Instructional Science

Is drawing after learning effective for metacognitive monitoring only when supported by spatial scaffolds?

1 day 2 hours ago
Abstract

In this study, we investigated whether drawing after learning supports metacognitive monitoring especially when students are supported in their drawing efforts. Therefore, eighty-eight participants were randomly assigned to one of three experimental groups. They were asked to learn from a text comprising five paragraphs about the formation of auroras. After reading each of the five paragraphs, one group had to mentally imagine the contents (control group), a second group had to draw from scratch, and a third group had to draw with the help of spatial scaffolds. All participants provided judgments of learning (JOL) for each paragraph, and took a knowledge test afterwards. Results revealed that students who drew, both with and without scaffold, monitored their learning more accurately on an absolute level. Even though there were no differences between the two drawing conditions for monitoring accuracy, JOLs were based on the actual drawing quality only when students drew with the help of spatial scaffolds. Results thus hint towards the potential of (scaffolded) drawing to support metacognitive monitoring. Reasons for why drawing with spatial scaffolds did not improve monitoring compared to drawing from scratch are discussed.

Mine the process: investigating the cyclical nature of upper primary school students’ self-regulated learning

3 days 2 hours ago
Abstract

The present study investigates primary school students’ self-regulated learning (SRL) process by exploring the sequence in which SRL activities are conducted during learning. The aims of this study are twofold: investigating the presence of the theoretically hypothesized cyclical nature in students’ SRL process, as well as potential differences herein for high, average, and low achievers. Think-aloud data of 104 upper primary school students were analysed by means of process mining analysis. The results indicate that students commonly adopt a cyclical approach to learning by implementing preparatory, performance, and appraisal activities during learning. However, the results indicate clear differences in the quality of students’ SRL process. High achievers, compared to low and average achievers, show a more strategic and adaptive approach to learning during all phases of their learning process. They more strategically and effectively orient on and plan assignments, combine different cognitive strategies, and adopt self-evaluation to regulate their learning process.

Teacher and student enactments of a transdisciplinary art-science-computing unit

2 weeks 2 days ago
Abstract

Transdisciplinary learning environments have potential to bring together the arts, sciences, and computing within schools. We investigate the student and teacher enactment of sensemaking practices that break down disciplinary silos. We describe a pedagogical approach, Luminous Science, where students make dynamic, computationally-rich artistic representations of data from a classroom garden. Then we present an analysis of students’ sensemaking practices used during the transdisciplinary unit in three cases of art, science and computing classrooms. Qualitative analysis of a student group and teachers’ curricular materials in each of these classrooms elucidates how teachers’ enactment choices, organization, and facilitation of the unit we co-designed with them facilitated opportunities for students’ transdisciplinary thinking and learning. We show that when teachers’ enactments supported increased computational complexity and ties between artifact and phenomenon, then students participated in deeper transdisciplinary sensemaking. We discuss the implications for the design of curricular materials and professional development to support effective organization and discourse practices by teachers in orchestrating transdisciplinary sensemaking.

The effect of grade framing on task engagement, task completion, and anticipated regret

1 month ago
Abstract

Student tasks are assigned frequently in higher education to facilitate learning. For the students, the task grade is one of the motivating components for successfully performing a task. In this study, we presented students with a hypothetical task under different but equivalent grade computations (framings). Based upon principles derived from behavioral economics, the grade computations were framed as a loss or gain and explicitly or implicitly. Responding to each of these framings, 365 undergraduates reported their level of task engagement, task completion, and their anticipated regret for not completing the task (student outcomes). Findings revealed that when the task grade was framed as producing a potential loss in points, respondents reported higher student outcome levels than when framed as producing a potential gain in the grade. Furthermore, framing the grade’s consequence explicitly (without requiring the students to calculate it) had a stronger positive effect on student outcomes than when framing it implicitly.

Exploring problem conceptualization and performance in STEM problem solving contexts

1 month ago
Abstract

Problem solving abilities are critical components of contemporary Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. Research in the area of problem solving has uncovered much about the representation, processes and heuristic approaches to problem solving. However, critics claim this overemphasis on the process of solving problems has led to a dearth in understanding of the earlier stages such as problem conceptualization. This paper aims to address some of these concerns by exploring the area of problem conceptualization and the underlying cognitive mechanisms that may play a supporting role in reasoning success. Participants (N = 12) were prescribed a series of convergent problem-solving tasks representative of those used for developmental purposes in STEM education. During the problem-solving episodes, cognitive data were gathered by means of an electroencephalographic headset and used to investigate students’ cognitive approaches to conceptualizing the tasks. In addition, interpretive qualitative data in the form of post-task interviews and problem solutions were collected and analyzed. Overall findings indicated a significant reliance on memory during the conceptualization of the convergent problem-solving tasks. In addition, visuospatial cognitive processes were found to support the conceptualization of convergent problem-solving tasks. Visuospatial cognitive processes facilitated students during the conceptualization of convergent problems by allowing access to differential semantic content in long-term memory.

Split up, but stay together: Collaboration and cooperation in mathematical problem solving

1 month 1 week ago
Abstract

Conditions under which group work leads to learning have been studied in collaborative settings. Little is known, however, about whether and how the interplay between collaboration and cooperation impinges on group learning. In this paper, we study this interplay in the context of mathematical problem-solving. We focus on how training students to learn together influences this interplay, and on the relations of this interplay with mathematical problem-solving. Five groups of Grade 8 students participated in a course aimed at fostering learning to solve mathematical problems in small groups. Before and after the course, they solved a mathematical problem. An increase in the ratio of cooperation episodes out of total group work time was observed, as well as advancements in mathematical problem-solving. In addition, we found a mid-high correlation between instances of cooperation and mathematical activity: up to a certain threshold, cooperating more in a group yielded an increase in the individual generation of mathematical claims and arguments. We identified the critical role of coordination: for group learning to be productive, students should continuously negotiate and adjust their goals through communication before or while they cooperate on different tasks. We conclude that teachers aiming at fostering group work should encourage the diversification of modes of group work, for the advancement of mathematical problem-solving or of any case in which individual settings are too challenging.

Comparing first- and third-person perspectives in early elementary learning of honeybee systems

1 month 1 week ago
Abstract

Prior literature has begun to demonstrate that even young children can learn about complex systems using participatory simulations. This study disentangles the impacts of third-person perspectives (offered by traditional simulations) and first-person perspectives (offered by participatory simulations) on children’s development of such systems thinking in the context of the emergent complexity of honeybee nectar foraging. Specifically, we worked with three first-grade classrooms assigned to one of three conditions—instruction through use of a first-person perspective only, third-person perspective only, and integrated instruction—to engage ideas of complex systems thinking. In each condition, systems concepts were targeted through instruction and assessment. The integrated and third-person classrooms demonstrated significant gains while the first-person classroom showed gains that were not statistically significant, suggesting that third-person perspectives play a critical role in how children learn systems thinking. This work also puts forth a novel assessment design for young children using multiple-choice questions.

A framework for exploring small group learning in high school science classrooms: The triple problem solving space

1 month 1 week ago
Abstract

Classroom activities using an inquiry approach often feature students working in small groups to reduce teacher-centeredness and maximize student autonomy. Within science classrooms, group work may mirror modern scientific research: successful interaction among team members (social/relational) that engages probing questioning and creativity (cognitive/content) with emotional attachment to their work (affective). Previous research on small group work in school science focused either on single dimensions of group work—mostly on needed cognitive resources, e.g., knowledge and skills for understanding and addressing the problem—or on the interplay between cognitive and social resources (e.g., science knowledge and capacity to foster group interactions), while the role of affects is relatively unexplored. We propose that group work demands the collective construction of a “triple problem solving space” in which all three dimensions—cognitive/content (the problem to be solved), social/relational (the challenges based on social interactions within the group), and affective (the emotional life of the group)—are developed on a moment-by-moment basis. Assessing whether and to what extent students collectively construct a positive triple problem solving space, we videotaped small groups’ interactions (3–4 students per group) during inquiry-based activities in three ninth grade science classes. Results showed that when a group collectively positions itself positively in terms of social and affective dynamics, it tends to engage effectively in the cognitive aspects of the assigned tasks. The qualitative analysis further highlights the socially-shared regulation processes that involve an ongoing negotiation between intra- and inter-individual resources and which are the result of each group member deploying individual resources along each dimension, monitoring and evaluating their peers’ processes, and adjusting their processes accordingly through integration of information from self and others.

Situational interest helps correct misconceptions: An investigation of conceptual change in university students

1 month 1 week ago
Abstract

Many learners possess misconceptions regarding instructional content; toward this aim, educational practitioners employ teaching practices that support learners’ efforts to restructure their existing knowledge structures—a process known as conceptual change. The Cognitive Reconstruction of Knowledge Model emphasizes the importance of conceptual dissatisfaction, topic interest, and learners’ need for cognition in the process of conceptual change. However, most conceptual change studies have failed to differentiate the contribution of dispositional and situational interest to the revision of conceptual understanding. The current study was designed to test key predictions of the Cognitive Reconstruction of Knowledge Model while also exploring the influence of dispositional and situational interest on the conceptual change process. Participants (N = 360) recruited from two universities in the United States completed measures assessing pre- and post-test knowledge, individual and situational interest, need for cognition, dissatisfaction, and cognitive engagement. Further, participants read a refutational text designed to address commonly endorsed misconceptions regarding HIV/AIDS. Results of a path analysis indicated situational interest exerted a significant indirect effect on conceptual change scores through cognitive engagement. Contrary to the predictions of the Cognitive Reconstruction of Knowledge Model, our findings indicated that the need for cognition, individual interest, and cognitive conflict were not significant predictors of conceptual change. We believe the findings of our investigation highlight the importance of fostering situational interest when attempting to promote knowledge reconstruction among learners.

Negotiating status hierarchies in middle school inquiry science: implications for marginal non-participation

1 month 3 weeks ago
Abstract

While previous classroom studies of status hierarchies tell us who has low status and how to increase those learners’ participation in small group contexts via teacher-led interventions, we know little about how one becomes low status, or the role peers play in legitimating or delegitimating inequitable relations. This study used the sociocultural concept of marginal non-participation to describe interactional moves learners use to navigate status hierarchies in an inquiry science context where student authority may permit learners to obstruct peers’ participation. Participants were three collaborative groups of 3–4 learners in 7th grade science classrooms where a series of inquiry curriculum units were being implemented. Interviews were used alongside a microgenetic analysis of video-recorded group work observations to identify interactions that legitimated and delegitimated status hierarchies. Legitimation involved communicating acceptance of differential belonging and competence while delegitimation involved challenging differential reward by fostering widespread participation. Low- and high-status group members were active in both processes. Results suggest that diffuse status characteristics and science capital inform how status hierarchies are negotiated and that learners adapt disciplinary norms for status legitimating and delegitimating ends. Implications for learners’ participation in scientific practices and identification with science are discussed.

Can we further improve tablet-based drawing to enhance learning? An empirical test of two types of support

2 months ago
Abstract

Digital drawing can foster learning, but only if the drawing is of sufficient quality. Hence, the focus of the present study was to investigate whether and how two types of drawing support may foster drawing quality and, in turn, learning outcomes. To this end, participants (N = 156) were randomly assigned to one of four conditions, in which they either just read text (control), were prompted to make a free-hand representational drawing (unsupported drawing), or they were additionally supported in their drawing efforts because a background (global support) or single elements for the drawing (local support) were already provided. Learning outcomes were assessed by means of recognition, transfer, and a drawing test. Results revealed that students from all three drawing conditions (unsupported, global, and local support) scored better on the transfer and drawing tests than the control condition. Both types of drawing support did neither increase drawing quality nor learning in comparison to unsupported drawing. Reasons for the latter findings are discussed.

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

3 months 1 week 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 months 1 week 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 months 1 week 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 months 1 week 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

3 months 1 week 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.