WALe - A Problem-Oriented Computer-based Learning Environment to Foster Quality of Interpretation and Argumentation

R. Stark and B. Koch (Germany)


Empirical research methods, statistics, problem-based learning, computer-based learning, learning prerequisites


Even advanced students of education often have serious problems with interpreting empirical data and constructing valid and convincing scientific arguments in educational discourses. Starting from an analysis of these problems, a problem-oriented, computer-based learning environment (WALe) was conceptualized. WALe is a hypertext that displays a complex and authentic educational discourse in the context of a fictitious workshop situation. In this hypertext, various means to induce intensive self-directed learning (e.g., open questions with feedback) to support the students understanding of statistical concepts and procedures and educational theories are integrated (e.g., explication of arguments, tables). In order to evaluate WALe, a field study was carried out with a sample of 43 advanced students of education. Beforehand, cognitive and motivational learning prerequisites were recorded. Then, the participants were instructed to work with WALe at home. First results indicate that the prior knowledge of the students was very low. By learning with WALe, learning progress was fostered substantially. However, the quality of knowledge application in general and specifically of interpretation and argumentation still was dissatisfying. Although a lot of students were overtaxed by learning with WALe, its potential as a rich learning tool was acknowledged. Consequences for instructional practice and further research are drawn.

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