|Schaal, S; Bogner, FX: Human visual perception - learning at workstations, Journal of Biological Education, 40(1), 32-37 (2005)|
This empirical study describes a comparison of two forms of instruction for practical school work within a biological area. It focuses on a comparison with an identical content, one based on “working at learning stations” (instruction-1) and the other on a conventional approach (instruction-2). The concise content of both instructions dealt with a regular 9th grade syllabus issue, the visual perception. Instruction-1 included a phenomenological introduction, collaborative and learner-centred phases as well as hands-on science activities. The study was conducted with 9th graders (N= 125) of medium and highest stratification level at secondary schools. We assessed the individually acquired knowledge with regard to anatomical and physical conceptions and the understanding of visual perception. The specific comparison covered the cognitive learning effects (measured on three different occasions: pre-test, post-test and retention-test) and a survey of emotional aspects. Both instructional methods lead to a significant increase of conceptual knowledge, but provided different emotional effects depending on the method of instruction. The pupils of instruction-1 perceived the importance of the specific subject matter significantly higher with regard to their personal future life (compared to the conventional instruction group). However, participating pupils reported lower “well-being” scores in instruction-1 but less boredom in the (conventional) instruction-2. Apparently pupils need to adjust to a new learning environment. Conclusions for practical school work are discussed.