ERIC Number: EJ1061727
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 20
One Output Function: A Misconception of Students Studying Digital Systems--A Case Study
Trotskovsky, E.; Sabag, N.
Research in Science & Technological Education, v33 n2 p131-142 2015
Background: Learning processes are usually characterized by students' misunderstandings and misconceptions. Engineering educators intend to help their students overcome their misconceptions and achieve correct understanding of the concept. This paper describes a misconception in digital systems held by many students who believe that combinational logic circuits should have only one output. Purpose: The current study aims to investigate the roots of the misconception about one-output function and the pedagogical methods that can help students overcome the misconception. Sample: Three hundred and eighty-one students in the Departments of Electrical and Electronics and Mechanical Engineering at an academic engineering college, who learned the same topics of a digital combinational system, participated in the research. Design and method: In the initial research stage, students were taught according to traditional method--first to design a one-output combinational logic system, and then to implement a system with a number of output functions. In the main stage, an experimental group was taught using a new method whereby they were shown how to implement a system with several output functions, prior to learning about one-output systems. A control group was taught using the traditional method. In the replication stage (the third stage), an experimental group was taught using the new method. A mixed research methodology was used to examine the results of the new learning method. Results: Quantitative research showed that the new teaching approach resulted in a statistically significant decrease in student errors, and qualitative research revealed students' erroneous thinking patterns. Conclusions: It can be assumed that the traditional teaching method generates an incorrect mental model of the one-output function among students. The new pedagogical approach prevented the creation of an erroneous mental model and helped students develop the correct conceptual understanding.
Descriptors: Misconceptions, Case Studies, Information Systems, Engineering Technology, Engineering Education, Teaching Methods, Control Groups, Experimental Groups, Instructional Effectiveness, Error Correction, Concept Teaching, Data Analysis, College Programs, Mixed Methods Research, Interviews, College Students
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A