Archive for the ‘coherence’ Category


Alienrescue and cognitive tool use patterns

June 27, 2007

Listening Ed-Media winning presentation “Students’ problem-solving as mediated by their cognitive tool use: a study of tool use patterns.

The study is very similar by methodology what we have been doing in Young Scientist environment.

For example, they analysed log-data of tool-use, self-report data of tool use (questionniares) and stimulated recall of tool-use. Next the datasets were triangulated.

However the results of these data were a bit disappointing, showing the frequency patterns of tool-use and explaining it with students’ preferences.

Certain tools were used more in the beginning, in the middle several tools were used simultaneously and in the end the use of cognitive tools decreased.

Cognitive load was related with understanding the problem. This seems the most interesting aspect in respect of my own studies with Young Scientist. I could pose that the reasons why cognitive load emerged or did not emerge was related with my ideas about perceiving the elements of the problem as a complex translation-system or not. And the cognitive load might have not been the same for all students.

Tools were used for different problem-solving tasks.
Stimulated recall data were analysed using Strauss’ and Corbin’ Grounded Theory Approach.
Patters of students tool use were consistent with the recall and log-records.
Findings confirmed that there is a relationship between cognitive tool use and certain cognitive processes in problemsolving.


evaluating correctness of environmental conceptions

June 21, 2007

Yesterday when talking with my student Lenel Zimdin about categorizing her qualitative data about environmental awareness issues she came up with an interesting observation. We have conducted the questionnaire where we ask about global warming, greenhouse effect, ozone layer depletion, acid rains and air pollution questions: what it is, who causes it, what are the causes, and what strategies to use to solve the issues etc.. Next these questions are categorised according to the correctness and context. The whole idea is to investigate the relationships of conceptual and contextual dimensions.

Lenel mentioned her problems of categorizing the correctness of attitude type of questions (eg. i think global warming does not influence me very much..). Then we were discussing that actually the correctness can be measured only by using some etalon – like scientific knowledge. And in case of the questions when people can have various opinions (which is the case in all dilemmas), correctness becomes subjective and impossible to assess. We discussed that teachers do not think of this relative correctness idea at all, when grading at school environmental awareness.

This correctness categorization issue did not appear in the study of my other student Eneken Metsalu. Her questionnaire was similar, but the categorization considered global-local aspects as the contexts. Lenel, however, considers values, technology, legislative, economic, ecological-scientific and evaluative comparisons etc. as her contextual dimensions.

Here is a figure of some periminary analysis about awareness questions contexts and correctness (means).
greenhouse effect


coherence paper finished

May 23, 2007

I am happy today to finish my paper: The Development of Conceptual Coherence Related to Seasonal Changes by Inquiry with “Young Scientist” Learning Environment

It was one round in The Journal of Learning Sciences, and i had the deadline on me since february to write it by may for resubmitting. Of course… i could find time and emotional power to do it only now. But i think it is much more consistent now.

The study investigated two properties of conceptual coherence: cohesiveness and consistency of conceptual knowledge. The effect of model-based inquiry with “Young Scientist” as the learning environment on primary students’ conceptual understandings about seasonal changes and their conceptual development was studied with 176 fourth-graders. The study also focused on the influence of students’ different cohesive conceptual sets of knowledge on their conceptual consistency when inquiring about the season’s phenomenon in different contextual situations. Data about students’ knowledge were collected with essays and from the “Young Scientist” environment by inserting multiple-choice items. Qualitative content analysis, K-means and discriminant analysis, and Chi-square and ANOVA procedures were used for data analysis. Five conceptually cohesive explanatory sets of knowledge about season’s phenomenon were identified. Students with different initial explanatory sets of conceptual knowledge about the causes of seasons behaved with low conceptual consistency in the inquiry phases of the “Young Scientist” learning tasks, indicating that they might have constructed the explanations newly in each phase of the inquiry rather than consistently identifying the knowledge framework of their initial explanations. The results of the study favour the application of the contextual activation of resources ideas in building the inquiry learning environments for promoting conceptual coherence development.


edmedia 2007 paper accepted

April 20, 2007

Our paper Semiotic Perspectives to the Students’ Conceptual Development with the Virtual Inquiry in Young Scientist Environment was accepted as full paper Conceptual and Empirical Study
So meet me in EdMedia :) Vancouver in June.

Comments to the Author:
A very detailed and interesting paper, with some good (if complex!) analysis of the results. The conclusions could have been more in depth – for instance, it is mentioned that serveral aspects have been discovered from the experiment but it is unclear how these aspects will be clarified or investigated further. Overall a very interesting idea well presented.

Perhaps I will also be part of the Symposium Getting beyond centralized technologies in higher education Sebastian Fiedler is planning. He has invited me to replace Barbara’s presentation. He has invited Robert Fitzgerald, Brian Lamb, Bryan Alexander, Scott Wilson and George Siemens to participate at this symposium.


principles of learning in multirepresentational environments

April 19, 2007

For some years i have been conducting research in multi-representational learning environments.
What i mean by those is envornments where student is presented to various information sources from different contexts and representational types and expected to construct knowledge through problem-solving, decision-making, designing or inquiry activities.

Some examples of those are presented at the biology materials web-page of my unit, but there are plenty of nice environments one might take a look like WISE, Lake Illuka, Nardoo River (those you need to buy), BGuile (downloadable) and others.

My ideas of these environments are related with conceptual learning in general. Major idea is not to look and describe separate principles of multimedia instruction like Richard Mayer has done (e.g. Principles of Multimedia Learning from Cambridge University Press from last year), but analyse these environments at larger grain size. What i mean is looking the semiosis possibilities these environments afford to the learners who act in them.

The key ideas are, which translation borders these environments have, and how do the translation possibilities become realised by learners. The concepts i have played around with are: awareness of learning objects in the multi-representational environment, translation between contextual and representational systems, which do not have total overlap in information, cognitive load in these systems..and i think, also the affordance ideas have been used at one paper to some extent. The latter needs a new refresh look because i have worked on that concept for some time in web 2.0 learning domain, and it is about time of translating those ideas into new context and see what would happen.

Why i am writing about all of it today, is because i will have a lecture on saturday about these issues, and i prepared my presentation (in estonian) to elaborate the multi-representational environments. I think it would be a good idea to write of this approach as a generalization of semiotic ideas in learning design.


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