|Randler, C; Bogner, FX: Comparing methods of instruction using bird species identification skills as indicators, Journal of Biological Education, 36/4, 2-9 (2002)|
The objective of our study focused on a comparison of two different methods of educational instruction, both dealing with the improvement of pupils with regard to bird species identification skills. 14 common bird species around central European lakes were selected. The first method consisted of a hands-on and group-based learning style with (stuffed) taxidermic specimens (instruction-1), the other one mainly was based on a teacher-centred slide presentation (instruction-2). We defined three subgroups according to grade and school stratification level: (i) 5th grade Realschule (medium stratification) (N=25 versus N=28). (ii) 6th grade Realschule (N=51 versus N=81). (iii) 6th grade Gymnasium (highest stratification) (N=29 versus N=28). We used a battery of tests to examine existing knowledge, learning effects and retention effects. Both instructional methods provided a significant increase in knowledge, but revealed different retention effects depending on the method of instruction, selected subgroup and also gender. Consequences for the school practice are discussed.