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ERIC Number: EJ1143394
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-2469-9896
Framework and Implementation for Improving Physics Essential Skills via Computer-Based Practice: Vector Math
Mikula, Brendon D.; Heckler, Andrew F.
Physical Review Physics Education Research, v13 n1 p010122-1-010122-23 Jan-Jun 2017
We propose a framework for improving accuracy, fluency, and retention of basic skills essential for solving problems relevant to STEM introductory courses, and implement the framework for the case of basic vector math skills over several semesters in an introductory physics course. Using an iterative development process, the framework begins with a careful identification of target skills and the study of specific student difficulties with these skills. It then employs computer-based instruction, immediate feedback, mastery grading, and well-researched principles from cognitive psychology such as interleaved training sequences and distributed practice. We implemented this with more than 1500 students over 2 semesters. Students completed the mastery practice for an average of about 13 min =week, for a total of about 2-3 h for the whole semester. Results reveal large (>1 SD) pretest to post-test gains in accuracy in vector skills, even compared to a control group, and these gains were retained at least 2 months after practice. We also find evidence of improved fluency, student satisfaction, and that awarding regular course credit results in higher participation and higher learning gains than awarding extra credit. In all, we find that simple computer-based mastery practice is an effective and efficient way to improve a set of basic and essential skills for introductory physics.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Tests/Questionnaires; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF), Division of Materials Research (DMR)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ohio (Columbus)
Grant or Contract Numbers: DMR1420451