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The paper describes a study of students' reflections on their learning in the Investigative Science Learning Environment (ISLE). ISLE was implemented in two freshmen introductory physics courses for engineering students at risk. Weekly Reports — structured journals — were a part of their homework assignments. We found that a thorough reflection on their reasoning based on experimental evidence had a positive effect on student performance. However a surprising finding was that learning from authority was beneficial as well. This result is in contradiction to a similar study conducted by May and Etkina in 2001 in a freshmen course for honors engineering students. The current study therefore suggests that instructors should encourage different ways of knowledge construction when dealing with different student populations.
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