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In Order to LearnHow the sequence of topics influences learning$
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Frank E. Ritter, Josef Nerb, Erno Lehtinen, and Timothy O'Shea

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195178845

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195178845.001.0001

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Order or No Order: System Versus Learner Control in Sequencing Simulation-Based Scientific Discovery Learning

Order or No Order: System Versus Learner Control in Sequencing Simulation-Based Scientific Discovery Learning

Chapter:
(p.181) Chapter 13 Order or No Order: System Versus Learner Control in Sequencing Simulation-Based Scientific Discovery Learning
Source:
In Order to Learn
Author(s):

Janine Swaak

Ton de Jong

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195178845.003.0013

What does sequencing have to do with scientific discovery or inquiry learning? Can principles of traditional instruction, such as sequencing, even coexist with ideas of self-regulated learning and constructivism? This chapter first shows that sequencing and scientific discovery can combine. Second, it illustrates that when sequencing and discovery are combined, the question of who is in control of the sequence must be addressed. The scientific discovery environment in the reported study, CIRCUIT, simulates the behavior of current and voltage sources in electrical circuits. It includes two main types of instructional support: (a) model progression and (b) assignments ordered according to different levels in the simulation learning environment. Two experimental conditions were created that were similar with respect to the support, but differed with respect to the amount of freedom given to the students. In the first group, students were free to choose their own sequence for going through the environment. In the second group, the sequence was largely controlled by the environment. The evaluation followed a pre-test post-test design. The results showed no gain in definitional knowledge but did reveal a gain in intuitive knowledge. No major differences between the experimental groups were detected in the post-test results, the interaction processes, or subjective ratings of feeling guided or constrained by the environments. The chapter concludes that order does not always have to be “built in” to instruction.

Keywords:   inquiry earning, scientific discovery, instruction, order effects, sequencing

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