16 Scopus citations


In this paper on research-to-practice we have addressed the question of what the effect of different pedagogies would be on conceptual change and repair of misconceptions or 'impediments' of different origin. This has been done by measuring conceptual change over a semester with a Materials Concept Inventory (MCI) for four introductory materials science courses taught by the same instructor who employed four different pedagogies in 2002, 2003, 2007, and 2009. Conceptual change theory was used to frame the overall study using results of gains from particular MCI questions. These questions were selected since they each represented a prototype that fit Taber's five categories of the types of impediments that underlie the origins of different types of misconceptions. The degree of conceptual change achieved for the four different types of pedagogies was analyzed using Chi's recently published schema for characterizing the effectiveness of different active learning activities based on hypothesized underlying cognitive processes. In applying Chi's framework to MCI results for conceptual gain for the four pedagogies, they were ranked as follows: interactive with hands-on activity (concept sketching) > interactive with sorting activity (conceptcontext sort with no hands-on)> interactive discussion only > passive (lecture). Thus, the results agree in general with Chi's predicted effectiveness of learning, except that hands-on activities produced the most conceptual change as measured by the selected MCI questions. Overall, in this research-to-practice practice paper we have addressed, with a limited set of results, the question of what effect different pedagogies have on conceptual change and repair of misconceptions or 'impediments' of different origin. The results indicate that it may be possible to use these principles to design and create classroom environments, instructional materials, and activities that are intended to elicit in students cognitive processes and learning mechanisms that result in different degrees of conceptual gain in materials science and other engineering disciplines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)869-879
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2010


  • Conceptual change
  • Learning impediments
  • Misconceptions
  • Pedagogy
  • Teaching effectiveness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Engineering(all)


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