NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1074436
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Oct
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1059-0145
Can Dynamic Visualizations with Variable Control Enhance the Acquisition of Intuitive Knowledge?
Wichmann, Astrid; Timpe, Sebastian
Journal of Science Education and Technology, v24 n5 p709-720 Oct 2015
An important feature of inquiry learning is to take part in science practices including exploring variables and testing hypotheses. Computer-based dynamic visualizations have the potential to open up various exploration possibilities depending on the level of learner control. It is assumed that variable control, e.g., by changing parameters of a variable, leads to deeper processing (Chang and Linn 2013; de Jong and Njoo 1992; Nerdel 2003; Trey and Khan 2008). Variable control may be helpful, in particular, for acquiring intuitive knowledge (Swaak and de Jong 2001). However, it bares the risk of mental exhaustion and thus may have detrimental effects on knowledge acquisition (Sweller 1998). Students (N = 118) from four chemistry classes followed inquiry cycles using the software Molecular Workbench (Xie and Tinker 2006). Variable control was varied across the conditions (1) No-Manipulation group and (2) Manipulation group. By adding a third condition, (3) Manipulation-Plus group, we tested whether adding an active hypothesis phase prepares students before changing parameters of a variable. As expected, students in the Manipulation group and Manipulation-Plus group performed better concerning intuitive knowledge (d = 1.14) than students in the No-Manipulation group. On a descriptive level, results indicated higher cognitive effort in the Manipulation group and the Manipulation-Plus group than in the No-Manipulation group. Unexpectedly, students in the Manipulation-Plus group did not benefit from the active hypothesis phase (intuitive knowledge: d = 0.36). Findings show that students benefit from variable control. Furthermore, findings point toward the direction that variable control evokes desirable difficulties (Bjork and Linn 2006).
Springer. 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013. Tel: 800-777-4643; Tel: 212-460-1500; Fax: 212-348-4505; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A