Instructional Science

Learning paths in synthesis writing: Which learning path contributes most to which learning outcome?

2 weeks ago
Abstract

This paper presents a secondary analysis of data collected during an intervention study in which students learnt to synthesise pairs of texts presenting opposite views on controversial issues. The original intervention study included two treatments and examined the effects of two instruction conditions when instructional materials and tasks were held constant. The participants were 114 undergraduate psychology students. The object of the instruction was a guide on strategies for writing an argumentative synthesis text. However, the instruction varied between explicit strategy instruction, consisting of explaining each of the process’s four phases (exploring and identifying arguments and counterarguments, contrasting positions, drawing an integrative conclusion, and organising and revising the final draft), modelled via videos, versus self-study of the written strategy guide. After the initial instruction session, the students in both groups practiced collaboratively writing synthesis texts over two sessions with access to the strategy guide. The primary study compared the individually written pre- and posttest syntheses and found statistically significant differences favouring explicit instruction in both dependent variables: the argumentation coverage and the level of integration. The secondary analysis reported in the current paper involved scoring additional written syntheses produced during two practice sessions and then analysing the data for all time points (pretest, posttest, and the two practice sessions) using structural equation modelling (SEM) to test whether explicit instruction directly or indirectly affected the two indicators of good argumentative synthesis texts—argument coverage and integration—via the following collaborative practice. The results suggested two different learning paths for both dependent variables: explicit instruction is effective for both variables, while collaborative practice only has an additional indirect effect on argument coverage.

Examining the instructor-student collaborative partnership in an online learning community course

3 weeks 4 days ago
Abstract

Education is under a radical transformation in the current innovation-driven knowledge age. The instructor-student collaborative partnership has the potential to transform education from traditional instructor-directed, transmissive teaching to active, participatory student-centered learning. However, relevant inquiry indicates the conceptual, analytical, and practical gaps on the instructor-student collaborative partnership. This study aims to conceptualize, analyze, and foster the instructor-student collaborative partnership in higher education contexts. To achieve this purpose, we empirically investigate the instructor-student collaborative partnership in an online course where the instructor uses a learning-community approach to foster learning. Using mixed methods, we examine the instructor-student collaborative partnership from the participation frequency, engagement move, and participant perception perspectives. Results show that the instructor and students not only actively participate in learning, instruction, and social environment building processes, but also maintain mutual interactions, communications, and actions to construct knowledge, to design and facilitate discussions, and to build a social learning environment. In addition, most participants perceive a sense of an online learning community in this online course. Based on the results, we provide theoretical, analytical, and pedagogical implications to advance the theory, analysis, and practice of the instructor-student collaborative partnership.

Combining verbal and visual cueing: Fostering learning pictorial content by coordinating verbal explanations with different types of visual cueing

3 weeks 5 days ago
Abstract

Multimedia learning scenarios in which a picture is the main focus often use combinations of verbal and visual cueing. Based on models of picture processing and multimedia learning, the present study examined the effect of verbal and visual cueing on two basic aspects of pictorial learning: retention and localization of pictorial elements. Videos of three paintings were presented with verbal cueing (naming of pictorial elements), either alone or in combination with visual frames (explicit cues) or zoom-ins (implicit cues), in a 2 × 3 × 3 mixed design (n = 86) with the factors verbal cueing (uncued vs. cued elements, within-subjects) × visual cueing (no vs. explicit vs. implicit, between-subjects) × film (Mantegna vs. Rubens vs. Marsh, within-subjects). The three films were used to check whether our results are generalizable across different pictorial contents. The retention of pictorial elements was measured by open questions, and the localization of the pictorial elements was measured by asking the participants to place picture snippets at the correct location on an area representing the dimensions of the respective painting. The combination of verbal and visual cueing increased the difference between the cued and the less well retained uncued elements and compensated a disadvantage of verbal cueing for localization performance. This was compensated by both types of visual cueing. Regarding retention and localization, explicit and implicit cueing were equally effective. The study provides a differentiated insight into the interplay of verbal and visual cueing regarding cognitive processing in multimedia learning scenarios in which pictures are the main learning focus.

Unraveling the implicit challenges in fostering independence: Supervision of Chinese doctoral students at Dutch universities

3 weeks 5 days ago
Abstract

Training researchers represents a substantially deeply international activity for higher education, and yet the transition into independence, a critical aim of doctoral education, remains a challenge for both supervisors and doctoral students, especially those from different cultural backgrounds. Interactions between Chinese doctoral students and their supervisors at Dutch universities exemplify the challenges in such an intercultural context. Interviews with 21 Chinese doctoral students and 16 supervisors from three Dutch universities reveal three potential challenges to fostering independence: (1) misalignment in supervisors’ and students’ conceptualizations of independence due to implicit diversity; (2) misalignment between supervisory support and students’ zone of proximal development (ZPD) of independence, as derived from the broader ZPD concept, especially in the first year of the doctoral study; and (3) a gap between supervisors’ interpretation of students’ visible learning behavior and students’ actual concerns. We provide a rich description of these hidden challenges and conclude with a framework outlining the relationships among the three layers of challenges. In so doing, we provide detailed information and a practical tool for supervisors to increase students’ awareness and skills, accurately diagnose students’ ZPD, recognize and reduce any potential misalignments in time, and thereby support students’ transition into independence. We conclude by discussing the practical and theoretical implications of our findings for supervisors and students in other intercultural contexts to reflect on their own practices and explore new ways of promoting international students’ transition into independence.

The effect of contrasting cases during problem solving prior to and after instruction

1 month ago
Abstract

Research on productive failure suggests that attempting to solve a problem prior to instruction facilitates conceptual understanding compared to receiving instruction prior to problem solving. The assumptions are that during the problem-solving phase, students activate their prior knowledge, become aware of their knowledge gaps, and discover deep features of the target content, which prepares them to better process the subsequent instruction. Unclear is whether this effect results from merely changing the order of the learning phases (i.e., instruction or problem solving first) or from additional features, such as presenting problem-solving material in the form of cases that differ in one feature at a time. Contrasting such cases may highlight the deep features and provide grounded feedback to students’ problem-solving attempts. In addition, the effect of the order of instruction and problem solving on procedural fluency is still unclear. The present experiment (N = 181, mean age = 14.53) investigated in a 2 × 2 design the effects of order (instruction or problem solving first) and of contrasting cases in the problem-solving material (yes/no) on conceptual understanding and procedural fluency. Additionally, the quality and quantity of students’ solution attempts from the problem-solving phase were coded. Regarding the learning outcomes, the ANOVA results suggest that for procedural fluency instruction prior to problem solving was more beneficial than problem solving prior to instruction. Merely delaying instruction did not increase conceptual understanding. The contrasting cases did not affect the quality of solution attempts, nor the posttest results. As expected, students who received instruction first generated fewer, but higher-quality solution attempts.

Constructing a model of engagement in scientific inquiry: investigating relationships between inquiry-related curiosity, dimensions of engagement, and inquiry abilities

2 months ago
Abstract

According to policy documents and research studies, one key objective of science education is to develop students’ inquiry abilities; however, relatively little is known about the interplay among students’ inquiry abilities, the dimensions of their engagement, and their inquiry-related curiosity. The purpose of this study is to explore how four dimensions of engagement (i.e., cognitive, behavioral, emotional, and social) were driven by inquiry-related curiosity and how they affected the students’ inquiry abilities. Structural equation modeling was employed to analyze data collected from 605 11th graders, including their responses to items in an online questionnaire and their performances on a computer-based assessment of scientific inquiry abilities. The results showed that students’ curiosity was associated with their inquiry abilities, and such an association was partially mediated by the four dimensions of engagement in science laboratory classes. Moreover, the results revealed that among the four dimensions of engagement, only cognitive and emotional engagement had significant total effects on students’ inquiry abilities and that the influence of behavioral and social engagement on inquiry abilities was completely mediated by cognitive engagement. This study suggests a critical role played by emotional engagement, cognitive engagement, and curiosity in developing students’ inquiry abilities.

Understanding instructional design effects by differentiated measurement of intrinsic, extraneous, and germane cognitive load

2 months ago
Abstract

Instructional design deals with the optimization of learning processes. To achieve this, three aspects need to be considered: (1) the learning task itself, (2) the design of the learning material, and (3) the activation of the learner’s cognitive processes during learning. Based on Cognitive Load Theory, learners also need to deal with the task itself, the design of the material, and the decision on how much to invest into learning. To link these concepts, and to help instructional designers and teachers, cognitive load during learning needs to be differentially measured. This article reviews studies using a questionnaire to measure intrinsic, extraneous and germane cognitive load in order to provide evidence for the instruments’ prognostic validity. Six exemplary studies from different domains with different variations of the learning material were chosen to show that the theoretically expected effects on different types of load are actually reflected in the learners’ answers in the questionnaire. Major hypotheses regarding the different load types were (1) variations in difficulty are reflected in the scale on intrinsic cognitive load, (2) variations in design are reflected in the scale on extraneous cognitive load, and (3) variations in enhancing deeper learning through activation of cognitive processes are reflected in the scale on germane cognitive load. We found prognostic validity to be good. The review concludes by discussing the practical and theoretical implications, as well as pointing out the limitations and needs for further research.

This is easy, you can do it! Feedback during mathematics problem solving is more beneficial when students expect to succeed

2 months ago
Abstract

Students’ problem-solving success depends on more than their knowledge and abilities. One factor that may play a role is the teacher’s expectations of students. The current study focused on how a teacher’s explicitly-stated expectations influence students’ ability to learn from corrective feedback during problem solving. On the one hand, setting low expectations (e.g., this task is hard, you’ll likely fail) may help students avoid disappointment in response to negative feedback, thereby facilitating student learning. On the other hand, setting low expectations may produce a self-fulfilling prophecy in which negative feedback confirms the teacher’s expectations and hinders student learning. In a controlled experiment, undergraduate students (N = 160) were randomly assigned to one of four conditions based on a crossing of two factors: teacher expectations for the student (success or failure) and verification feedback during problem solving (yes or no). Posttest performance revealed that feedback had negative effects when teachers set low expectations for students. Results suggest that basic feedback may be more beneficial when teachers help students set their expectations for success.

The effect of team learning behaviours and team mental models on teacher team performance

2 months ago
Abstract

Teams become a key resource for organisations to meet different challenges. Thus a high team performance is essential in work context. The aim of this study was to get a deeper understanding of meaningful team learning and team mental models in educational contexts, by analysing the effect of team learning behaviours (TLBs) on the development of task-related team mental model (Task-TMM) and team performance. A three-wave longitudinal survey was conducted among interdisciplinary vocational teacher teams (N = 66 teams with 276 team members). TLBs and team performance were measured by validated scales. Task-TMM was measured by an open question about the work tasks of the teams to achieve its goals. The answers were evaluated by content analysis and categorised according to their semantic similarity. Path modelling of the data shows that TLBs have a positive effect on developing Task-TMM and on team performance in terms of effectiveness, efficiency and innovativeness. Task-TMM has a positive effect on effectiveness but not on efficiency or innovativeness. The results provide insights into how teachers’ team performance can be fostered, such as by fostering TLBs creating a learning environment where team members depend on each other to accomplish their work tasks. Especially the longitudinal design and the type of analysis of Task-TMM provides new and deep insights into the relationship between TLBs, Task-TMM and team performance. Through the qualitative approach investigating Task-TMM the study also provides insight into the work tasks of teams in detail.