The effects of a concept map-based support tool on simulation-based inquiry learning

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Students often need support to optimize their learning in inquiry learning environments. In 2 studies, we investigated the effects of adding concept-map-based support to a simulation-based inquiry environment on kinematics. The concept map displayed the main domain concepts and their relations, while dynamic color coding of the concepts displayed students' task progression and performance success on assignments in the simulation environment. Study 1 (N = 61) showed that students who saw the concept map with color coding outperformed students who had only the concept map. Both of these conditions outperformed students in a control condition without concept map. Process data showed no difference between conditions for number of completed and incorrectly completed assignments, but students in the color-coded concept map condition more often restudied assignments they initially completed incorrectly than did students in the other 2 conditions. Study 2 (N = 99) investigated whether the concept map's effectiveness was due to its suggestion of a learning route or to its direct display of the domain. Manipulations were (a) concept map present or absent and (b) optimal or suboptimal routing signals through the domain content. All conditions received color coding. Results showed that both the concept map and optimal routing signals improved learning, suggesting that the 2 manipulations supplemented each other. The discussion details aspects of concept map-based support that may be especially relevant for student learning and behavior in inquiry learning environments
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of educational psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • METIS-297107
  • IR-86865


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