Making connections among multiple graphical representations of fractions: sense-making competencies enhance perceptual fluency, but not vice versa
- Journal Article
Prior research shows that representational competencies that enable students to use graphical representations to reason and solve tasks is key to learning in many science, technology, engineering, and mathematics domains. We focus on two types of representational competencies: (1) sense making of connections by verbally explaining how different representations map to one another, and (2) perceptual fluency that allows students to fast and effortlessly use perceptual features to make connections among representations. Because these different competencies are acquired via different types of learning processes, they require different types of instructional support: sense-making activities and fluency-building activities. In a prior experiment, we showed benefits for combining sense-making activities and fluency-building activities. In the current work, we test how to combine these two forms of instructional support, specifically, whether students should first work on sense-making activities or on fluency-building activities. This comparison allows us to investigate whether sense-making competencies enhance students’ acquisition of perceptual fluency (sense-making-first hypothesis) or whether perceptual fluency enhances students’ acquisition of sense-making competencies (fluency-first hypothesis). We conducted a lab experiment with 74 students from grades 3–5 working with an intelligent tutoring system for fractions. We assessed learning processes and learning outcomes related to representational competencies and domain knowledge. Overall, our results support the sense-making-first hypothesis, but not the fluency-first hypothesis. Show more
Journal / seriesInstructional Science
Pages / Article No.
SubjectMultiple representations; Conceptual understanding; Perceptual fluency; Connection making; Intelligent tutoring systems; Fractions; Causal path analysis
Organisational unit09812 - Rau, Martina / Rau, Martina
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