The influence of explicit versus implicit instructional approaches during a technology-based curriculum on students' understanding of nature of science (NOS)
Ahmed Mohammad Al-saidi, University of South Carolina, United States
University of South Carolina . Awarded
The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of an explicit versus an implicit instructional approach during technology-based curriculum on students' understanding of the nature of science (NOS) within an introductory biology course. The study emphasized the inferential and tentative nature of science. The intervention or explicit group was involved in inquiry activities followed by discussions that were directly geared towards the target aspects of NOS. The implicit group was engaged in the same activities but received instruction devoid of direct reference to the NOS aspects. Students in both groups spent identical amount of time on task. Selected items of the Views of Nature of Science Questionnaire (VNOS) together with semi-structured interviews were used to evaluate students' NOS conceptions before and at the end of the intervention, which lasted two weeks.
A quantitative analysis using chi-square of students' pre-intervention NOS views as provided by the VNOS questionnaires revealed that there was not a statistically significant difference between implicit and explicit groups in both targeted NOS aspects, with (p = 0.18) and (p = 0.34) for inferential and tentative NOS, respectively. However the same analysis indicated statistical significance difference for post-intervention between implicit and explicit groups, yielding (p < 0.02) and (p < 0.002) for both inferential and tentative NOS, respectively.
A qualitative analysis of students' pre and post-intervention views of the target aspects of NOS as well as semi-structured interviews for both groups was also conducted. Before intervention, the number of informed NOS responses in both groups was not considerably different. However, analysis of post-intervention NOS views indicated that more students in the explicit group demonstrated informed views of the NOS aspects than in the implicit group. Therefore, the analysis of the data indicated that, in this particular study, engaging students in inquiry-based activities followed by explicit discussion that is geared toward NOS aspects was more effective than merely involving them in implicit, inquiry-based instruction. The imperative finding of the present study provides evidence that teaching the NOS could be achieved through short-intensive discussion and does not necessarily require separate and independent courses.
Al-saidi, A.M. The influence of explicit versus implicit instructional approaches during a technology-based curriculum on students' understanding of nature of science (NOS). Ph.D. thesis, University of South Carolina.
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