Explaining across contrasting cases for deep understanding in science: an example using interactive simulations
International Conference of the Learning Sciences
Undergraduate students used a simulation to learn about electromagnetic flux. They were provided with three simulated cases that illustrate how changes in flux induce current in a coil. In the POE condition, students predicted, observed, and explained the outcome of each case, treating each case separately. In the GE condition, students were asked to produce a general explanation that would work for all three cases. A second factor crossed whether students had access to a numerical measurement
... ool. Effects of the measurement tool were less conclusive, but there was a strong effect of instructional method. Compared to POE students, GE students were better able to induce an underlying principle of electromagnetic flux during instruction and were better able to apply this principle to novel problems at post-test. Moreover, prior achievement predicted learning in the POE group, while students of all academic levels benefited equally from the GE condition.