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.
While many view learning as a process of reducing learners’ uncertainty, research suggests that instruction that is uncertain can promote learning and transfer better than instruction that is certain. In addition, research on curiosity suggests that uncertainty is a key trigger of curiosity, which in turn can facilitate learning. However, educational research rarely examines the direct effects of uncertainty on curiosity, learning, or transfer. Additionally, research on the effect of curiosity on learning rarely considers state-level curiosity or how curiosity changes over time. In a study with 208 middle school students learning physics, we addressed these gaps. Participants in two conditions completed learning activities where they invented their own equations for physical science phenomena. The Low Uncertainty condition received relevant information on task process before inventing, while information on task process was withheld in the High Uncertainty (HU) condition, which received irrelevant information before inventing. Both conditions learned the physics content equally well, but the HU condition demonstrated greater state-level curiosity and performed better on transfer problems. Moreover, in both conditions, curiosity decreased over time as students gained more information. Surprisingly, curiosity did not predict learning or transfer, which suggests that curiosity was not the mechanism by which uncertainty influenced transfer. This study advances the notion that introducing uncertainty in learning activities can, perhaps counter-intuitively, promote transfer of knowledge across contexts while also rousing learners’ curiosity. This work demonstrates a practical way for educators to induce uncertainty, by withholding information about task process. This research also broadens our understanding of how to provoke curiosity in classroom contexts.
Significance of forms and foci of metacognitive regulation in collaborative science learning of less and more successful outcome groups in diverse contexts
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.
Scrum methodology in context-based secondary chemistry classes: effects on students’ achievement and on students’ perceptions of affective and metacognitive dimensions of their learning
Teaching with Scrum methodology includes ceremonies, roles and artefacts supporting students in planning, monitoring and directing their learning process. It scaffolds students’ learning in complex and sometimes overwhelming context-based learning environments. Effects of the implementation on both students’ learning outcomes and self-reported perceptions of six affective and metacognitive outcomes were investigated. Six teachers implemented Scrum methodology in a context-based secondary chemistry module on Green Chemistry. Their classes formed the experimental group. Based on how students experienced the quality of the implementation, teachers of the experimental group were subdivided into top-teachers and growth-teachers. Consequently, their students formed two sub-experimental groups. The comparison group, which did not use Scrum methodology, consisted of students taught by four teachers. A pre-test post-test control group design was used to study its effect on students’ achievements and self-reported affective and metacognitive outcomes. Students of both experimental groups outperformed students of the comparison group with a large effect-size (top-teachers); and medium effect-size (growth-teachers) on learning outcomes. Findings on students’ perceptions of affective and metacognitive outcomes revealed medium and small effects of Scrum methodology. Despite the fact that the implementation is challenging for teachers, it appears that Scrum methodology has positive effects on students’ achievement and on students’ perceptions of affective and metacognitive dimensions of their learning.
Designing computer-based tests: design guidelines from multimedia learning studied with eye tracking
The use of computer-based tests (CBTs), for both formative and summative purposes, has greatly increased over the past years. One major advantage of CBTs is the easy integration of multimedia. It is unclear, though, how to design such CBT environments with multimedia. The purpose of the current study was to examine whether guidelines for designing multimedia instruction based on the Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) and Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning (CTML) will yield similar effects in CBT. In a within-subject design, thirty-three vocational students completed a computer-based arithmetic exam, in which half of the items were presented in an original design format, and the other half was redesigned based on the CTML principles for instructional design (i.e., adapted format). Results showed that applying CTML principles to a CBT decreased the difficulty of the test items, i.e., students scored significantly higher on the adapted test items. Moreover, eye-tracking data showed that the adapted items required less visual search and increased attention for the question and answer. Finally, cognitive load, measured as silent pauses during a secondary think-aloud task, decreased. Mean fixation duration (a different indicator of cognitive load), however, did not significantly differ between adapted and original items. These results indicate that applying multimedia principles to CBTs can be beneficial. It seems to prevent cognitive overload and helps students to focus on important parts of the test items (e.g., the question), leading to better test results.
Do prior knowledge, model-observer similarity and social comparison influence the effectiveness of eye movement modeling examples for supporting multimedia learning?
We investigated in an experiment with 180 university students the joint role of prior knowledge, alleged model competence, and social comparison orientation regarding the effectiveness of Eye Movement Modeling Examples (EMME) for supporting multimedia learning. EMME consisted of short videos with gaze replays of an instructed model demonstrating effective multimedia processing strategies. Participants were either instructed that the model in the EMME-videos was a successful learner (competent model) or another participant (peer model). Participants in a control condition received no EMME. Furthermore, we activated domain-relevant prior knowledge in half of the participants before watching the EMME. Against our expectations, we found no influence of either prior knowledge activation or model-observer similarity. As expected, our results indicated that EMME fostered multimedia learning. This was also supported by findings from small-scale meta-analyses that were conducted with the focus on the effect of EMME for multimedia learning and potential moderators of the effect. Moreover, results showed first evidence that social comparison orientation interacts with (alleged) model competence regarding the effectiveness of EMME. Further research is needed to follow up on the influence of individual factors as well as social cues on the effectiveness of EMME.
Filling in the gaps: observing gestures conveying additional information can compensate for missing verbal content
While observing gesture has been shown to benefit narrative recall and learning, research has yet to show whether gestures that provide information that is missing from speech benefit narrative recall. This study explored whether observing gestures that relay the same information as speech and gestures that provide information missing from speech differentially affect narrative recall in university students. Participants were presented with a videotaped narrative told in one of four conditions: with gestures and no missing verbal information, with gestures and missing verbal information, with no gestures and no missing verbal information, or with no gestures and missing verbal information. Results showed that observing gestures that provided additional information to speech (i.e., when the speech was missing vital information) enhanced narrative recall compared to observing no gestures, while observing gestures that did not provide additional information to speech were no more beneficial than observing no gestures at all. Findings from the current study provide valuable insight into the beneficial effect of iconic gesture on narrative recall, with important implications for education and learning.
Enhancing students’ critical thinking skills: is comparing correct and erroneous examples beneficial?
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.
Fostering pre-service teachers’ theoretical knowledge application: studying with and without text-based cases
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.
Investigating students’ perceived authenticity of learning activities in an out-of-school lab for social sciences: a replication study
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.
Exploring multiuser virtual teaching simulation as an alternative learning environment for student instructors
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.
Virtual learning environments have the potential to support students’ development of design skills in engineering education. However, few approaches exist for modeling and measuring design learning as it emerges in authentic practices, which often includes collaboration. This study merges learning sciences research with engineering design education to develop an approach for modeling and measuring design thinking. I propose a connected design rationale model which identifies relationships among design moves and rationale. Results from a qualitative examination of how professional engineers make connections among moves and rationales were used as the foundation to examine students in virtual internships. Using digital collaborative chat data and Epistemic Network Analysis (ENA), the discourse networks of students who had high and low scores in the virtual internship were compared to the discourse patterns of professional engineers to determine if measuring connected design rationale reveals meaningful differences between expert and novice design thinking. The results show a significant difference between high and low-performing students in terms of their patterns of connections and that high-performing students in the virtual internship made connections that were more like experts than low-performing students. Results suggest that a connected design rationale model distinguishes between experts and novices in meaningful ways and can be a robust approach for research in learning sciences and engineering education.
Could probability be out of proportion? Self-explanation and example-based practice help students with lower proportional reasoning skills learn probability
Proportional reasoning failures seem to constitute most errors in probabilistic reasoning, yet there is little empirical evidence about its role for attaining probabilistic knowledge and how to effectively intervene with students who have less proportional reasoning skills. We examined the contributions of students' proportional reasoning skill and example-based practice when learning about probabilities from a reformed seventh grade curriculum. Teachers in their regular classrooms were randomly assigned to instruct with a reformed textbook (control) or a version revised to incorporate correct and incorrect example problems with prompts to explain (treatment). Students' prior knowledge in proportional reasoning skill separately predicted probabilistic knowledge at posttest, regardless of their prior knowledge in probability or minority status. Overall, students in the treatment condition improved more in their probabilistic knowledge, if they started with less proportional reasoning skills. Our findings suggest that example-based practice is beneficial for students with less prior knowledge of proportions, likely a key concept for developing probabilistic knowledge.
The aim of this experiment was to examine the effect of different instructional strategies on student teachers’ confirmation bias. Confirmation bias refers to the selectivity in finding and using evidence that fits one’s own beliefs or hypotheses while neglecting evidence that is opposite to one’s own beliefs or hypotheses (Nickerson, 1998). Dutch student teachers (n = 141) took a confirmation bias pre-test and were then randomly assigned to three conditions; teaching on video (TOV), preparing to teach (PTT) and re-study (CC). All participants received text-based instruction on confirmation bias and how it can be mitigated. They also practised with confirmation bias tasks and they received feedback on their answers. Subsequently, participants in the TOV and PTT conditions prepared a lesson about the instructional content and in the TOV condition they taught this lesson on video. After the learning phase, TOV and PTT participants completed a social presence questionnaire. All participants completed an arousal questionnaire and a confirmation bias post-test and a transfer test. The results showed that confirmation bias was reduced to a similar extent in all conditions. Results also showed that the quality of the prepared lesson was highest for TOV participants suggesting they had gained better understanding of the confirmation bias than PTT participants. Furthermore, in contrast to our expectations, PTT participants reported highest social presence scores. TOV participants experienced higher arousal levels compared to CC participants. Transfer scores did not differ between conditions. We discuss theoretical explanations of the findings from the present study.
Teaching argumentative synthesis writing through deliberative dialogues: instructional practices in secondary education
Dialogical argumentation practice contributes positively to argumentative writing skills. Specifically, deliberative dialogues are effective in promoting argument and counterargument integration in students' essays. However, the potential of dialogic activities may be increased if they are combined with instructional practices. The primary objective of this research is to compare the impact of four intervention programs, aimed at improving argumentative synthesis writing from conflicting sources. The four programs resulted from the combination of two instructional components (Explicit Instruction through video modelling—EI, or a Procedural Guideline—G), while Deliberative Dialogues—DD—were a constant element. We conducted a pre-post quasi-experimental study in which 186 Spanish third grade secondary school students (aged 14–15) participated. We evaluated the quality of the syntheses by examining the level of argumentative coverage (the total number of arguments included in the synthesis) and the level of integration (the type and frequency of the argumentative strategies used in the syntheses). The results showed that the effectiveness of the instructional methods varies according to the synthesis quality indicator. Explicit instruction, in combination with deliberative dialogues, was especially helpful in improving the level of integration of syntheses. The procedural guideline, in combination with deliberative dialogues, contributed significantly to the coverage of arguments. The combination of these two elements did not favor the writing of synthesis as expected, probably due to the conditions in which the intervention was carried out. The findings of this study revealed that the coverage of arguments and integration processes are of different nature, follow different learning paths and require different instructional processes.
The present study examines the effectiveness of incorporating worked examples with prompts for self-explanation into a middle school math textbook. Algebra 1 students (N = 75) completed an equation-solving unit with textbooks either containing the original practice problems or in which a portion of those problems were converted into a combination of correct, incorrect, and incomplete examples. Students completed pre- and posttest measures of algebraic feature knowledge, equation-solving skills, and error anticipation. Example-based textbook assignments increased students’ equation-solving skills and their ability to anticipate errors one might make when solving problems. Differences in students’ anticipation of various types of errors are also examined. Error anticipation, a particular form of negative knowledge, is a potentially important skill that relates to algebraic feature knowledge and equation-solving skills.
When learning from animations is more successful than learning from static pictures: learning the specifics of change
The results of three meta-analyses show that the effectiveness of learning from animations, when compared to learning from static pictures, is rather limited. A recent re-analysis of one of these meta-analyses, however, supports that learning from animations is considerably more effective than learning from static pictures if the specifics of the displayed changes need to be learned. In order to further validate this finding as well as to clarify the educational strengths and weaknesses of animations and static pictures, an experimental study with three groups was conducted. Overall, 88 university students participated in the study. One group of learners (n = 30) watched a single picture of a gear mechanism, one group of learners (n = 28) watched four pictures, and one group of learners (n = 30) watched an animation. All groups had to identify specific motions and spatial arrangements covered by the gear mechanism. While learners who watched the animation exhibited the best performance with respect to the identification of motions, learners who watched the pictures showed the best performance with respect to the identification of spatial arrangements. The effect sizes are large. The results of the study help to clarify when animations and when static pictures are most suitable for learning.