Doctoral Dissertation

19.6.2018 Lic.Phil. Oiva Utriainen (Faculty of Education and Psychology, Education)


19.6.2018 12:00 — 15:00

Location: Seminaarinmaki , Ruusupuisto, RUU D101 (Juho)
Lic.Phil. Oiva Utriainen defends his doctoral dissertation in Education "Käsitteellinen ymmärtäminen ja fysiikan oppimiseen liittyvät odotukset lukion mekaniikassa". Opponent Docent Antti Savinainen (University of Jyväskylä) and Custos Professor Jouni Viiri (University of Jyväskylä). The doctoral dissertation is held in Finnish.

Oiva Utriainen.jpgEarlier research (Utriainen 2004) and subsequent examination of learning outcomes revealed a lack of understanding regarding the connection between an object’s state of motion and object interactions. Creating force diagrams and writing equations of motion were difficult for students. During a compulsory physics course, students develop a concept of physics as a subject and of how to study it. These experiences may be significant for their expectations of advanced courses in physics.

Two objectives were set for the instruction: first, to enhance qualitative competence in assignments related to Newton’s second and third laws and the writing of equations of motion; and, second, to influence students’ expectations of their own success on mechanics courses. The curriculum reform made it possible to conduct comparative research.

In the teaching experiment, the control group’s (N = 19) textbook was based on Finland’s national core curriculum of 1994 and the test group’s (N = 18) textbook on the national core curriculum of 2004. The control group’s textbook contained no interaction diagram. A perceptional approach, in which collision tests provided the basis for Newton’s laws, was used in both groups. In addition, the test group’s study guidelines were renewed by highlighting familiarisation with the following lesson’s theme and the importance of effort instead of intelligence. Class work was carried out in groups of 3 to 4 students, and the same teacher taught in both groups. The change in learning was examined with concept tests and calculation tasks.

There were no differences between the textbooks as regards their readability index, but the test group’s book implemented the coherence, signalling and spatial contiguity principles of multimedia learning, which seems to affect the test results.

In Newton’s third law, the study indicated no statistically significant differences between the learning outcomes of the test group and the control group. In the context of Newton’s second law, however, the test group’s learning outcomes were better than those of the control group in 55% of the tests, and the effect size was large. The second-year course did not change the students’ expectations, which seem to have become stable during the first-year course.

Based on an inquiry, the test group differed statistically from the control group in that the students were able to set realistic goals and work in a target-oriented way irrespective of learning materials and personal preferences. The control group’s learning outcomes did not surpass those of the test group in any of the tests or assignments.

Keywords: Cognitive architecture, cognitive load theory, cognitive theory of multimedia learning, working memory, scheme

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