ERIC Number: EJ1033348
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Learner Differences and Learning Outcomes in an Introductory Biochemistry Class: Attitude toward Images, Visual Cognitive Skills, and Learning Approach
Milner, Rachel E.
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, v42 n4 p285-298 Jul-Aug 2014
The practice of using images in teaching is widespread, and in science education images are used so extensively that some have argued they are now the "main vehicle of communication" (C. Ferreira, A. Arroio "Problems Educ. 21st Century" 2009, 16, 48-53). Although this phenomenon is especially notable in the field of biochemistry, we know little about the role and importance of images in communicating concepts to students in the classroom. This study reports the development of a scale to assess students' attitude toward biochemical images, particularly their willingness and ability to use the images to support their learning. In addition, because it is argued that images are central in the communication of biochemical concepts, we investigated three "learner differences" which might impact learning outcomes in this kind of classroom environment: attitude toward images, visual cognitive skills, and learning approach. Overall, the students reported a positive attitude toward the images, the majority agreeing that they liked images and considered them useful. However, the participants also reported that verbal explanations were more important than images in helping them to understand the concepts. In keeping with this we found that there was no relationship between learning outcomes and the students' self-reported attitude toward images or visual cognitive skills. In contrast, learning outcomes were significantly correlated with the students' self-reported approach to learning. These findings suggest that images are not necessarily the main vehicle of communication in a biochemistry classroom and that verbal explanations and encouragement of a deep learning approach are important considerations in improving our pedagogical approach.
Descriptors: Science Instruction, Biochemistry, Student Attitudes, College Students, Teaching Methods, Scientific Concepts, Concept Formation, Visual Stimuli, Visual Perception, Cognitive Ability, Cognitive Style, Verbal Communication
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A