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Using students' previous experience and prior knowledge to facilitate conceptual change in an introductory materials course

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5 Author(s)
Krause, S. ; Arizona State Univ., Tempe, AZ, USA ; Kelly, J. ; Corkins, J. ; Tasooji, A.
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One important finding that the book, How People Learn, highlights is that all learning involves transfer from prior knowledge and previous experiences which can facilitate or impede learning. Learning can be facilitated by activating prior knowledge from an earlier class and/or context can be created for new material from previous experiences. Conversely, learning can be impeded by misconceptions that originate from personal experience, prior knowledge from previous classes, or inappropriate application of prior knowledge. Misconceptions from prior knowledge and previous experience can be classified according to their origin as a type of ¿impediment¿ to learning for which there are two general types, each with subtypes. Null impediment refers to missing information (necessary for learning new material) due to students: (1) not having prior knowledge (deficiency) or; (2) not recognizing links between new material and their prior existing knowledge (transfer). Substantive impediment refers to faulty concept models students hold from: (1) personal experience or observations (experiential); (2) prior courses and teaching (pedagogic) and; (3) bending or misinterpreting of new concepts to fit prior knowledge (misinterpretive). In this paper on research-to-practice we address the question of what learning strategies are most effective in repairing misconceptions or ¿impediments¿ of different origin.

Published in:

Frontiers in Education Conference, 2009. FIE '09. 39th IEEE

Date of Conference:

18-21 Oct. 2009