Tuesday, 25 January 2011

On discovery learning and giving students choices

Kathie Nunley reports:

HOT TOPIC # 1: ...A new study compared unassisted discovery to explicit instruction and then compared assisted discovery techniques to explicit instruction and other teaching methods. They found in the 580 classroom comparisons, that unassisted discovery does not benefit learners. Classrooms which allowed enhanced discovery, using feedback, worked examples, scaffolding and some explanation were most successful in learning outcomes.
Alfieri, L et al. (2010). Does discovery-based instruction enhance learning? Journal of Educational Psychology, (Nov issue preview).

HOT TOPIC #2: More research now out supporting the perception of student choice in classroom assignments. In this study, half the classes received a choice in their homework options, half did not. In the following unit of study, the options were reversed. Results show that when students received a choice of homework activities, they reported higher intrinsic motivation to do the homework, were more likely to complete the homework, felt more competent in the work, and performed better on the unit test.
Patall, E. et al. (2010). The effectiveness and relative importance of choice in the classroom. Journal of Educational Psychology. Vol 102(4), 896-915,

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