Students' Task Interpretation and Conceptual Understanding in an Electronics Laboratory

Presentacion Rivera-Reyes, Oenardi Lawanto, Michael Pate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Task interpretation is a critical first step for students in the process of self-regulated learning, and a key determinant when they set goals in their learning and select strategies in assigned work. This paper focuses on the explicit and implicit aspects of task interpretation based on Hadwin's model. Laboratory activities improve students' conceptual understanding, as they utilize cognitive ability to integrate the new experiences these provide. The purpose of this paper is to investigate how students' interpretation of a task assigned during laboratory work may change during the task process, and how this relates to their conceptual understanding. A total of 143 students enrolled in an electronics course participated in this paper. Instruments to measure task interpretation and conceptual understanding were created, piloted, and applied before and after selected laboratory activities over the semester. Findings suggest that while students' task interpretation changes during the task process, increasing after the completion of the laboratory activity levels of task interpretation are low. Previous research findings-that students generally have an incomplete understanding of the assigned tasks and struggle to establish a connection between laboratory activities and the theory-were confirmed. Lastly, this paper reports a significant relationship between students' task interpretation and their conceptual understanding in laboratory work. Further investigation is necessary to unveil other factors related to these constructs in order to engage students in laboratory work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7898859
Pages (from-to)265-272
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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