Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 24, Issue 6, pp 789–802 | Cite as

Cycles of Exploration, Reflection, and Consolidation in Model-Based Learning of Genetics

  • Beaumie Kim
  • Suneeta A. Pathak
  • Michael J. Jacobson
  • Baohui Zhang
  • Janice D. Gobert


Model-based reasoning has been introduced as an authentic way of learning science, and many researchers have developed technological tools for learning with models. This paper describes how a model-based tool, BioLogica™, was used to facilitate genetics learning in secondary 3-level biology in Singapore. The research team co-designed two different pedagogical approaches with teachers, both of which involved learner-centered “exploration and reflection” with BioLogica and teacher-led “telling” or “consolidation.” One group went through the stand-alone BioLogica units for all topics prior to a series of teacher-led instructions, whereas the other group was engaged in teacher-led activities after using BioLogica for each topic. Based on the results of a series of tests on genetics, the groups performed differently from what the teacher had expected. We explore how the design of the two approaches and interactions among students might have contributed to the results.


Model-based reasoning Science learning Genetics Educational technology 



The work described here was supported by the Learning Sciences Lab of National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore (LSL 16/06 ZBH). The authors are now in different parts of the world. We would like to thank the teachers for their contributions from the start of the project, the students participated in the study, Feng Deng for his assistance in research implementation, Feifei Wang for conducting initial statistical analysis, Mitchell Colp on his advice on statistical analysis, and Xiuqin Lin for her technical support. We are also indebted for the helpful comments from our former colleagues, Kate T. Anderson, Kate Bielaczyc, Manu Kapur, and Steven Zuiker, the writing group members at the University of Calgary, and the anonymous reviewer of the journal.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beaumie Kim
    • 1
  • Suneeta A. Pathak
    • 2
  • Michael J. Jacobson
    • 3
  • Baohui Zhang
    • 4
  • Janice D. Gobert
    • 5
  1. 1.University of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.University Preparation CentreNashikIndia
  3. 3.The University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  4. 4.Shaanxi Normal UniversityXi’anChina
  5. 5.Worcester Polytechnic InstituteWorcesterUSA

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