Explicit Teaching and Scaffolding to Enhance Concept Learning by Design Challenges
This paper presents a mixed methods study, carried out among 21 first-year student teachers, that investigated learning outcomes of a modified Learning by Design (LBD) task. The study is part of a series of studies that aims to improve learning, teaching and teacher training. Design-based science challenges are reasonably successful project-based approaches for breaking down the boundaries between traditional STEM subjects. Previous learning outcomes of the extensively studied LBD approach demonstrated a strong positive effect on students’ skills. However, compared to traditional classroom settings, LBD provided little profit on (scientific) concept learning. For this, according to two preliminary studies, a lack of explicit teaching and scaffolding strategies, both strongly teacher-dependent, bears a share of responsibility. The results of the third study discussed in this paper indicate that emphasizing these strategies strengthens concept learning without reducing positive effects on skill performances.