Asee peer logo

Relating Level of Inquiry in Laboratory Instructions to Student Learning Outcomes

Download Paper |

Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Experimentation and Laboratory-Oriented Studies Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Experimentation and Laboratory-Oriented Studies

Page Count

15

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/33232

Download Count

3

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Spencer Rosen Harvey Mudd College

visit author page

Spencer Rosen is a student at Harvey Mudd College pursuing a BS in Engineering with an emphasis on Electrical and Computer Engineering. He expects to graduate in May of 2020.

visit author page

biography

Sabrine Griffith Harvey Mudd College

visit author page

Sabrine Griffith is pursuing a BS in Engineering with a focus on Biomedical Devices Engineering at Harvey Mudd College and a BS at Claremont McKenna College in Economics. She expects to graduate with these two degrees in May of 2020.

visit author page

biography

Eli Byrnes Harvey Mudd College

visit author page

Eli Byrnes is a student at Harvey Mudd College, currently pursuing a BS in Mathematics. Eli has an interest in doing work in STEM education and expects to graduate from in May of 2021.

visit author page

author page

Steven Michael Santana Harvey Mudd College

biography

Laura Palucki Blake Harvey Mudd College

visit author page

Laura Palucki Blake is the Assistant Vice President for Institutional Research and Effectiveness at Harvey Mudd College, where her primary role is to coordinate data collection, interpretation and dissemination to support teaching and learning, planning and decision-making across the college.

visit author page

biography

Matthew Spencer Harvey Mudd College

visit author page

Matthew Spencer is an assistant professor at Harvey Mudd College. His research interests include experiential and hands-on learning, and integrating mechanical, chemical and quantum devices into circuits and communication links.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

This research paper will describe the results of an experiment in which the level of inquiry in a laboratory manual is varied from guided inquiry to open inquiry by reducing the specificity of the instructions in the lab manual. The hypothesis is that less specific instructions will cause students to reflect on their actions in lab and, as a result, circle further around Kolb’s experiential learning cycle during each step of the lab. This should result in improved recall and better integration of laboratory and classroom understanding. Student learning outcomes are assessed using an in-lab, direct assessment which evaluates both students’ laboratory skills and their ability to relate experiences in the laboratory to classroom learning. Student attitudes are also assessed with surveys.

The in-lab assessment is the primary tool used to assess student learning outcomes, so it is discussed in detail. It is a series of questions which are designed to be answered at a laboratory bench. The questions ask the student to record data from an instrument using an oscilloscope, extract information from that data, and then use the extracted information to perform analysis.

The experiment had 195 participants, 106 in the specific-instruction, control group and 89 in the non-specific instruction, treatment group. Results show that more treatment students than control students learned to scale a signal on an oscilloscope screen , while control students learned to use an oscilloscope’s built-in save/recall feature more effectively. There is also weak evidence that shows greater affective gains in the treatment group. This shows that there is potential for increasing student learning by studying how best to write laboratory manuals, and that increasing reflection is a way to achieve that goal. However, it also shows that there are many ways to increase reflection, and further research is required to identify them thoroughly.

Rosen, S., & Griffith, S., & Byrnes, E., & Santana, S. M., & Palucki Blake, L., & Spencer, M. (2019, June), Relating Level of Inquiry in Laboratory Instructions to Student Learning Outcomes Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/33232

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2019 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015