Go-Lab Deliverable D8.3 First trial report

Abstract : This deliverable presents the results of a first set of evaluations in Go-Lab. The deliverable follows the research questions that were presented in Go-Lab deliverable D8.1. These research questions were divided into three clusters: questions aimed at students, teachers, and organisations. In each of these clusters the focus of the questions is on a specific Go-Lab intervention (e.g., ILSs or elements of ILSs, Golabz, and/or the Go-Lab authoring facilities) and measure different types of outcomes (mainly knowledge and inquiry skills). The three different clusters of research questions are presented in separated parts in this deliverable. The studies that evaluated students covered various tools from the Go-Lab set of tools, different configurations of ILSs, different age groups, different labs and domains, and different assessment methods. All studies were conducted “in vivo” meaning that we have always conducted the studies in real classes under realistic circumstances. This sometimes gave specific challenges, such as hampering internet connections, and made that research conditions, in terms of time allowed for the study or number of subjects, were not always optimal. We should also consider that in all of the studies these were most probably the students’ (and teachers’) first encounters with inquiry learning. Despite this some general conclusions can be drawn. First, in all of the studies in which knowledge was measured (and where no internet issues appeared) we have seen a significant increase in scores on knowledge tests. There have been no comparisons with other, more traditional, approaches (this will be done in Y4 of the project) but in any case offering online labs makes that students learn about the domain. In the case of inquiry skills such an increase was not always measured, which can be explained from the fact that for those skills to develop properly, we need more time and a prolonged training of the skills. For a specific set of tools we could find direct effects on students’ acquisition of knowledge and inquiry skills. The conclusion tool, the hypothesis scratchpad, and the experiment design tool all showed specific effects in some of the studies. In some case a comparison was made to a condition in which the tool was not offered, in other cases a comparison between a fully specified tool and a tool that was rather “empty” (such as a hypothesis scratchpad without pre-defined terms) was made. Studies on the hypothesis scratchpad showed that most probably offering pre-defined concepts in the tool was beneficial for learning compared to letting students configure these terms themselves. In the study on the concept map, no differences between including and not offering the concept map were found but in this case the concept map did not have any predefined terms in the pull down menu. If we extend the results of the studies with the hypothesis scratchpad to the concept map, we might expect better effects when these terms will be offered in the concept map’s pull down menu. So, a second conclusion n might be that tools often support students but that they might need to be filled with domain terms in order to create an effect. A third conclusion might be that there is no “one size fits all” solution. Several of our studies (especially the ones on the experiment design tool (EDT)) show that tools are specifically effective (differentially for knowledge and inquiry skills) for students with lower prior knowledge or for younger students. The studies with the EDT also show that in these cases there is an interaction with the difficulty of the domain involved, effectiveness of a tool for the students who need this might be more distinct when the domain gets more difficult. Finally, also the specific configuration of a tool might matter. The studies with the data viewer, for example showed, that when the data viewer automatically incorporated data an improvement of inquiry skills was reached, whereas students who imported data themselves gained better conceptual knowledge. When deciding which tools to include in an ILS and how these tools should be configured, it is important to consider students’ age, level of education, and prior knowledge, as well as the difficulty of the domain, and whether the goal is for students to gain conceptual knowledge, to acquire inquiry skills or both. The (Phase B) teacher evaluation has been based on the analysis of pre- and post-data of 130 teachers. A close look at those teachers teaching and technical skills reveals that our sample has been composed of advanced teachers who were not only very much interested in the use of online laboratories but had also quite developed pedagogical and technological skills. Their background knowledge in combination with their interests and the support mechanisms offered by Go-Lab, had an impact on those teachers’ knowledge and motivation. What is particularly interesting is that although the majority of these teachers intended to mostly use ready-made ILSs and online laboratories, at the end of Pilot Phase B, most of them have started creating their own ILS. When it comes to the evaluation of organisations, the analysis of teachers', headmasters and policy makers’ interviews reveals that the applications and impact of Go-Lab expand to multiple levels. Within schools, STEM teachers are teaming up with colleagues from other disciplines and use Go-Lab to develop interdisciplinary activities (i.e., combining STEM topics with language learning, schools' collaboration, and special needs education). Headmasters begin to realise how the use of online laboratories can contribute to both their teachers' and students' development in an easy and cost effective way. At the same time, policy makers' understanding on the use of online laboratories is also strengthened which opens possibilities for more support regarding the Go-Lab implementations.
Keywords : First trial
Type de document :
Rapport
[Research Report] Go-Lab Project. 2015
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Evita Tasiopoulou, Ton De Jong. Go-Lab Deliverable D8.3 First trial report. [Research Report] Go-Lab Project. 2015. 〈hal-01274970〉

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