Using structured examples and prompting reflective questions to correct misconceptions about thermodynamic concepts
This paper explores the effectiveness of using ‘structured examples in concert with prompting reflective questions’ to address misconceptions held by mechanical engineering students about thermodynamic principles by employing pre-test and post-test design, a structured questionnaire, lecture room observation, and participants’ interviews. Students’ misconceptions were identified through pre-tests that evaluated students’ understanding of the chosen concepts, while conceptual change was assessed in pre-test–post-test design that revealed students’ ability to apply the concepts and transfer skills from a worked example to satisfactorily undertake a fairly complex similar problem. The use of worked examples in concert with prompting reflective questions is effective for inducing correct conceptual change and effective problem-solving skills. However, it is recommended that engineering tutors should incorporate inquiry-based learning approach and computer simulations alongside the use of worked examples with prompting reflective questions in order to enhance students’ conceptual understanding of thermodynamic concepts.
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Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Department of Mechanical Engineering Science, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, 2006, South Africa
Publication date: March 4, 2014