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Scaffolding a Complex Task of Experimental Design in Chemistry with a Computer Environment

Abstract : When solving a scientific problem through experimentation, students may have the responsibility to design the experiment. When students work in a conventional condition, with paper and pencil, the designed procedures stay at a very general level. There is a need for additional scaffolds to help the students perform this complex task. We propose a computer environment (copex-chimie) with embedded scaffolds in order to help students to design an experimental procedure. A prestructuring of the procedure where the students have to choose the actions of their procedure among pre-defined actions and specify the parameters forces the students to face the complexity of the design. However, this is not sufficient for them to succeed; they look for some feedback to improve their procedure and finally abandon their task. In another condition, the students were provided with individualized feedbacks on the errors detected in their procedures by an artificial tutor. These feedbacks proved to be necessary to accompany the students throughout their experimental design without being discouraged. With this kind of scaffold, students worked longer and succeeded better to the task than all the other students.
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Contributor : Isabelle Girault Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, February 18, 2014 - 4:21:02 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, October 21, 2021 - 3:51:24 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-00948735, version 1



Isabelle Girault, Cédric d'Ham. Scaffolding a Complex Task of Experimental Design in Chemistry with a Computer Environment. Journal of Science Education and Technology, Springer Verlag, 2014, 23 (4), pp.514-526. ⟨hal-00948735⟩



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