Title: Supporting exploratory and expressive learning: a complementary approach

Authors: Roger Hartley, Andrew Ravenscroft

Addresses: Computer Based Learning Unit, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK. ' Computer Based Learning Unit, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK

Abstract: Many learning contexts in the physical sciences require students to revise their current beliefs and alternative conceptions. Simulation programs and qualitative modelling systems are used to achieve these objectives, but research suggests that supporting tutorial dialogues are needed to stimulate students| causal reasoning and to initiate conceptual change. Our previous experience with the DM3 simulation and the VariLab modelling package in the learning of Kinematics confirms this. A computer-based system (CoLLeGE) was designed which, through its knowledge representation of an abstract causal world and common-sense reasoning rules, was able to reason with and challenge students| explanations when statements were inconsistent or incomplete. The system could also suggest more abstract models from these explanations. A small validation study showed clear improvements in students| explanation models and post-test performances, as well as demonstrating tactics and pedagogies able to engineer belief revision leading to conceptual change.

Keywords: computer-based learning; CBL; conceptual change; constructivist pedagogies; instructional dialogue; qualitative reasoning; expressive learning; exploratory learning; simulation; modelling; kinematics; engineering education.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCEELL.1999.030155

International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning, 1999 Vol.9 No.3/4, pp.275 - 290

Published online: 11 Dec 2009 *

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