Using a computer simulation to enhance students' conceptual development : a pilot study

Gossett, Roger (2003) Using a computer simulation to enhance students' conceptual development : a pilot study. Investigations in university teaching and learning, 1 (2). pp. 45-48. ISSN 1740-5106


Within Higher Education (HE) the ability to understand, interpret and evaluate quantitative research findings is an essential skill. Students need to understand how data are gathered and analysed, how results and findings are derived and how to analyse and critically evaluate their own research findings and those from the literature. In Sports Studies, as in most disciplines, research methods and statistics are core components of undergraduate courses. Anecdotally, and from the author’s own experience, modules with a perceived high level of mathematics content (e.g. research methods and biomechanics) are considered by students as difficult. This perception may, in part, be due to the varied mathematical background of the student intake, a contention supported by research (Crawford et al, 1998). Furthermore, earlier results by the same authors (1994) indicated that, “over 75% of students conceive of mathematics as a fragmented body of knowledge and learn it using repetitive and surface approaches”. It is well documented (Biggs, 1979; Entwistle & Ramsden, 1983; Marton & Säljö, 1976) that students whose learning occurs through making abstractions or connections in order to derive meaning concerning reality are likely to adopt "deep" approaches to study, while students who conceive of learning in terms of discrete increases in the knowledge base are likely to adopt a "surface" approach.

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