Academic journal article CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal

Do Learning Activities Improve Students' Ability to Construct Explanatory Models with a Prism Foil Problem?1

Academic journal article CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal

Do Learning Activities Improve Students' Ability to Construct Explanatory Models with a Prism Foil Problem?1

Article excerpt

The transfer of knowledge is considered to be a fundamental goal of educa- tion; therefore, knowing and understanding the conditions that influence the efficiency of the transfer from learning activity to problem solving play a decisive role in the improvement of science education. In this article, the results of a study of 196 highschool students' ability to transfer knowl- edge in explanatory model construction are present. Three test groups were formed, traditional, prediction and lab groups, in which students were involved in three different learning activities. A week after instruc- tion, students were tested with a foil test and Lawson's Classroom Test of Scientific Reasoning. According to the results, little knowledge transfer from learning activities to the foil test occurred. Among the three tested learning methods, the one asking for prediction seems to best improve the transfer of knowledge. Time spent on activities had little or no effect on the transfer of knowledge. Some possible reasons for the observed results are presented, and the importance of correct scientific explanation during the learning process is considered.

Keywords: Knowledge transfer; Prism foil problem; Learning activities; Explanatory model; Prediction; laboratory activity

Ali razlicne aktivnosti pri ucenju lahko izboljsajo sposobnost dijakov pri konstruiranju razlagalnega modela pri problemu prizmaticne folije?

Mihael Gojkosek*, Josip Slisko in Gorazd Planinsic

Transfer znanja se pojmuje kot temeljni cilj poucevanja. Za izboljsanje poucevanja naravoslovja je pomembno poznati in razumeti pogoje, ki vplivajo na ucinkovitost transferja z ucne aktivnosti na resevanje prob- lema. V prispevku bomo predstavili izsledke raziskave o sposobnosti transferja znanja 196 srednjesolcev pri oblikovanju razlagalnega mo- dela. Oblikovali smo tri testne skupine - tradicionalno, napovedovalno in laboratorijsko, v katerih so dijaki izvajali tri razlicne ucne aktivnosti. En teden po izvedeni ucni aktivnosti so dijaki resili test o prizmaticni foliji in Lawsonov test znanstvenega sklepanja (Lawson's Classroom Test of Scientific Reasoning). Izsledki so pokazali, da je bil transfer znanja z ucnih aktivnosti na test o foliji majhen. Med tremi eksperimentalnimi skupinami je bil povecan transfer se najvecji pri napovedovalni skupi- ni. Trajanje ucne aktivnosti je imelo majhen oz. nicen vpliv na transfer znanja. Predstavili bomo nekaj mogocih razlag za pridobljene izsledke in razpravljali o pomenu pravilne znanstvene razlage med ucnim procesom.

Kljucne besede: transfer znanja, problem prizmaticne folije, ucne dejavnosti, razlagalni model, napovedovanje, laboratorijska aktivnost

Introduction

Knowledge transfer is widely considered to be a fundamental goal of edu- cation (Marini & Genereux, 2004). Usually, this transfer is seen as the ability to apply knowledge and skills to new contexts and problems that differ from the ini- tial learning situation (Barnett & Ceci, 2002; Eraut, 2004). Constructivist belief, according to which any process of building new knowledge starts with a founda- tion of everything that is already known by the learner (Michael & Modell, 2003), emphasises the importance of prior knowledge and, in particular, students' ability to transfer that knowledge into new situations. Considering the similarity be- tween learning activity and the task in which one should apply knowledge, trans- fers can be near or far (Marini & Genereux, 2004). Additionally, some knowledge and skills, when acquired, are content specific while other knowledge and skills may be more readily transferred to a new domain (Michael & Modell, 2003). One of important elements involved in knowledge transfer is instructional context, which also includes instruction and support provided by the teacher (Marini & Genereux, 2004).

The aim of this study was to compare three instructional practices and their influence on the success of knowledge transfer in the case of a prism foil problem. …

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