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Title: Step-Based Tutoring Software for Complex Procedures in Circuit Analysis
Step-based tutoring systems, in which each step of a student’s work is accepted by a computer using special interfaces and provided immediate feedback, are known to be more effective in promoting learning than traditional and more common answer-based tutoring systems, in which only the final (usually numerical) answer is evaluated. Prior work showed that this approach can be highly effective in the domain of linear circuit analysis in teaching topics involving relatively simple solution procedures. Here, we demonstrate a novel application of this approach to more cognitively complex, multi-step procedures used to analyze linear circuits using the superposition and source transformation methods. Both methods require that students interactively edit a circuit diagram repeatedly, interspersed with the writing of relevant equations. Scores on post-tests and student opinions are compared using a blind classroom-based experiment where students are randomly assigned to use either the new system or a commercially published answer-based tutoring system on these topics. Post-test scores are not statistically significantly different but students prefer the step-based system by a margin of 84 to 11% for superposition and 68 to 23% for source transformations.
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Proceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference
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National Science Foundation
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