June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Engineering Physics & Physics
23.1169.1 - 23.1169.15
The case for individualized-instruction: Preconception-Instruction-InteractionIt is commonly believed that when instruction is tailored to students' learning styles (e.g., visual,auditory, kinesthetic), learning increases. When studied in controlled environments, however, ithas been shown repeatedly that instruction aligned with learning styles does appreciablycorrelate with increased understanding . The roots of learning-style research lie in theframework of Aptitude-Treatment-Interactions , in which an aptitude is classified as any``pre-treatment characteristic.'' Learning-styles might be described as aptitudes, but they do notexhibit an interaction with treatment.In this paper, we extend the definition of aptitude to include characteristics of a learner's state ofunderstanding. Students enter physics classrooms with a wealth of experience about the physicalworld. These varied experiences, likely lead to differing ideas about physical phenomena priorto instruction. We propose, therefore, that these preconceptions are aptitudes with whichinstruction might interact differently. In particular, do certain kinds instructional examples helpthe learning of students with one kind of (incorrect) preconception but hinder the learning ofstudents with a different preconception?As a test-case for such a preconception-instruction-interaction, we examined student-understanding of power-dissipation across resistors in DC circuits. Students predominantlypresented two incorrect preconceptions: the greater equivalent resistance always dissipates morepower and the lesser equivalent resistance always dissipates more power. Once diagnosed with apreconception, students received instruction by completing different kinds of practice examples.Critically, students with differing preconceptions did respond differently to instruction. Thissuggests that when multiple preconceptions are present, multiple, potentially individualizedinstruction might be necessary in order to maximize student understanding. H. Pashler, M. McDaniel, D. Rohrer, and R. Bjork, Psychol Sci Publ Interest 9, 105 (2008). L. J. Chronbach and R. E. Snow, Aptitudes and Instructional Methods: a Handbook forResearch on Interactions (Irvington Publishers, Inc., New York, New York, 1977).
Scaife, T. M., & Heckler, A. F. (2013, June), The case for individualized-instruction: Preconception-Instruction-Interaction Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22554
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