Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Full metadata record
DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorBarth-Cohen, Lauren
dc.contributor.authorLegare, Cristine
dc.contributor.authorLombrozo, Tania
dc.contributor.authorWilliams, Joseph
dc.contributor.authorMcNeill, Katherine
dc.contributor.authorKnight, Amanda
dc.contributor.authorZembal-Saul, Carla
dc.contributor.authorSandoval, William
dc.contributor.authorKawasaki, Jarod
dc.contributor.authorWhite, Barbara
dc.identifier.citationBarth-Cohen, L., Legare, C., Lombrozo, T., Williams, J., McNeill, K., Knight, A., Zembal-Saul, C., Sandoval, W., Kawasaki, J., & White, B. (2010). The Role of Explanations in Learning. In Gomez, K., Lyons, L., & Radinsky, J. (Eds.), Learning in the Disciplines: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS 2010) - Volume 2, Short Papers, Symposia, and Selected Abstracts (pp. 488-495). Chicago IL: International Society of the Learning Sciences.en_US
dc.description.abstractThis poster session brings together six perspectives on the role of explanations in learning. Each poster presents recent empirical and/or theoretical findings that address how, when or why explaining is beneficial for learning. This session will highlight the similarities and differences among how the term explanation is used in cognitive science, psychology, and science education with the aim of moving the field towards a better understanding of how explanations can support learning. By bringing together these researchers we aim to encourage communication around what constitutes an explanation and how the researchers from different communities are addressing similar issues, such as the nature of teacher's explanations, student's explanations, expert's explanations, and self-explanations and their role in learning. Introduction Explaining a phenomenon or why it occurs is viewed as a central element of science. Similarly, learning from scientific explanations is seen as an important goal of science education (National Research Council, 2007). A multi-disciplinary line of research from the science education community, cognitive psychology community and learning sciences community is interested in understanding the role of explanations in learning. In this symposium we bring together these different perspectives to highlight current research surrounding how and why explanations benefit learning, and identify similarities and differences among these approaches as to what constitutes an explanation. Rationale There is a great deal of evidence that the process of generating explanations can be beneficial to learning (e.g. Chi et al. 1994), and there is some evidence that explaining can promote conceptual change in young children (Amsterlaw & Wellman, 2006; Chi, 2000), but we do not know in detail how explaining helps learning (Lombrozo, 2006). Specifically we do not know what types of explanations are more or less beneficial for learning, what explanations look like in different disciplines, and what other factors might influence if and how explaining supports learning. This symposium has two main foci. First, we explore the relationship between the explanation and the type of learning being sought after, and second, we aim to identify variations within the term explanation. The researchers in this symposium address the role of explanations in learning in a variety of ways. For example, one poster investigates how teachers' pedagogical content knowledge of scientific explanation and argumentation changes while they learn new practices in professional development. Another poster investigates the relative impact of explanation, exploration and observation on children's learning of underlying causal relationships and mechanisms. Across these posters there are differences in the populations being studied and how researchers operationalize learning; however, the common focus on explanations in learning will enable productive communication between the researchers from different perspectives, and should support a fruitful discussion with audience members. Within the learning sciences community the term explanation is used in a variety of ways. The second goal of this symposium is to support a more precise understanding of the similarities and differences among these complementary perspectives. For example, one presenter views explanations as the "big ideas" or conceptual frameworks that are socially accepted by the professional science community, and aims to help students develop these kinds of complex understandings. Other posters view constructing explanations as a critical practice within the scientific community and present research that explores how both students and teachers develop epistemic understanding of scientific explanations. A poster from the cognitive science perspective builds upon the philosophy of science to view explaining as a constraint on learning that facilitates the interpretation of observations in terms of unifying patterns. One poster puts forth a comprehensive taxonomy of the possible components of a scientific explanation that can be used to characterize and better understand various types of novice and expert explanations (for a complete summary of posters, see Table 1). By bringing these perspectives together, we aim to encourage greater communication across fields and further our collective understanding of the nature and utility of explanations.en_US
dc.publisherInternational Society of the Learning Sciences (ISLS)en_US
dc.titleThe Role of Explanations in Learningen_US
Appears in Collections:ICLS 2010

Files in This Item:
File SizeFormat 
488-495.pdf335.36 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.