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This activity takes place in a course dedicated to software
We want to teach students the learning
theories underlying design choices in courseware development,
more precisely we
want them to understand that there is not ONE correct theory
or design choice but that it depends on the situation at hand.
The scenario is as follows:
Students start to fill in a questionnaire about concrete
• for instance, "is it
better to give immediate feedback or not when a student makes
They have to make a choice between
several option and to give a written argument for their
On the basis of the answers the student gave to the questionnaire, the
system produces a scatterplot of opinions.
Students see the scatterplot all together and the teacher uses
this data to form pairs of students
Pairs are formed so as to maximise the distance between
Students then fill in the SAME questionnaire in pairs
•They see the solo arguments each of them gave at phase 1
•They have to make a common choice
•And to provide a written argument for their choice
Finally, the teacher uses these informations to debrief the
It is not sufficient to propose an innovative scenario, it is
also necessary to evaluate what kind of learning
mechanisms it is able to trigger
We have taken a closer look to the arguments the students
provided to support their choices
This table shows results for the arguments provided by
pairs of students
We have already seen what is meant by conflict in this
We have coded the arguments by distinguishing three
"Accept" is an argument in favor of a choice
"Condition" is a type of argument which allows
students to assign a condition to their choice.
"Discard" corresponds to an argument rejecting
It is interesting to notice that almost all the
"Condition" arguments were given in a
We think this is a way of
solving the conflict by coordinating the different opinions.
Let's also notice that this type of argument violates the instruction
to give an argument to support only one choice
BUT it matches the pedagogical goal of the activity because it brings students to use situational facts to justify their choice
We have also coded the arguments with respect to the
Again, these are duo arguments.
•A "New" argument contains ideas whir are neither present in
A's solo argument nor in B's solo argument
•A "Union" argument contains both A and B's solo arguments
• A "Victoty"
arguments corresponds to the case where one students wins and the pair uses his argument as the duo argument.
It is interesting to see the high number of "New"
arguments in the conflictual condition.
Again, it seems that when having to explain their choice and searching
an alternative, students explore the subject matter more
than when there is no conflict.