Design and non-design labs: Does transfer occur?

A. Karelina, Eugenia Etkina, Maria Ruibal-Villasenor, David Rosengrant, Alan Van Heuvelen, Cindy Hmelo-Silver

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


This paper is the second in the series of three describing a controlled study "Transfer of scientific abilities". The study was conducted in a large-enrollment introductory physics course taught via Investigative Science Learning Environment. Its goal was to find whether designing their own experiments in labs affects students' approaches to experimental problem solving in new areas of physics and in biology, and their learning of physics concepts. This paper reports on the part of the study that assesses student work while solving an experimental problem in a physics content area not studied in class. For a quantitative evaluation of students' abilities, we used scientific abilities rubrics. We studied the students' lab reports and answers to non-traditional exam problems related to the lab. We evaluated their performance and compared it with the performance of a control group that had the same course but enrolled in non-design labs instead of design labs. The project was supported by NSF grant DRL 0241078.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2007 Physics Education Research Conference, PERC
Number of pages4
StatePublished - 2007
Event2007 Physics Education Research Conference: Cognitive Science and Physics Education Research, PERC - Greensboro, NC, United States
Duration: Aug 1 2007Aug 2 2007

Publication series

NameAIP Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0094-243X
ISSN (Electronic)1551-7616


Other2007 Physics Education Research Conference: Cognitive Science and Physics Education Research, PERC
CountryUnited States
CityGreensboro, NC

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Plant Science
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


  • Design labs
  • Scientific abilities
  • Sense-making
  • Transfer

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