Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Thomas Andre


Preconceptions in science learning have been a subject of increasing study over the past ten years. In the area of electric circuits, students have shown incorrect preconceptions with respect to current, voltage, resistance and short circuits. Research indicates that many students resist changes in their preconceptions. In recent years, text designed to promote conceptual change has been effective in overcoming some preconceptions. Computer simulations also have been shown to be effective in overcoming incorrect preconceptions;The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of text designed to promote conceptual change used in conjunction with an electric circuit simulation on the Apple Macintosh computer. The independent variables in the study were text type (traditional versus conceptual change designed text) and use of simulation (used before instruction, during instruction, or no simulation). Dependent variables were scores on sections of a posttest. The participants in the study were students enrolled in beginning psychology courses at Iowa State University;Results of the experiment showed that the text designed to promote conceptual change was significantly more effective in overcoming some of the typical preconceptions about simple direct current circuits than was the traditional text. Results also showed that using the simulation along with the study of the text was significantly more effective in overcoming electric circuit preconceptions than was study without the use of the simulation.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

David Don Carlsen



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

287 pages