Can Instruction Reinforce Misconceptions? Preliminary Evidence from a Study with Advanced Engineering Students
Why are some misconceptions so hard to correct? This study investigates that question using Chi’s proposal that providing students appropriate mental framework can help them repair misconceptions. We also test our hypothesis that instruction, i.e., coursework, can reinforce students’ misconceptions. We conducted an experimental study with 60 undergraduate engineering students who had taken at least two courses in heat transfer, thermodynamitics, or fluid mechanics. The results show that: 1) providing the appropriate mental framework works in some cases but not all cases; 2) the more coursework the students had the worse they performed. Implications of this study call for the need for effective instruction and further research on how to provide effective instruction and improved textbooks in engineering.
Dazhi Yang, Ruth A. Streveler, and Ronald L. Miller. "Can Instruction Reinforce Misconceptions? Preliminary Evidence from a Study with Advanced Engineering Students" Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Denver, CO. Apr. 2010.
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