Students’ Adaptation and Transfer of Strategies across Levels of Scaffolding in an Exploratory Environment
While the effect of scaffolding on learning has received much attention, less is known about its effect on students’ strategy use, especially in transfer activities. This study focuses on students’ adaptive behaviours as a function of given scaffolding and when transitioning from a scaffolded to an unstructured activity. We study this in the context of a complex physics simulation in which students choose between 124 different actions. We evaluate (i) how the scaffolding affects students’ building and testing behaviours, (ii) whether these behaviours transfer to an unstructured activity, and (iii) the relationship between the adapted behaviours and learning. A repeated-measures MANOVA suggests that students adapt their learning behaviours according to the demands and affordances of the task and the environment, and that these strategies transfer from a scaffolded to an unstructured activity. No significant relationships were found between these patterns and learning.
Keywordsscaffolding inquiry learning microworlds interactive simulations transfer self-regulated learning
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