What is LernSTATS?
A program for teaching statistics to psychologists and social scientists.
LernSTATS is a hypertext-based interactive tutorial for statistics
in the social sciences. It allows for enquiry based learning of statistics
and can be used as an individual self teaching tool as well as in class lessons.
The didactical concept of LernSTATS emphasizes four Concepts:
- To produce a contextual link between statistical methods and psychology / social sciences whenever possible as a motivational measure for the student
- A lesson setting based on the model of enquiry based learning
- Computer aided group learning
- Direct feedback in the learning process
In the current version of LernSTATS the exercises are programmed in Macromedia FLash. In order to use them, you need the Macromedia Flash Player, that can be downloaded for free from Macromedia.
LernSTATS is not just another statistics program. In fact, LernSTATS is not a statistics program at all. LernSTATS can not be compared with commercial statistics packages like SPSS or SYSTAT. Instead, it is a program for teaching and learning statistics for psychology, the social sciences, medicin or pedagogics.
Currently LernSTATS covers the entire topic of descriptive statistics with a multitude of interactive exercises, a statistics textbook, a comprehensive glossary and an online help system.
The exercises in LernSTATS can hardly be compared with traditional statistics exercises and can therefore not be realized using commercial software packages. Instead, they provide didactical material specific for tutoring, experimenting in class and self-teaching. Most of the exercises try to achieve the goal of making transparent statistical concepts by the way of dicovering and enquiry based learning, a concept developed by Bruner (1964) and based on Piagets epistemologic theory of cognitive evolution.
What used to be pencil and paper exercises can now, with the help of a computer, be repeated as many times as needed by the student.
In most cases formulas and functions are computed for the stundent in order to save time an to make shure that the student does not need to repeat the calculations many times if he or she wants to vary the data used in the exercises. LernSTATS can be used in a classroom situation as well as for a group exercise in a PC lab or individual self-teaching.
The faculty of psychology wil leave it up to the student to decide how to use this program for himself.
The LernSTATS exercises concentrate ariund the cognitive problems of students have with understanding statistical concepts and try to realize three didactical principles important for mitvation and cognitive Learning:
Inquiry based learning
Some exercises in LernSTATS present puzzles and quizzes and give the student a chance to discover the solution himself. Presenting a precise solution is not necessary, of more importance is the description and explanation of the cognitive concepts.
Multiple two-dimensional methods of visualization describe the concepts and relations that are explained in the program. Diagrams and graphics are interactive and can be manipulated by the student as well as the tables used in the exercises. Graphics and tables are usually related, so that changes in table values are instantly represented in the graphics and vice versa.
Illustrate functional mechanisms and formulas by emphasizing or calculating data or by visually "walking" data in a graphical illustration.
Learning by doing
All exercises in LernSTATS give the student the possibility of repeatedly manipulating various parts of the exercise. Students are usually able to vary the data used in the exercises. Formulas are split into parts and can be reassembled by direct manipulation.
Overly complex concepts are divided into a series of sub-concepts. There are, for example, multiple exercises concerning the arithmetic mean, variance and correlation. The chapter "calculation of a factor analysis" contains exercises for matrix algebra, valencies and for the stepwise extraction and rotation of factors.