This research addresses issues in the design of online scaffolds for regulation within inquiry learning environments. The learning environment in this study included a physics simulation, data analysis tools, and a model editor for students to create runnable models. A regulative support tool called the Process Coordinator (PC) was designed to assist students in planning, monitoring, and evaluating their investigative efforts within this environment. In an empirical evaluation, 20 dyads received a “full” version of the PC with regulative assistance; dyads in the control group (n = 15) worked with an “empty” PC which contained minimal structures for regulative support. Results showed that both the frequency and duration of regulative tool use differed in favor of the PC+ dyads, who also wrote better lab reports. PC− dyads viewed the content helpfiles more often and produced better domain models. Implications of these differential effects are discussed and suggestions for future research are advanced.
- Science teaching
- Inquiry learning