Instructional Efficiency of Tutoring in an Outreach Gene Technology Laboratory
- 294 Downloads
Our research objective focused on examining the instructional efficiency of tutoring as a form of instructional change as opposed to a non-tutoring approach in an outreach laboratory. We designed our laboratory based on cognitive load (CL) theory. Altogether, 269 twelfth-graders participated in our day-long module Genetic Fingerprinting. In a quasi-experimental design, the control group (n = 121) followed the non-tutoring approach previously used, while the treatment group (n = 148) followed the newly developed tutoring approach. Each tutor was in charge of two student work groups and recorded the tutoring activities requested by the tutees throughout the day. We measured the students’ invested mental effort (as an index of CL), cognitive achievement (in a pre-post-follow-up design), and the students’ cooperation in their work groups as well as calculated the student instructional involvement (as a motivational variable). Additionally, we examined which aspects of the hands-on phases were of particular relevance to the students’ invested mental effort. Unexpectedly, the combined mental effort and cognitive achievement data indicated that our implemented tutoring approach resulted in a lower instructional efficiency despite the relevance of tutoring for students’ mental effort invested during the experimental phases. Most of the tutor assistance was unnecessarily requested for performing the procedural steps and using the equipment. Our results indicate an assistance dilemma and consequently underscore the necessity for effective tutor preparation in outreach laboratories.
KeywordsScience education Tutoring Hands-on experiments Cognitive load theory Outreach learning Biology education
We are thankful to the teachers and students involved in this study for their cooperation. Additionally, we are thankful for the supportive comments of two anonymous reviewers. The study was funded by the Bavarian State Ministry of the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection; the Oberfranken Foundation; and the German National Science Foundation (DFG BO 944/4-5).
- American Society of Human Genetics (2011). Genetics education outreach network (GEON ). http://www.ashg.org/education/k12_geon.shtml. Access 11 July 2012.
- Bavarian Ministry of Education (2011). Education in Bavaria. http://www.km.bayern.de/education-in-bavaria.html. Access 11 July 2012.
- Dalbert, C. (1996). Über den Umgang mit Ungerechtigkeit. Eine psychologische Analyse. [About handling injustice. A psychological analysis]. Bern, Switzerland, Huber.Google Scholar
- Engeln, K. (2004). Schülerlabors: authentische, aktivierende Lernumgebungen als Möglichkeit, Interesse an Naturwissenschaften und Technik zu wecken [Outreach laboratories: authentic and activating learning settings in order to develop interest in science and techniques]. Berlin: Logos.Google Scholar
- Euler, M. (2004). The role of experiments in the teaching and learning of physics. In E. Redish & M. Vicentini (Eds.), Research on physics education (pp. 175–221). Amsterdam: Ios Press.Google Scholar
- Glowinski, I. (2007). Schülerlabore im Themenbereich Molekularbiologie als Interesse fördernde Lernumgebungen. [Outreach laboratories in molecular biology as learning settings furthering interest]. Doctoral Thesis, Christian Albrecht University Kiel, Germany. http://eldiss.uni-kiel.de/macau/receive/dissertation_diss_2564. Access 11 July 2012.
- Hock, M.F., Deshler, D.D., & Schumaker, J.B. (1999). Tutoring programs for academically underprepared college students: A review of literature. Journal of College Reading and Learning, 29, 101–122.Google Scholar
- Hodson, D. (1998). Teaching and Learning Science. Towards a personalized approach. Philadelphia: Open University Press.Google Scholar
- Hucke, L., & Fischer, H. (2002). The link of theory and practise in traditional and in computer-based labs. In D. Psillos & H. Niedderer (Eds.), Teaching and learning in the science laboratory (pp. 205–218). Dordrecht: Academic.Google Scholar
- Johnstone, A., & Wham, A. (1982). The demands of practical work. Educational Chemistry, 19, 71–73.Google Scholar
- Kasai, K., Nakamura, Y., & White, R. (1990). Amplification of a variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR) locus (pMCT118) by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and its application to forensic science. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 35, 1196–1200.Google Scholar
- Millar, R. (2010). Practical work. In J. Osborne & J. Dillon (Eds.), Science teaching (pp. 108–134). Berkshire: McGraw Hill Open University.Google Scholar
- Morin, P. A., & Smith, D. G. (1995). Nonradioactive detection of hypervariable simple sequence repeats in short polyacrylamide gels. BioTechniques, 19, 223–228.Google Scholar
- Niedderer, S., Von Aufschnaiter, S., Tigerhien, A., Buty, C., Haller, K., Hucke, L., Sander, F., & Fischer, H. (2002). Talking physics in labwork contexts—a category based analysis of videotapes. In D. Psillos & H. Niedderer (Eds.), Teaching and learning in the science laboratory (pp. 31–40). Dordrecht: Academic.Google Scholar
- Paas, F., & Van Merriënboer, J. (1993). The efficiency of instructional conditions: an approach to combine mental effort and performance measures. Human Factors, 35, 737–743.Google Scholar
- Pawek, C. (2009). Schülerlabore als interessefördernde außerschulische Lernumgebungen für Schülerinnen und Schüler aus der Mittel- und Oberstufe. [Outreach laboratories as learning settings furthering interest of secondary school students] Doctoral Thesis, Christian Albrecht University Kiel, Germany. http://www.dlr.de/schoollab/Portaldata/24/Resources/dokumente/Diss_Pawek.pdf. Access 11 July 2012.
- Sander, F., Schecker, H., & Niedderer, H. (2002). Computer tools in the lab—effects linking theory and experiment. In D. Psillos & H. Niedderer (Eds.), Teaching and learning in the science laboratory (pp. 219–230). Dordrecht: Academic.Google Scholar
- Scharfenberg, F.-J., & Bogner, F. X. (2011b). Teaching gene technology in an outreach lab: students' assigned cognitive load clusters and the clusters' relationships to learner characteristics, laboratory variables, and cognitive achievement. Research in Science Education. doi: 10.1007/s11165-011-9251-4.
- Sigma (2000). GenElute mammalian DNA kit. Technical Bulletin, MB 660Google Scholar
- Smith, K. (1996). Cooperative learning: Making "group work" work. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 67, 71–82.Google Scholar
- Standing Conference (Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany; 2003): Richtlinien zur Sicherheit im Unterricht - Naturwissenschaften, Technik/Arbeitslehre, Hauswirtschaft, Kunst. [Policies regarding safety in science, techniques, and home economics education as well as arts]. Official letters of the Bavarian Ministry of Education, Sept. 9th, 2003, No. VI.8-5 S 4400.13-6.72 085.Google Scholar
- Tallmadge, G. (1977). The joint dissemination review panel ideabook. Washington: National Institute of Education.Google Scholar
- Todt, E., & Götz, C. (2000). Interests and attitudes of adolescents regarding genetic engineering. In H. Bayrhuber, W. Garvin, & J. Grainger (Eds.), Teaching biotechnology at school: a European perspective (pp. 146–154). Germany: IPN.Google Scholar
- Wolf, R. (1997). Rating scales. In J. Keeves (Ed.), Educational research, methodology and measurement: an international handbook (pp. 958–965). Oxford: Elsevier.Google Scholar