Support for simulation-based learning: The effect of assignments in learning about transmission lines

  • Ton de Jong
  • Hermann Härtel
  • Janine Swaak
  • Wouter van Joolingen
Invited Papers
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 1108)


This article discusses a study on discovery learning with a computer simulation environment in the physics domain of transmission lines. In the learning environment, which is called TeEl, based on the numerical solution of the telegraph equations, the transmission of changes in voltage and current are simulated and visualised. The instructional goal concerns the basic nature of the concepts ‘transmission’, ‘superposition’, and ‘reflection’. In the experiment we conducted with TeEl, the emphasis was on the role of assignments in the discovery learning process. The intended instructional role of assignments is to guide the learner through the domain and in this way to support the planning process. Moreover, by presenting the adequate assignments, learners can be pointed to phenomena they perhaps would not have discovered on their own. In the experiment the effect of providing assignments was evaluated by comparing the learning behaviour and results of learners over two experimental conditions. The first condition presented a simulation environment that was surrounded by explanations and built up through different levels of model progression, and also had a large number of on-line assignments available from which subjects could choose. In the second condition the same environment was presented, but now assignments were replaced by short introductory texts pointing the subjects to relevant phenomena. Learners' use of the environment was logged and their learning result was assessed using a number of different assessment procedures. Results showed that assignments helped students in mastering the domain as reflected in a test of their intuitive knowledge.


Cognitive Load Transfer Test Model Progression Telegraph Equation Discovery Learning 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ton de Jong
    • 1
  • Hermann Härtel
    • 2
  • Janine Swaak
    • 1
  • Wouter van Joolingen
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Educational Science and TechnologyUniversity of TwenteThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Institute for Science EducationKielGermany

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