The chapter of “Research on Instructional Strategies to Improve Geoscience Learning in Different Settings and with Different Technologies (e.g., place-based instruction, teaching large lectures, online instruction)” reflects a comprehensive perspective about innovating instructional strategies for geoscience education. It is very forward-thinking as the authors have proposed the grand challenges from environmental perspectives, and those from instructional innovation, teachers’ professional development, research for evidence, culture, inclusion, and diversity, and utilization of the potential of current research tools for meta-analysis and complex studies.
If there is anything that can enhance the current challenges, those can include:
1) Investigate what has been truly instrumental to the effectiveness in online learning (not merely instruction) [notes: no significant difference between online and face-to-face instruction has been a long-lasting topic in the research in online and distance education (Lim, Kim, Chen, & Ryder, 2008; Moore & Kearsley, 2011; Twigg, 2003). There are also several recent meta-analysis studies about online, face-to-face, and blended learning (Means, Toyama, Murphy, & Baki, 2013; Means, Toyama, Murphy, Bakia, & Jones, 2009). In addition, reviews about benefits and limitations in online vs. face-to-face instruction are not rare (Appana, 2008). Therefore, the first sub-category of Grand Challenge 1 may need some more specific definition.]
2) Investigate alternative design of learning activities and assessment strategies, techniques and instruments that are unique to geoscience education, such as virtual field trips and authentic learning (Clary & Wandersee, 2010; Cook, 2006; Herrington, Oliver, & Herrington, 2000; Reeves, 2000)
3) Collaborate with K-12 and workforce partners in longitudinal research about transfer of learning (Kuenzi, 2008; National Research Council, 2013)
Appana, S. (2008). A Review of Benefits and Limitations of Online Learning in the Context of the Student, the Instructor, and the Tenured Faculty. International Journal on ELearning.
Clary, R. M., & Wandersee, J. H. (2010). Virtual Field Exercises in the Online Classroom: Practicing Science Teachers’ Perceptions of Effectiveness, Best Practices, and Implementation. Journal of College Science Teaching, 39(4), 50–58.
Cook, M. P. (2006). Visual representations in science education: The influence of prior knowledge and cognitive load theory on instructional design principles. Science Education, 90(6), 1073–1091.
Herrington, J., Oliver, R., & Herrington, E. J. (2000). An Instructional Design Framework for Authentic Learning Environments. Source: Educational Technology Research and Development, 48(3), 23–48.
Kuenzi, J. (2008). Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education: Background, Federal Policy, and Legislative Action. Congressional Research Service Reports, 1–18.
Lim, J., Kim, M., Chen, S. S., & Ryder, C. E. (2008). An Empirical Investigation of Student Achievement and Satisfaction in Different Learning Environments. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 35(2), 113–120.
Means, B., Toyama, Y., Murphy, R., & Baki, M. (2013). The Effectiveness of Online and Blended Learning: A Meta-Analysis of the Empirical Literature. Teachers College Record, 115(30303).
Means, B., Toyama, Y., Murphy, R., Bakia, M., & Jones, K. (2009). Evaluation of evidence-based practices in online learning: A meta-analysis and review of online learning studies. US Department of Education. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/tech/evidence-based-practices/finalreport.pdf
Moore, M. G., & Kearsley, G. (2011). Distance Education: A Systems View of Online Learning - Michael G. Moore, Greg Kearsley. Cengage Education.
National Research Council. (2013). Monitoring Progress Toward Successful K-12 STEM Education: A Nation Advancing?
Reeves, T. C. (2000). Alternative Assessment Approaches for Online Learning Environments in Higher Education. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 23(1), 101–111.
Twigg, C. A. (2003). Improving Learning and Reducing Costs: New Models for Online Learning.
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