Citekey: @mikkila-erdmann2001

Mikkilä-Erdmann, M. (2001). Improving conceptual change concerning photosynthesis through text design. Learning and Instruction, 11(3), 241–257. doi:10.1016/S0959-4752(00)00041-4


Literature review * the simplest form of conceptual change: enrichment–accumulation on the level of specific theory * revision: reorganization of knowledge on the level of the framework theory—so more difficult and need specific instruction * problem: students are not aware the contradiction, so tend to enrich rather than revise them. * Learners acquired lot of facts and added new explanations to the representations they already had, but were not able to apply them in solving problems * Presenting a cognitive conflict does notseem to be enough for promoting conceptual change (Caravita & Hallden, 1994, p. 95; Limon & Carretero, 1997, p. 218).

Textbook–what type of text could promote conceptual change in relation to scientific topics

Wang and Andre (1991):“conceptual change text” * to elicit students’ common misconceptions * to activate the students’ existing schemata * provide information countering the misconceptions * however, a traditional expository text; hard to distinguish whether the diagrams cause the gains Guzzetti et al. (1992): find a type of text which has been proved to foster conceptual change * a refutational text which attempted to create a cognitive conflict and explain why the naive conception is incorrect seemed to be more effective

the difference with younger and older students young students—lack of metaconceptual awareness, then conflict and discomfort will not lead to revision of the framework theory

mental model—the very criterion of text comprehension connecting prior knowledge and text information

recognition of the differences between naive and scientific representations—an important prerequisite for conceptual change this study: text characteristics which stimulate metaconceptual awareness—an even more crucial factor text design: a refutational text


The main differences in the two versions of text are as follows: (a) macro-level organisation: start from energy—all creatures need energy to live, and plants can make energy by themselves; water as an energy (b) textual units inducing metaconceptual awareness. points out the difference between possible misconceptions of the learner and the scientific thinking concerning photosynthesis keep the reader on the right path to construct an adequate mental model there are seven metaconceptual text elements * this sentence is interesting. i wonder whether there is any other way to keep students on the “right” path

Pretest-posttest questions (1) Retention questions (2) Inferential text comprehension questions (3) Critical distinction questions (4) Generative questions

Results treatment effect on (3) Critical distinction questions and (4) Generative questions but not on (1) and (2)

leave some research questions to be investigatedhow long lasting and stable are the conceptual changes generated? the interaction between levels of text comprehension and conceptual change is an interesting question for future studies the effect of text design on conceptual change could also be related to the text comprehension process the role of pictures

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Bodong Chen, University of Minnesota

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