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Procedural and conceptual confusion in a discovery-based digital learning environment

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conference contribution
posted on 31.03.2021, 11:14 by Paula G. de Barba, Gregor Kennedy, Kelly TreziseKelly Trezise
Confusion has been found beneficial to learning in specific conditions. However, the roles of procedural and conceptual confusion in such conditions are still unknown. This paper presents a preliminary study investigating the relationship between procedural and conceptual confusion and their impact on learning processes and outcomes in a non-challenging online task. Participants completed an online predict-observe-explain task on star lifecycles, which included a star simulation. One group watched a video tutorial on how to use the simulation prior to the task (n=22), while the control group did not (n=22). The tutorial group reported higher confidence and lower challenge in using the simulation compared to the control group. The tutorial group also reported higher confidence towards the concept being learnt than the control group, although no differences were found on concept challenge. However, these differences on conceptual and procedural confidence and challenge did not impact time spent on the simulation, use of self-regulatory skills or learning outcomes. Implications for future studies are discussed.


Australian Research Council as part of a Special Research Initiative for the ARC-SRI Science of Learning Research Centre (project number SRI20300015)



  • Science


  • Mathematics Education Centre

Published in

ASCILITE 2018 Conference Proceedings - 35th International Conference of Innovation, Practice and Research in the use of Educational Technologies in Tertiary Education: Open Oceans: Learning Without Borders


340 - 345


ASCILITE 2018 Conference - Open Oceans: Learning without borders. 35th International Conference of Innovation, Practice and Research in the use of Educational Technologies in Tertiary Education


Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ASCILITE)


VoR (Version of Record)

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© The Authors

Publisher statement

This is an Open Access Article. It is published by ASCILITE under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0). Full details of this licence are available at:

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Malcolm Campbell; Julie Willems; Chie Adachi; Damian Blake; Iain Doherty; Siva Krishnan; Susie Macfarlane; Leanne Ngo; Marcus O’Donnell; Stuart Palmer; Lynn Riddell; Ian Story; Harsh Suri; Joanna Tai


Deakin University, Geelong, Australia

Event dates

25th November 2018 - 28th November 2018


Dr Kelly Trezise. Deposit date: 28 March 2021

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