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ERIC Number: EJ1142102
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Jun
Pages: 27
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0020-4277
Making Connections among Multiple Graphical Representations of Fractions: Sense-Making Competencies Enhance Perceptual Fluency, but Not Vice Versa
Rau, Martina A.; Aleven, Vincent; Rummel, Nikol
Instructional Science: An International Journal of the Learning Sciences, v45 n3 p331-357 Jun 2017
Prior research shows that representational competencies that enable students to use graphical representations to reason and solve tasks is key to learning in many science, technology, engineering, and mathematics domains. We focus on two types of representational competencies: (1) "sense making" of connections by verbally explaining how different representations map to one another, and (2) "perceptual fluency" that allows students to fast and effortlessly use perceptual features to make connections among representations. Because these different competencies are acquired via different types of learning processes, they require different types of instructional support: sense-making activities and fluency-building activities. In a prior experiment, we showed benefits for combining sense-making activities and fluency-building activities. In the current work, we test how to combine these two forms of instructional support, specifically, whether students should first work on sense-making activities or on fluency-building activities. This comparison allows us to investigate whether sense-making competencies enhance students' acquisition of perceptual fluency (sense-making-first hypothesis) or whether perceptual fluency enhances students' acquisition of sense-making competencies (fluency-first hypothesis). We conducted a lab experiment with 74 students from grades 3-5 working with an intelligent tutoring system for fractions. We assessed learning processes and learning outcomes related to representational competencies and domain knowledge. Overall, our results support the sense-making-first hypothesis, but not the fluency-first hypothesis.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 3; Primary Education; Early Childhood Education; Grade 4; Intermediate Grades; Grade 5; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED); National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: R305A120734; REESE2185111121307