions derive a contribution to successful modern science education in school and out-of-school learning contexts.
This study analyses the effects of group differentiation by students’ learning strategies of around 1200 students in 46 classes from eight secondary schools in the Netherlands. In an experimental setup with randomization at the class level, division of students over three groups per class (an instruction-independent group, an average group, and an instruction-dependent group) is based on learning strategies, measures using the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ). Each group is offered instruction fitting their own learning strategy. The results show that student performance is higher in classes where the differentiation was applied, and that these students score higher at some scales of the posttest of the questionnaire on motivation, metacognition and self-regulation. However, there are differences between classrooms from different teachers. Additional teacher questionnaires confirm the discrepancy in teacher attitudes towards the intervention.
Virtual labs provide space for students to iteratively test, observe, and revise their understanding so as to improve their scientific literacy. However, one of the challenges that students face is that they need to think and act like scientists so as to be sensitively alert to methodological flaws and various sources of error. This study thus compared the effect of two instructional approaches using a virtual lab to enhance students’ scientific literacy. Before students were given the opportunity to conduct science inquiries with the virtual lab, they were required to critique problematic inquiry cases (the critique group) or watch teachers’ demonstrations (the teacher demonstration group) before taking part in the inquiry. By analyzing data from 50 middle school students, this study found that the effect of applying virtual labs can be augmented by an instructional design that engages students in critiquing experiments prior to their inquiry with the virtual lab. This study also found a limitation of the use of virtual labs in helping students transfer what they have learned from the teacher’s demonstration to new inquiry contexts. A close relation among scientific literacy post-test scores, critiquing performance, and inquiry performance in the inquiry activity was detected, suggesting that student critiquing prior to inquiry is in alignment with the goal of developing students’ inquiry skills and scientific literacy with virtual labs.
Most of humanity’s important and difficult problems such as pandemics, environmental health, and social unrest require recognizing and understanding complex systems. Students often have difficulty understanding complex systems concepts and previous research indicates that scaffolded computer simulations may facilitate learning. Few studies, however, have investigated which types of scaffolding can help students understand complex systems concepts with simulations. This study compares ontological and self-monitoring scaffolds with an agent-based participatory simulation on mainly undergraduate students’ (N = 96) understanding of complex systems. Data sources included pretest and posttest assessments of complex systems concepts. Results revealed that students in the ontological condition significantly improved from pretest to posttest on their agent actions and processes-based causality understanding, while apparently decreasing their understanding in action effects. In addition, students in the ontological condition improved more from pre- to post-test than students in the self-monitoring condition in their understanding of order. This study highlights how scaffolded, agent-based participatory simulations can help students learn complex systems concepts and that ontological scaffolding may help students understand decentralized and emergent order within complex systems.
Instructional videos are widely used to study teachers’ professional vision. A new technological development in video research is mobile eye-tracking (MET). It has the potential to provide fine-grained insights into teachers’ professional vision in action, but has yet been scarcely employed. We addressed this research gap by using MET video feedback to examine how expert and novice teachers differed in their noticing and weighing of alternative teaching strategies. Expert and novice teachers’ lessons were recorded with MET devices. Then, they commented on what they observe while watching their own teaching videos. Using a mixed methods approach, we found that expert and novice teachers did not differ in the number of classroom events they noticed and alternative teaching strategies they mentioned. However, novice teachers were more critical of their own teaching than expert teachers, particularly when they considered alternative teaching strategies. Practical implications for the field of teacher education are discussed.
Successful teaching requires that student teachers acquire a conceptual understanding of teaching practices. A promising way to promote such a conceptual understanding is to provide student teachers with examples. We conducted a 3 (between-subjects factor example format: reading, generation, classification) x 4 (within-subjects factor type of knowledge: facts, concepts, principles, procedures) experiment with N = 83 student teachers to examine how different formats of learning with examples influence the acquisition of relational categories in the context of lesson planning. Classifying provided examples was more effective for conceptual learning than reading provided examples or generating new examples. At the same time, reading provided examples or generating new examples made no difference in conceptual learning. However, generating new examples resulted in overly optimistic judgments of conceptual learning whereas reading provided examples or classifying provided examples led to rather accurate judgments of conceptual learning. Regardless of example format, more complex categories were more difficult to learn than less complex categories. The findings indicate that classifying provided examples is an effective form of conceptual learning. Generating examples, however, might be detrimental to learning in early phases of concept acquisition. In addition, learning with examples should be adapted to the complexity of the covered categories.
In the learning design community, there has been an increasing recognition of the value of positioning teaching as a design science, in which teachers craft and test effective learning conditions through a goal-oriented and evidence-based procedure. However, the existing models and tools supporting teachers’ design practice focus primarily on learning task configurations; very little account has been taken of the later phases of the design lifecycle, such as evaluation and redesign. The shortage of tools for articulating and supporting reflective design practice is a major barrier preventing design science from growing into mainstream educational practice. To bridge the gap between research and practice, this paper proposes an outcome-oriented and pattern-based model, capable of enabling teachers to design a course and test its effectiveness using principled methods appropriate to a design science. This model conceptualizes course design as a goal-oriented process of crafting and strategizing the use of design patterns to address different types of learning outcomes, and conducting pattern-informed learning analytics to inform intervention and redesign. When applied to the development of a real course, the preliminary results suggest that the model has some potential in engaging the teaching team in exercising reflective design practice featured with a disciplined course design procedure, rigorous testing, as well as evidence-based intervention and redesign, which in turn led to improved learning outcomes. This paper concludes with a discussion on the limitations of the model and the directions for future research.
Prior research indicates that student teachers frequently have misconceptions about multimedia learning. Our experiment with N = 96 student teachers revealed that, in contrast to standard texts, refutation texts are effective to address misconceptions about multimedia learning. However, there seems to be no added benefit of making “concessions” to student teachers’ prior beliefs (i.e., two-sided argumentation) in refutation texts. Moreover, refutation texts did not promote the selection of appropriate multimedia material. This study suggests that refutation texts addressing multimedia-learning misconceptions should be applied in teacher education. Yet, further support seems needed to aid the application of the corrected knowledge.
Collaborative problem solving (CPS) is widely recognized as a prominent 21st-century skill to be mastered. Until recently, research on CPS has often focused on problem solution by the individual; the interest in investigating how the theorized problem-solving constructs function as broader social units, such as pairs or small groups, is relatively recent. Capturing the complexity of CPS processes in group-level interaction is challenging. Therefore, a method of analysis capturing various layers of CPS was developed that aimed for a deeper understanding of CPS as a small-group enactment. In the study, small groups of teacher education students worked on two variations of open-ended CPS tasks—a technology-enhanced task and a task using physical objects. The method, relying on video data, encompassed triangulation of analysis methods and combined the following: (a) directed content analysis of the actualized CPS in groups, (b) process analysis and visualizations, and (c) qualitative cases. Content analysis did not show a large variation in how CPS was actualized in the groups or tasks for either case, whereas process analysis revealed both group- and task-related differences in accordance with the interchange of CPS elements. The qualitative cases exemplified the interaction diversity in the quality of coordination and students’ equal participation in groups. It was concluded that combining different methods gives access to various layers of CPS; moreover, it can contribute to a deeper articulation of the CPS as a group-level construct, providing divergent ways to understand CPS in this context.
Conceptual challenge is often considered a necessary ingredient for promoting deep learning in an inquiry-based environment. However, challenge alone does not support conceptual development. In this paper, we draw on complexity theory as a theoretical lens to explore how a primary teacher facilitated students’ conceptual change through repeated cycles of challenge and support to develop increasingly robust concepts. Data are drawn from a primary class as they were developing initial understandings of distribution, informal statistical inference and sampling variability in the process of solving an extended mathematical inquiry problem. Data included classroom video, researcher journal and student work samples. The findings suggest two benefits to guiding students through multiple iterations of challenge and guidance: the opportunity to provoke and guide richer mathematical concepts; and the opportunity to provide earlier exposure to advanced mathematical concepts. Building on this research, we argue for the value of multiple iterations of challenge-support phases to develop increasingly robust understanding over time.
This study investigated students’ turn-taking patterns during dialogic collaborative problem solving, with analysis based on the participation-shift analytical framework. 168 primary fourth-grade students were assigned to 42 groups and worked on three mathematical problems for a total of 30 minutes. Group-level analysis revealed that most students accessed the conversational floor by receiving it from the last speaker. Usurping a floor offered to another person and claiming a floor opened to the whole group were positively associated with the intensity and the balance of group discussion. Individual-level analysis further identified four latent profiles of individuals with distinct turn-taking styles: turn-receivers (i.e., receiving the floor assigned by the last speaker) (15%), turn-usurpers (20%) (usurping the floor when it was offered to another person), turn-claimers (10%) (claiming the floor when it was opened to the whole group) and turn-balancers (55%) (no strong turn-taking tendency). Individual participation rates and prior Chinese grades proved to be the two most significant unique predictors of individual membership in the turn-usurper profile. The findings suggest ensuring students’ equitable access to the conversational floor and provide teachers with several specific turn-taking related approaches to promote equity and respect in peer talk.
Research on learning by teaching has mostly focused on the learning effects of teaching after preparing individually to teach. This study investigated the impact of preparing collaboratively (versus individually) to teach on learning by teaching. Japanese undergraduate students (n = 96) provided instructional explanations on video or listened to their partners’ instructional explanations after they had studied learning material for teaching in collaboration with their partners or had done so individually in the presence of their partners. Participants who prepared collaboratively to teach provided higher-quality instructional explanations on video and learned better by teaching than those who prepared individually to teach. The quality of the videotaped explanations significantly predicted the outcomes of learning by teaching. Whether after collaborative or individual preparation, there were no significant differences in learning outcomes between those who explained on video and those who listened to their partners’ explanations. These results suggest that although the learning effects of providing and listening to instructional explanations may be comparable, collaborative preparation is more beneficial to learning by teaching than individual preparation.
There is a need for effective methods to teach critical thinking (CT). One instructional method that seems promising is comparing correct and erroneous worked examples (i.e., contrasting examples). The aim of the present study, therefore, was to investigate the effect of contrasting examples on learning and transfer of CT-skills, focusing on avoiding biased reasoning. Students ( N = 170) received instructions on CT and avoiding biases in reasoning tasks, followed by: (1) contrasting examples, (2) correct examples, (3) erroneous examples, or (4) practice problems. Performance was measured on a pretest, immediate posttest, 3-week delayed posttest, and 9-month delayed posttest. Our results revealed that participants’ reasoning task performance improved from pretest to immediate posttest, and even further after a delay (i.e., they learned to avoid biased reasoning). Surprisingly, there were no differences in learning gains or transfer performance between the four conditions. Our findings raise questions about the preconditions of contrasting examples effects. Moreover, how transfer of CT-skills can be fostered remains an important issue for future research.
As knowledge derived from scientific theory can be helpful for teachers to reflect on their everyday teaching, universities have the challenging task of teaching this knowledge in such a way that pre-service teachers are able to apply it to their later teaching. Case-based learning has emerged as a promising method to foster pre-service teachers’ scientific knowledge application throughout university teacher education. However, surprisingly, empirical evidence for its effectiveness as compared to more traditional instructional interventions in teacher education is still inconclusive, partly being due to constraints concerning the employed comparison groups. The present quasi-experimental study (conducted in the field of classroom management) investigated the effect of studying exactly the same theoretical content with and without text-based cases on scientific knowledge application (as measured by a vignette test) in a sample of 101 pre-service teachers. Although the study found a small advantage for the case-based learning group, it demonstrated that scientific knowledge application may also be effectively fostered in a more traditional instructional course. The findings and their implications are discussed against the background of cognitive theories on inert knowledge and how to prevent it in teacher education.
Out-of-school labs (OSLs) aim to foster students’ interest in and knowledge about scientific ways of thinking and working by engaging them in authentic activities that emulate processes of scientific inquiry. However, research has not yet focused on investigating whether students perceive those activities as authentic and whether students’ perceived authenticity is related to further motivational (e.g. situational interest) or cognitive (e.g. achievement) learning outcomes. An authentic learning activity that emulates scientific inquiry processes is Productive Failure (PF). In PF, students are asked to explore solutions to a complex problem before they have to falsify their solutions during instruction. The present study, which aims to replicate the findings of a previous study, investigates whether PF has an impact on students’ perceived authenticity and their situational interest in an OSL for social sciences. We further examined whether students’ perceived authenticity is associated with their situational interest and knowledge acquisition. For this purpose, we conducted a quasi-experimental study with 152 10th graders and compared PF to Direct Instruction (DI). DI can be characterized as less authentic, as it promotes the conceptualization of scientific inquiry being nothing else but an application of instructions. The results mostly replicate the findings of the previous study, showing that the authenticity level of the learning activity did neither affect students’ perceived authenticity nor their situational interest. Furthermore, students’ perceived authenticity correlated with their situational interest but not with their knowledge acquisition. We discuss the results in light of previous research on the effectiveness of authentic learning settings.
In this mixed-method study, we investigated the impact and design of a multiuser, virtual reality (VR) supported teaching simulation, in comparison with live classroom teaching simulation, on the participatory training of teaching and the teaching knowledge development of student instructors. A total of 40 university teaching assistants participated in a 4-h training session in which they were randomly assigned to a VR simulation or a live classroom simulation condition. The study indicated that the VR simulation better promoted the lab-teaching knowledge development than the live simulation, whereas the latter better fostered class-teaching knowledge development. All participants reported higher teaching self-efficacy after the training. The qualitative data indicated that domain-specific challenges and authentic environmental prompting in the VR simulation fostered both experiential and vicarious learning of teaching. However, VR participants lacked mutual engagement in collaborative role-playing. The study findings suggest that VR-based simulation can supplement and work as an alternative to the live classroom simulation to host participatory teaching development.
Teacher learning is a huge challenge in instructional change, but relatively little work has carefully examined the mechanisms by which teachers learn, in contrast to the extensive work on programs that help teachers learn and the high-leverage instructional practices that are strong predictors of student learning. Specifically, relatively little is known about how teachers learn to effectively implement these new instructional practices. Using a mixed-methods, case-comparison design, this study examines specific instructional coaching practices that support 4th–8th grade mathematics teachers in learning to implement ambitious instructional practices. The study leverages a large, state-wide representative dataset in order to purposively select carefully-matched contrasting cases for qualitative analysis from a starting sample of hundreds of teachers, which enabled selecting teachers that began in a very similar place but then progressed at different rates. In-depth qualitative coding was systematically conducted on detailed transcripts of coach-teacher conversations from these carefully selected cases. Finally, these codes were analyzed quantitatively to determine whether the content and form of these conversations predicted improvement in teachers’ instructional practices. Results showed that coach-teacher pairs who discuss when and why certain practices should be implemented, and provide more opportunities for teacher input, see larger gains in ambitious instruction in later lessons. Implications for a coaching model based in the cognitive sciences are discussed.
This study investigated how metacognitive regulation (MR), especially its forms and foci, was manifested in less and more successful outcome groups’ collaborative science learning in diverse learning contexts. Whilst previous research has shown that different forms and foci of MR exist in collaborative learning, their role in groups’ learning outcomes remains unexplored. Drawing conclusions from different studies has been difficult because these have used different conceptualisations and analytic methods. In the present study, the learning processes of less and more successful outcome groups from three diverse collaborative science learning contexts were scrutinised. The contexts differed in academic level, disciplinary subject, and national culture. The same theory-based conceptualisations, coding systems, coders, and analyses were used across contexts. In addition, the tasks studied were designed using the same guiding principles. Transcribed video and audio recordings of the groups’ verbal interactions for two distinct interaction segments from these tasks formed the basis of the analyses. Manifestation of forms and foci of MR were quantitatively and qualitatively illustrated in each context. The main findings show that the manifestation of MR of less and more successful outcome groups demonstrated similarities and differences in the three different learning contexts. This study contributes to a contextualised understanding of MR in collaborative science learning, and highlights the importance of using similar, rigorous analytical tools across diverse contexts.