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ERIC Number: EJ1074881
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Sep
Pages: 3
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
Comparative Cognitive Task Analyses of Experimental Science and Instructional Laboratory Courses
Wieman, Carl
Physics Teacher, v53 n6 p349-351 Sep 2015
Undergraduate instructional labs in physics generate intense opinions. Their advocates are passionate as to their importance for teaching physics as an experimental activity and providing "hands-on" learning experiences, while their detractors (often but not entirely students) offer harsh criticisms that they are pointless, confusing and unsatisfying, and "cookbook." Here, both to help understand the reason for such discrepant views and to aid in the design of instructional lab courses, I compare the mental tasks or types of thinking ("cognitive task analysis") associated with a physicist doing tabletop experimental research with the cognitive tasks of students in an introductory physics instructional lab involving traditional verification/confirmation exercises.
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A