Web-based Inquiry Learning Environment "Young Scientist"

M. Pedaste and T. Sarapuu (Estonia)


Inquiry learning, problem solving, simulation, science education, web-based support


Some studies question if web-based inquiry is as practical tasks for developing inquiry skills. We have hypothesised that particular effectiveness depends on the support system that outperforms the guidance of a teacher in a classroom situation. For this reason, a multi-level support system has been developed for the learning environment ‘Young Scientist’ (http://bio.edu.ee/noor/) on the basis of the results derived from earlier studies of composing web based learning environments. The main focus of this paper is on the evaluation of students’ progress in their skills in designing inquiry process, and formulating research questions and hypotheses. 164 students from the 4th and 6th grades participated in a pilot study where they filled in a pre-test, solved four problems in the learning environment, and answered to a post-test. Students’ skills to arrange inquiry steps were evaluated in the theoretical and situational context. The results have demonstrated that the learning environment ‘Young Scientist’ is applicable for developing learners’ inquiry skills: i) it increases students’ skills to design an experiment in both theoretical and situational context, and ii) develops statistically significantly students’ skills to formulate research questions and hypotheses.

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