Advances in Instructional Design

Blogging the 2014 AECT International Convention.

Influence of Autonomy, Scaffolding and Audience on Engagement and Performance in Student-Centered Science Learning

Presenter: Eunbae Lee, University of Georgia

This research is design-based and mixed methods.

Student centered science learning is helping students to think and act like scientists. See Next Generation Science Standards.

Connections to writing also – narrative writing in science classes. Stories are a great way to communicate science to a lay audience. Students had to create research narratives – interview a scientist, learn about the research, and write a narrative, to understand the process of science.

Design-based research – work with a practitioner (i.e. teacher in the classroom), integrate known and hypothetical design guildlines as a solution to problems, and the validate, refine and use the design strategies in broader contexts. It’s socially responsible research because you are working with real problems. (More interviews on design-based research here.)

It was essential to start with¬†a problem – and so she did a needs assessment to understand what was already happening in the class. The issue was that there were varying levels of engaging, and students were deviating from the instructor’s goals.

The theoretical framework included: self-determination theory, constructivism, constructionism. Conceptually, students were owning the learning (facilitating endorsement of goals, personal goal setting, choice and flexibility), learning it (explicit directions, support selection question prompts, integrate discipline terminology), and then sharing their learning with others (students had the option to publish, encourage thoughtful peer review).

Data sources included presurvey, postsurvey, scores on their writing, as well as student interview transcripts, observations, and document analysis.

The results suggest that the more engaged you are, the higher the learning. The study also looked at the changes in student motivation throughout the course. The results also suggest that writing for real-world audiences would allow for increased motivation, engagement, and performance.

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