Date of this Version
Slides & Abstract for DBER Group Discussion on 2017-02-09
Students’ task interpretation is a critical first step in the process of self-regulated learning and a key determinant in students setting their learning goals and selecting strategies to approach assigned work. Laboratory activities improve students’ conceptual understanding because of the cognitive demand when students integrate laboratory activities and theory. The purpose of this study is to investigate how students’ interpretation of the task assigned during laboratory work may change during the task process, and how it is related to their conceptual understanding. One-hundred and forty-three students enrolled in the course of Electronics participated in this study. Instruments used to measure task interpretation and conceptual understanding were created, piloted, and applied before and after selected laboratory activities during the semester. Findings suggest students’ task interpretation change during the task process, increasing after the completion of laboratory activity but still showing low levels of task interpretation. Findings confirm previous research stating that students generally have an incomplete understanding of the assigned tasks, and students struggle to establish a connection between laboratory activities and theory. Lastly, this study reports a significant relationship between students’ task interpretation and conceptual understanding in laboratory work.