Open-inquiry driven overcoming of epistemological difficulties in engineering undergraduates: A case study in the context of thermal science

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Abstract

This paper addresses the efficacy of an open-inquiry approach that allows students to build ontraditionally received knowledge. A sample of thirty engineering undergraduates, having already attendedtraditional university physics instruction, was selected for this study. The students were involved in a six-week long learning experience of open-inquiry research activities within the highly motivating context ofdeveloping a thermodynamically efficient space base on Mars. They designed and carried out their ownscientific investigations, which involved gathering information, collecting and analyzing data, providingexplanations, and sharing results. A questionnaire containing fifteen open-ended real-world problems inthermal science was administered to the students both prior to and after all activities, with the aim ofinvestigating the nature of their difficulties in problem solving. Students’ answers were classified into threeepistemological profiles and a prepost instruction comparison was carried out, using methods of statisticalimplicative analysis. The students obtained significant benefits from their open-inquiry experiences, interms of the strengthening of their practical and reasoning abilities, by proficiently applying the learnedconcepts to face and solve real-world problem situations.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)010107-
Numero di pagine25
RivistaPHYSICAL REVIEW SPECIAL TOPICS. PHYSICS EDUCATION RESEARCH
Volume10
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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