Fostering of applicable educational knowledge in student teachers: Effects of an error-based seminar concept and instructional support during testing on qualities of applicable knowledge

Martin Klein, Kai Wagner, Eric Klopp, Robin Stark


The project „Theorizing in Practice“ uses typical theory application errors to foster applicable educational knowledge for the theory-based explanation of complex school situations. Earlier studies showed positive effects of error-based learning environments. However, a seminar concept expanding the learning environment by adding theoretical reflections of biographical learning and teaching experiences yielded only minor additional learning effects. The results were ascribed to insufficient sensitivity of the existing analyses towards qualitative changes in the learners‘ knowledge base. Hence, the present study examines to what extent enhanced analysis methods can assess qualities of knowledge based on a taxonomy by de Jong and Ferguson-Hessler (1996). The seminar concept (integrated/regular) and access to instructional support during testing (with/without) were varied experimentally. The participants‘ explanations in two test scenarios were analyzed with regard to structure, automation level and elaboration level of educational knowledge. As expected, structure and automation in the post test explanations in the integrated seminar were superior to those in the regular seminar. The structure level was similar to the pre-test, but performance (time-on-test) improved. Elaboration level of knowledge was superior in the integrated seminar. Access to instructional support during testing also improved structure and elaboration level, however, there was no significant interaction.


Theory application; Evidence based practice; Learning from errors; Teacher education

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Journal for Educational Research Online/Journal für Bildungsforschung Online (ISSN 1866-6671)