The use of new learning modalities in the teaching of core concepts in introductory college astronomy classes
This study had, three distinct purposes, and as such, explored several different innovative new educational concepts. One purpose was to find out how
many students in college astronomy did not understand the basic concepts and models concerning what causes the seasons on the earth and the understanding of why the moon goes through phases as one of the examples.
A pre-test was given to find out the level of understanding the students had concerning these concepts. The students that did not show an understanding of the basic concepts were then used in the study to try several new learning modalities of teaching and understanding the basic concepts.
A second purpose was to contrast instructional techniques by dividing the group that had trouble with the concepts into two groups. One was given a learning modality of teaching using manipulatives and
models (earth and moon as an example). The other group was given a different learning modality, which involved more formal lecturing and audio-visuals to help understand the concepts. This division of understanding was done for both of the astronomy-based
models incorporated within the study.
A third purpose was to contrast tactile modality instruction with a straight lecture method using visual and auditory learning modalities, examining two concept models presented .to the subjects. The purpose was to see which of the methods, employing different learning modalities was more effective in teaching the students, and their related understanding of the concepts.