The FITS model: an improved Learning by Design approach

Dave van Breukelen, Frank Schure, Koen Michels, Marc de Vries


This paper presents a pretest-posttest design study that compares conceptual learning gains of 237 students, divided into two groups, exposed to a modified and remodified Learning by Design (LBD) task. LBD uses design contexts to learn skills and conceptual knowledge where research around the year 2000 showed high skill performances but disappointing conceptual learning gains. By a series of exploratory studies, previous to the study discussed in this paper, this issue was addressed, which resulted in modifications that were tested on a small scale. As a result the level of concept learning increased significantly. Analysis of the modified LBD group results in this paper confirms this improvement quantitatively by comparing results with available data on a traditional LBD approach (77 students). Further modifications, resulting in a remodified LBD approach, show an even further improvement through reduced fragmentation of the learning task and addressed science. Overall, the remodified approach (FITS model: Focus - Investigation - Technological design - Synergy) enriches technology education by stimulating an empirical and conceptual way of creating design solutions what is a catalyst for interdisciplinary teaching.


Learning by Design; technology; science; concept learning; FITS model

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