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Effectiveness of Computer Simulation for Enhancing Higher Order Thinking

Effectiveness of Computer Simulation for Enhancing Higher Order Thinking,Anu A. Gokhale

Effectiveness of Computer Simulation for Enhancing Higher Order Thinking   (Citations: 40)
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(Abstract) The National Education Association Research Division (1994) stated that student acquisition of higher order thinking skills is now a national goal. In a world in which technology is changing rapidly, workers need to be able to think creatively and solve problems so that the United States can stay economically competitive. A primary objective of today's teachers is to prepare students for the world of tomorrow. Pogrow (1994) indicated that if students are to be competitive in the years to come, faculty need to be able to provide their students with the cognitive strategies that will enable them to think critically, make decisions, and solve problems. According to Leutner (1993), in traditional education, the teacher is responsible for the students' learning. Teachers typically lecture to students who take notes and then memorize and recall the material to perform well on examinations. This type of learning environment is not appropriate for college students who bring life skills and increased reasoning ability to the classroom. In such a situation, it may be appropriate for students to take responsibility for their own education. One method of transferring the responsibility from the teacher to the student is through guided discovery. Guided discovery was developed by Dr. Charles E. Wales at the Center for Guided Design, West Virginia University (Leutner, 1993). In contrast to unguided exploratory activities, guided discovery has been found to be an effective learning method (Veenman, Elshout, & Busato, 1994). This method stimulates group interaction and is challenging enough to force students to use resources beyond what are available in the classroom. Menn (1993) evaluated the impact of different instructional media on student retention of subject matter. It was found that students remember only 10% of what they read; 20% of what they hear; 30%, if they see visuals related to what they are hearing; 50%, if they watch someone do something while explaining it; but almost 90%, if they do the job themselves even if only as a simulation. In other words, guided discovery through labs and computer simulations that are properly designed and implemented could revolutionize education. The purpose of this study was to incorporate the characteristics of guided discovery in the use of computer simulation activities to explore the impact on the problem-solving ability of students. These activities were integrated into a traditional lecture-lab sequence.
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