Comparing the effects of modelling and analogy on high school students’ content understanding and transferability: The case of atomic structure

Song XUE, Daner SUN, Liying ZHU, Hui-Wen HUANG, Keith TOPPING

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

Analogies and modelling have been developed and applied in learning and teaching science to facilitate students’ understanding of abstract concepts, such as atomic structure. Considering few studies focus on comparing the effects of two teaching strategies—analogy-based teaching (ABT) and modelling-based teaching (MBT)—this study aims to compare the effects of ABT and MBT on high school students’ content understanding and transferability of atomic concepts in science. Implementing a quasi-experimental design with pre-post-delayed tests, the study compared learning outcomes achieved by the MBT group (N = 68) and the ABT group (N = 69). The results showed both MBT and ABT could improve students’ content understanding and promote transferability. However, the MBT group significantly outperformed the ABT group in terms of generating initial models and overall transferability. Although there was no difference in content understanding, or near or far transferability, at post-test between the two groups, the MBT group maintained more extended memory of atomic structure on the delayed post-test. Moreover, qualitative analysis of students’ drawings of atomic models revealed that both groups were able to develop and transfer their models, but inadequate scientific knowledge affected the quality of the transfer product. These findings have implications for designing and implementing instructional approaches that leverage analogy and modelling in the science class. Copyright © 2022 Journal of Baltic Science Education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-341
JournalJournal of Baltic Science Education
Volume21
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

Citation

Xue, S., Sun, D., Zhu, L., Huang, H.-W., & Topping, K. (2022). Comparing the effects of modelling and analogy on high school students’ content understanding and transferability: The case of atomic structure. Journal of Baltic Science Education, 21(2), 325-341. doi: 10.33225/jbse/22.21.325

Keywords

  • Analogy-based teaching
  • Atomic concepts
  • Modelling-based teaching
  • Science education

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