Comprehending emergent systems phenomena through direct-manipulation animation
Priscilla Abel Aguirre, Teachers College, Columbia University, United States
Teachers College, Columbia University . Awarded
This study seeks to understand the type of interaction mode that best supports learning and comprehension of emergent systems phenomena. Given that the literature has established that students hold robust misconceptions of such phenomena, this study investigates the influence of using three types of interaction; speed-manipulation animation (SMN), post-manipulation animation (PMA) and direct-manipulation animation (DMA) for increasing comprehension and testing transfer of the phenomena, by looking at the effect of simultaneous interaction of haptic and visual channels on long term and working memories when seeking to comprehend emergent phenomena. The questions asked were: (1) Does the teaching of emergent phenomena, with the aid of a dynamic interactive modeling tool (i.e., SMA, PMA or DMA), improve students' mental model construction of systems, thus increasing comprehension of this scientific concept? And (2) does the teaching of emergent phenomena, with the aid of a dynamic interactive modeling tool, give the students the necessary complex cognitive skill which can then be applied to similar (near transfer) and/or novel, but different, (far transfer) scenarios? In an empirical study undergraduate and graduate students were asked to participate in one of three experimental conditions: SMA, PMA, or DMA. The results of the study found that it was the participants of the SMA treatment condition that had the most improvement in post-test scores. Students' understanding of the phenomena increased most when they used a dynamic model with few interactive elements (i.e., start, stop, and speed) that allowed for real time visualization of one's interaction on the phenomena. Furthermore, no indication was found that the learning of emergent phenomena, with the aid of a dynamic interactive modeling tool, gave the students the necessary complex cognitive skill which could then be applied to similar (near transfer) and/or novel, but different, (far transfer) scenarios. Finally, besides treatment condition, gender and age were also shown to be predictors of score differences; overall, males did better than females, and younger students did better than older students.
Aguirre, P.A. Comprehending emergent systems phenomena through direct-manipulation animation. Ph.D. thesis, Teachers College, Columbia University.
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