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Learning Support Assessment Study of a Computer Simulation for the Development of Microbial Identification Strategies

    Authors: TRISTAN E. JOHNSON1,*, CLARK GEDNEY2
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    Affiliations: 1: Educational Technology, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and BioMedia Center for Instructional Design; 2: Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: Educational Technology, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, 1442 Liberal Arts and Education Building, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-1442. Phone: (765) 496-6367. Fax: (765) 496-1622. E-mail: tj@purdue.edu.
    • Copyright © 2001, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2001 vol. 2 no. 1 18-24. doi:10.1128/154288101X14285805863424
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    Abstract:

    This paper describes a study that examined how microbiology students construct knowledge of bacterial identification while using a computer simulation. The purpose of this study was to understand how the simulation affects the cognitive processing of students during thinking, problem solving, and learning about bacterial identification and to determine how the simulation facilitates the learning of a domain-specific problem-solving strategy.

    As part of an upper-division microbiology course, five students participated in several simulation assignments. The data were collected using think-aloud protocol and video action logs as the students used the simulation. The analysis revealed two major themes that determined the performance of the students: Simulation Usage—how the students used the software features and Problem-Solving Strategy Development—the strategy level students started with and the skill level they achieved when they completed their use of the simulation.

    Several conclusions emerged from the analysis of the data: (i) The simulation affects various aspects of cognitive processing by creating an environment that makes it possible to practice the application of a problem-solving strategy. The simulation was used as an environment that allowed students to practice the cognitive skills required to solve an unknown. (ii) Identibacter (the computer simulation) may be considered to be a cognitive tool to facilitate the learning of a bacterial identification problem-solving strategy. (iii) The simulation characteristics did support student learning of a problem-solving strategy. (iv) Students demonstrated problem-solving strategy development specific to bacterial identification. (v) Participants demonstrated an improved performance from their repeated use of the simulation.

Key Concept Ranking

Human Pathogens
0.49237382
Carbon Sources
0.4434086
0.49237382

References & Citations

1. Farynaiarz JV, Lockwood LG1992Effectiveness of microcomputer simulations in stimulating environmental problem solving by community college studentsJ Res Sci Teaching2945347010.1002/tea.3660290503 http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/tea.3660290503
2. Gokhale AA1996Effectiveness of computer simulation for enhancing higher order thinkingJ Ind Teacher Educ3343646
3. Jonassen DH, Reeves TC1996Learning with technology: using computers as cognitive tools693719 Jonassen DHHandbook of research on educational communications and technologyMacmillanNew York, N.Y.
4. Lieberman DA, Linn MC1991Learning to learn revisited: computers and the development of self-directed learning skillsJ. Res. in Computing in Educ.23373395
5. Rivers RH, Vockell E1987Computer simulations to stimulate scientific problem solvingJ. Res. in Sci. Teaching2440341510.1002/tea.3660240504 http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/tea.3660240504
6. Salomon G, Gardner H1986The computer as educator: lessons from television researchEduc Res151319
7. Schank RC, Cleary C1995Engines for educationLawrence Erlbaum AssociatesHillsdale, N.J.
8. Thomas R, Hooper E1991Simulations: an opportunity we are missingJ. Res. in Computing in Educ.23497513
9. Thornburg DD1986Restoring inductive reasoningA+7791
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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/154288101X14285805863424
2001-05-01
2017-05-27

Abstract:

This paper describes a study that examined how microbiology students construct knowledge of bacterial identification while using a computer simulation. The purpose of this study was to understand how the simulation affects the cognitive processing of students during thinking, problem solving, and learning about bacterial identification and to determine how the simulation facilitates the learning of a domain-specific problem-solving strategy.

As part of an upper-division microbiology course, five students participated in several simulation assignments. The data were collected using think-aloud protocol and video action logs as the students used the simulation. The analysis revealed two major themes that determined the performance of the students: Simulation Usage—how the students used the software features and Problem-Solving Strategy Development—the strategy level students started with and the skill level they achieved when they completed their use of the simulation.

Several conclusions emerged from the analysis of the data: (i) The simulation affects various aspects of cognitive processing by creating an environment that makes it possible to practice the application of a problem-solving strategy. The simulation was used as an environment that allowed students to practice the cognitive skills required to solve an unknown. (ii) Identibacter (the computer simulation) may be considered to be a cognitive tool to facilitate the learning of a bacterial identification problem-solving strategy. (iii) The simulation characteristics did support student learning of a problem-solving strategy. (iv) Students demonstrated problem-solving strategy development specific to bacterial identification. (v) Participants demonstrated an improved performance from their repeated use of the simulation.

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Fig. 3

Overall performance ratio—participants versus expert performance averages over six runs.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2001 vol. 2 no. 1 18-24. doi:10.1128/154288101X14285805863424
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