Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 193–206 | Cite as

Guidance Provided by Teacher and Simulation for Inquiry-Based Learning: a Case Study



Current research indicates that inquiry-based learning should be guided in order to achieve optimal learning outcomes. The need for guidance is even greater when simulations are used because of their high information content and the difficulty of extracting information from them. Previous research on guidance for learning with simulations has concentrated on guidance provided by the simulation. Little research has been done on the role of the teacher in guiding learners with inquiry-based activities using simulations. This descriptive study focuses on guidance provided during small group investigations; pre-service teachers (n = 8) guided third and fifth graders using a particular simulation. Data was collected using screen capture videos. The data was analyzed using a combination of theory- and data-driven analysis. Forms of guidance provided by the simulation and by the teachers were divided into the same categories. The distribution of the guidance between the teacher and the simulation was also analyzed. The categories for forms of guidance provided by simulations proved to be applicable to guidance provided by the teachers as well. Teachers offered more various forms of guidance than the simulation. The teachers adapted their guidance and used different patterns to complement the guidance provided by the simulation. The results of the study show that guidance provided by teachers and simulations have different affordances, and both should be present in the classroom for optimal support of learning. This has implications for both teaching with simulations and development of new simulations.


Simulations Educational technology Inquiry-based learning Guidance Scaffolding 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


This study has been partially funded through a grant from the Technology Industries of Finland Centennial Foundation and from the Ellen and Artturi Nyyssönen Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Teacher EducationUniversity of JyvaskylaUniversity of JyvaskylaFinland

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