Refutation text and argumentation to promote conceptual change

Christa Asterhan, Maya Resnick

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


In the present work, we examine the accumulative effect of two instructional methods for conceptual change, refutation text and argumentation, which are expected to support two complementary processes that, according to current models, underlie conceptual change: Promoting awareness to and reducing interference of irrelevant knowledge structures and sense-making of the counterintuitive, scientifically accepted notions. Hundred undergraduates were randomly assigned to either read a refutation text and then conduct a peer discussion (Ref+Arg), or to read a refutation (RefOnly) or an expository (Control) text, followed by a standard, individual problem solving task. Results showed strong effects for refutation texts on both immediate and delayed post-tests. Contrary to expectations, subsequent peer argumentation did not further improve learning gains. Dyadic dialogue protocols analyses showed that gaining dyads were overall more likely to be symmetrical and to include a discussion of the core principles of natural selection. Several directions for future research are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)400-407
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of International Conference of the Learning Sciences, ICLS
Issue number2018-June
StatePublished - 2018
Event13th International Conference of the Learning Sciences, ICLS 2018: Rethinking Learning in the Digital Age: Making the Learning Sciences Count - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 23 Jun 201827 Jun 2018

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