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Title: Investigating the Relative Difficulty of Various Complex Systems Ideas in Biology
Authors: Goh, Sao-Ee
Yoon, Susan
Wang, Joyce
Yang, Zhitong
Klopfer, Eric
Issue Date: Jul-2012
Publisher: International Society of the Learning Sciences (ISLS)
Citation: Goh, S., Yoon, S., Wang, J., Yang, Z., & Klopfer, E. (2012). Investigating the Relative Difficulty of Various Complex Systems Ideas in Biology. In van Aalst, J., Thompson, K., Jacobson, M. J., & Reimann, P. (Eds.), The Future of Learning: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS 2012) – Volume 1, Full Papers (pp. 72-79). Sydney, NSW, AUSTRALIA: International Society of the Learning Sciences.
Abstract: A number of students' biology misconceptions can be attributed to their lack of understanding in complex systems. Comprehending complex systems can be counterintuitive and difficult. A literature review reveals that we have yet to systematically determine a learning approach to address these learning challenges. In this paper, we propose that learning progressions research offers a methodical approach to organize the learning pathways students take to improve conceptual competence in complex systems. As a first step, we articulate a sequence of complex systems ideas - from the least to most difficult - by analyzing students' written responses. Using an Item Response Theory model, we found that the easiest ideas to grasp are those that relate to the interconnected nature of these systems whereas the most difficult ideas are those concerning the decentralized organization of the system, and the predictability of the system effects.
Appears in Collections:ICLS 2012

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