État de publication: Publiée (1997 )
Nom de la revue: Instructional science
Intervalle de pages: 255-305
Résumé: Many researchers have stressed the importance of qualitative understanding of physical phenomena, particularly in the context of exploratory learning environments. Qualitative understanding proves to be a major part of the expert's ability to solve complex problems in physics. Some researchers think that this kind of reasoning, far from being specific to experts' knowledge, also characterizes intuitive understanding and plays a part in the transition from intuitive knowledge to more expert knowledge. It is therefore important to help students develop their qualitative reasoning and extend their existing useful conceptions. This paper presents a task analysis of a computer microworld of force and motion problems that allows students to gain a qualitative understanding of some aspects of vector algebra. The aim of the task analysis being to develop a qualitative curriculum for exploratory learning, we tried to represent the knowledge to be acquired in such a way as to promote the progressive conceptual understanding of some basic aspects of Newton's laws of motion, taking into account students' intuitive knowledge about physics. The task analysis was undertaken prior to the experimental study in order to provide guidance for students in their exploration of the microworld. The experimental work allows us to validate and extend the a priori analysis.
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