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How Much Guidance Students Need When Designing Experiments in a Computer-Supported Inquiry Learning Environment

Nikoletta Xenofontos, Zacharias Zacharia, and Tasos Hovardas
Department of Education, University of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus
Abstract—The aim of this study was to identify an optimum way to support students when designing experiments in a computer-supported inquiry learning environment. For this purpose, we evaluated the impact of two different configurations of an experiment design tool on students’ content knowledge and inquiry skills in the context of electric circuits. The two configurations differed in the degree of guidance they offered to students. In the first condition the tool offered more structure during the design of the experiment by providing the variables at task, while in the second condition students were not provided any guidance in terms of the variables at hand. The sample of the study comprised of 41 ninth graders and the data were collected through the use of pre-and post-tests. The results showed that both conditions were conducive to student conceptual understanding; however, difference between conditions emerged for inquiry skills in favor of the second condition. 
 
Index Terms—inquiry learning, experiment design tool, scaffold, structuring, problematizing

Cite: Nikoletta Xenofontos, Zacharias Zacharia, and Tasos Hovardas, "How Much Guidance Students Need When Designing Experiments in a Computer-Supported Inquiry Learning Environment," International Journal of Learning and Teaching, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 20-24, March 2018. doi: 10.18178/ijlt.4.1.20-24
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