The impact of exploration strategy, prior knowledge, and instructional support on discovery learning outcomes in interactive learning environments: Experimental findings and implications for theory

Friday 13 April, 2012

Presentation by Barney Dalgarno


Discovery learning has been advocated as a strategy for learning in online learning environments, consistent with constructivist theories of learning. On the other hand, some researchers have countered with empirical evidence suggesting that ‘pure’ discovery-based learning is of limited value. This seminar will discuss the results of empirical studies exploring the conditions under which discovery learning in online learning environments does and does not result in measurable learning benefits over alternative instructional approaches. Key principles for the design of such environments and the associated learning tasks, derived from this body of empirical research and the wider literature, will be discussed. Finally, the notion of learner scaffolding will be discussed, and, using the case study of a virtual chemistry laboratory, examples of how the idea can be applied in a 3D virtual environment will be illustrated.

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