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Orchestration of Virtual Experiments in Science Education

WorkgroupMultiple Representations Lab
FundingIWM budget resources
Project description

Obtaining scientific reasoning skills is a fundamental aim of science education. Virtual experiments are a useful method to improve scientific reasoning. They allow students to engage in inquiry learning by conducting experiments that otherwise would be unobservable, very costly, dangerous or time intensive. Therefore, we investigated how to best orchestrate inquiry learning using virtual experiments to foster scientific reasoning in science classrooms.

One part of the project dealt with supporting inquiry learning with virtual experiments by combining it with other learning opportunities like video-based modelling, metacognitive prompts, feedback, and testing. We combined the different learning opportunities in different sequences, against the backdrop of example-based learning and productive failure as theoretical foundations. After that, we investigated their effectiveness for enhancing scientific reasoning in experimental studies. The findings of these studies are of special interest to science teachers who want to implement virtual experiments in their classrooms.
In another part of the project, we focused on the potentials of digital media for inquiry learning in physics classes to take advantage of e.g. the possibilities of representation of abstract, dynamic relations that are not directly observable. Combinations of hands-on experiments and virtual experiments seem to be especially helpful for acquiring conceptual knowledge and inquiry skills. They, however, only become effective in learning if different learning opportunities are orchestrated in such a way that they simultaneously support and cognitively activate learners. Based on prior research, we first determined how digital media can be orchestrated in a didactically meaningful way in a teaching concept for inquiry learning. Afterwards, this teaching concept was implemented in schools and evaluated for its learning effectiveness. In the long term, the aim is to put this concept into practice in schools at a large scale.

  • Prof. Dr. Jochen Kuhn, Technische Universität Kaiserslautern

Omarchevska, Y., Lachner, A., Richter, J., & Scheiter, K. (2022). It takes two to tango: How scientific reasoning and self-regulation processes impact argumentation quality. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 31(2), 237-277. Open Access

Omarchevska, Y., Lachner, A., Richter, J., & Scheiter, K. (2022). Do video modeling and metacognitive prompts improve self-regulated scientific inquiry? Educational Psychology Review, 34(2), 1025-1061. Open Access

Wörner, S., Kuhn, J., & Scheiter, K. (2022). The best of two worlds: a systematic review on combining real and virtual experiments in science education. Review of Educational Research, 92(6), 911-952. Open Access

Wörner, S., Fischer, C., Kuhn, J., Scheiter, K., & Neumann, I. (2021). Video analysis to examine Kepler’s laws of planetary motion. The Physics Teacher, 59(8), 660-661. request document