Instructional advice, time advice and learning questions in computer simulations
AbstractUndergraduate students (N = 97) used an introductory text and a computer simulation to learn fundamental concepts about statistical analyses (e.g., analysis of variance, regression analysis and General Linear Model). Each learner was randomly assigned to one cell of a 2 (with or without instructional advice) x 2 (with or without time advice) x 2 (with or without learning questions) between subjects factorial design. Time spent with the simulation as well as retention and transfer tests were used as dependent measures. Neither the instructional advice to examine the different parameters in a simulation systematically presented immediately before the simulation nor the learning questions (without feedback) presented during the simulation improves learners' retention or transfer performances. Students who were asked to employ more time on the computer simulation immediately before they want to finish it spent considerably more time with the simulation and performed better on retention, but not on transfer than did students for whom this request was absent. The results were discussed on the basis of the extended Scientific Discovery as Dual Search model and in conjunction with adaptive computer simulations.
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