ERIC Number: ED336088
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Support for Learning with Computer Simulations: Giving Hints, Supporting Learning Processes, and Providing Hypotheses.
Njoo, Melanie; de Jong, Ton
This paper contains the results of a study on the importance of discovery learning using computer simulations. The purpose of the study was to identify what constitutes discovery learning and to assess the effects of instructional support measures. College students were observed working with an assignment and a computer simulation in the domain of mechanical engineering. Twenty-two learning processes were identified and classified into transformative and regulative categories. In a second study, 91 students received a mixture of directive and non-directive support consisting of an information sheet and fill-in forms. Students were asked to work with the simulation and make use of the forms to support their exploration. By combining the variations in information sheets and fill-in forms, an experimental design was developed containing four experimental groups and one control group. It is concluded that students appeared to be more active in discovery learning when making use of the information sheets and fill-in forms. However, certain discovery processes, such as hypothesis generation, data interpretation, and the drawing of conclusions, are difficult processes and students need assistance to master them. A number of conflicting effects of the instructional support measures were also indicated. (34 references) (Author/DB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, April 3-7, 1991).