Master thesis Sandra Ehrenhard
The influence of personal characteristics on game-based learning
TNO is currently developing an evaluation framework that can be used for the assessment and validation of serious games. The work in this Master thesis project aims to contribute to the development of this framework. The focus will be on personal characteristics such as self-efficacy; research questions pertain to the influence of these characteristics on gameplay and learning outcomes. The research will be conducted in cooperation with Erasmus Medical Centre, and address medical students who are specializing to become general practitioners.
Master thesis Sandra Dabbous
The role of analogies in discovering interactions in inquiry learning tasks: a comparison between students from low, middle and high level of secondary school
Inquiry learning can be regarded as inductive learning and relies on general and spatial reasoning ability (Prince & Felder, 2006). Prior domain knowledge and knowledge of scientific reasoning skills are important for solving inquiry tasks. A method for training students how to investigate, even in a different domain, is using analogies as an instruction. These analogies should have the same variable structure as the inquiry tasks. This study will investigate the extent to which analogies foster the discovery of interaction effects in concrete inquiry learning tasks. Participants from three different school levels will engage in a counterbalanced design, in two inquiry tasks where they can investigate the influence of five independent variables on a dependent variable. The participants will be from three different secondary school levels. The students from each level will be divided over three conditions. The first is the one analogy condition, where students read a short analogy before performing the inquiry tasks. This analogy has the same variable structure as the inquiry tasks. The students in the second conditions will read two analogies before performing the inquiry tasks. The third condition is a control condition, where participants perform both inquiry tasks without an intervention. The cognitive abilities of students will be measured through a cognitive ability test. The cognitive ability test is based on a test battery, which correlates with the ability of solving inquiry tasks (Wilhelm, 2001).
Bachelor thesis Robbert van Hooij
The self-explanation effect as instructional method in teaching sixth-graders data-reading and theory-revision.
This research has the goal to investigate if eleven year old elementary students can benefit from the self-explanation effect as instructional method to learn understand science better and in a more socio-emotional manner. Self-explanations are inferences about causal connections among objects and events, inferences concerning ‘how’ and ‘why’ events happen. The constructive nature of self-explanation, with encouragement of integrating new knowledge into existing knowledge and the continuous, ongoing and piecemeal fashion in which it is used makes it a powerful social learning-method in the context of scientific reasoning. The research will use an experimental approach where children have to experiment with different balls and investigate which factors influence falling time (weight, size and color). The experiment is built upon two principles: the common misconception that weight has influence on falling time, and literature studies that show children have problems using data that disconfirms their initial hypothesis. I will investigate if the self-explanation effect is powerful enough to teach the children to interpret the data correctly for them to be able to make a scientific conclusion based on data and not on their initial beliefs.
Master thesis Anneloes Post
Trainees for the post of Air Traffic Controller frequently fail to understand the complexities of air traffic control when given classroom instructions. The main question for this thesis was to “design an instruction that helps trainees in appreciating and coping with the complexities of air traffic control.” After a detailed audience and task analysis, a design solution was found in the construction of an instructional video. By visualizing the air traffic processes and conditions, the video better enabled trainees to obtain the necessary insights on ground rules for air traffic control. The video, which was produced with the e-learning program Adobe Captivate, and with the support of an e-learning company called Bright Alley, also provided trainees with opportunities for hands-on practice sessions. User data were gathered about affect and performance.
Bachelor thesis Sharon van Sluijs
The role of analogy in discovering interactions during inquiry learning)
Inquiry learning is a constructivist approach in which children have ownership of their learning by doing experiments. It starts with exploration and questioning and leads to investigation. The objective is to discover what effects several independent variables have on one or more dependent variables. These effect could, for example, be main effects, irrelevant effects or interaction effects between two (or more) independent variables. For identifying interactions children need to understand the "Control of Variables Strategy". This strategy is a controlled way of experimentation to draw valid conclusions. This study will investigate if an analogy story fosters the discovery of interactions. The analogy story has a similar variable structure as the inquiry learning task. Two inquiry learning computer tasks will be developed. In a counterbalanced design, two groups of learners perform both tasks. One group reads the analogy story before performing the inquiry learning tasks (analogy condition), the other group only performs the tasks (control condition). Pre-tests will be used to control for prior knowledge.
Master thesis Hannie de Bie
The Halpern Critical Thinking Assessment: an initial validation study for the Dutch population
Increased emphasis on the development of critical thinking ability in education also requires a tool for assessing critical thinking (Butler et al., 2012). The much studied and validated Halpern Critical Thinking Assessment (HCTA) has recently been translated in Dutch. However, reliability and validity data for this new version is lacking. This validation study focuses on the internal structure of the Dutch HCTA. In addition, the nomothetic span will be explored to determine the relation with other ability traits.
Master thesis Christof Wünstel
Learning by drawing
Do you remember listening to fairy tales in your childhood? After hearing them once, the story was somehow stored in your memory- neither the written text nor the exact words but as pictures created by your mind while listening to the fairy tale. The strengths of pictorial memory are well known in the field of Psychology. Therefore, an area of research has been created to implement pictures and drawings into educational learning. Recently, especially pre-school and elementary school children have profited from learning by drawing. However, what about older pupils or adults? Is their gain from learning by drawing still the same as it is with younger age? In which educational fields could learning by drawing be useful? What could be done to support this kind of learning? These questions have risen in the recent past of educational research. Therefore, they are part of my study. In this study, I teach children aged 12-14 on a German “Gymnasium” during their biology classes about the topic “Mushrooms and natural cycles with mushrooms”. All pupils have to do a “learning by drawing” task but are divided into four different conditions, each supporting the task differently. First, the children have to read a text about the topic. Then they draw a picture of the information gathered from the text. Depending on condition, participants work by themselves or in dyads. This could give answer to the question whether collaboration supports learning by drawing. Another support might be provided by expert feedback in form of a picture. Therefore, half of those in the single-condition and half of the dyads compare their own drawings with an expert picture at the end of the task. To sum up, it is the aim of the study to find out more about the usefulness of learning by drawing in secondary education and about opportunities to support this kind of learning.
Bachelor thesis Stefan Kuipers
The effect of incubation on TOT-resolution and the relationship with cognitive abilities.
This study is a replication of Choi and Smith (2005) and a further extension of Masselink (2012) who investigated the effect of incubation on the resolution of TOT states (“Tip-of-the-Tongue”). The study is extended by including an attention- and concentration test as a covariate. Adult participants will respond to different categories of questions about e.g. names of famous actors and capital cities in the world. These questions will either be repeated immediately or after a delay. Participants need to indicate when they experience a TOT state. In addition, they need to indicate how strong their TOT state is. Evidence for the validity of the TOT state measure is collected by providing correct answers and asking whether these answers are the ones participants were searching for.
Master thesis Marloes van Schaik
The effect of additional writing practice on touchscreen computers to the handwriting of children with Autisme Spectrum disorders.
Writing is an important academic skill that is needed to fully participate in school activities (Kushi, Chau & Anagostou, 2011). Poor handwriting skill can make it difficult for students to engage in other higher order skills like composing a story or a letter. However, many children struggle to master handwriting skills. This is specifically true for children with autism spectrum disorders. In this research project we will evaluate the effect of additional writing practice on touchscreen computers. Children from the first and second grade of a primary school will work with a computer program that aims to support students in the process of letter formation and the connections between letter forms. The development of children’s handwriting will be rated. Furthermore we will assess children’s’ motivation while the work with the software.
Master thesis Elly van der Veen
Allowing students to construct their own representations of scientific phenomena stimulates students to identify and link important and relevant pieces of information and thereby engage in self-explanatory and reflective processes (Ainsworth & Loizou, 2003). When students are instructed to collaboratively construct such a drawing they are also stimulated to share their reasoning with a partner. The aim of this project is to investigate to what extent instruction aimed at the collaborative learning process facilitates students’ knowledge acquisition and discourse quality. For her master thesis, Elly van der Veen is developing instruction for a collaborative drawing task. The instruction is based on the idea of observational learning. In observational learning students are provided with a model that provides students insight in the learning process (in this case the collaborative creation of a drawing).
Bachelor thesis Michael Jeckmans - Proces validation of the Inquiry Skills Test (IST)
The increased focus on science learning in Dutch education fosters the need for a context-independent assessment instrument for science process skills. The IST might be able to fulfil this need, but more evidence is needed for the validity of the instrument. In this study, IST scores will be related to learning processes in a context-rich inquiry learning task. These processes will be tapped using a specific protocol. In addition, the relation between inquiry skills and science motivation will be investigated.