gms | German Medical Science

Learning through Inquiry in Higher Education: Current Research and Future Challenges (INHERE 2018)

08.03. - 09.03.2018, München

Fostering of theory application competences in student teachers: Effects of an inquiry-based seminar concept and instructional support during testing on qualities of applicable knowledge

Meeting Abstract

Search Medline for

Learning through Inquiry in Higher Education: Current Research and Future Challenges (INHERE 2018). München, 08.-09.03.2018. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2018. Doc16

doi: 10.3205/18inhere16, urn:nbn:de:0183-18inhere160

Published: March 1, 2018

© 2018 Klein et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. See license information at



Theory application competences for the explanation of complex school situations are a key skill for teachers. The present study therefore investigates how these competences can be fostered within an inquiry-based seminar concept during teacher training. A theory application training with authentic example scenarios and preselected theories was introduced first to provide basic theory application competences. The training presented typical theory selection and application errors to foster negative knowledge on these errors and their avoidance. In the second seminar phase, inquiry learning was implemented by a seminar concept which required students to research scientific educational theories, models, and concepts on their own to apply them in the theoretical reconstruction and reflection of biographical learning and teaching experiences. Didactically, this inquiry-based seminar concept integrated blended learning with fading of instructional support and explicit references to negative knowledge acquired during the initial training. N=135 student teachers were assigned to four experimental conditions. The seminar concept (inquiry-based vs. regular) and the availability of instructional support with regard to theory selection during testing (with vs. without) were varied experimentally. The participants’ explanations in two separate test scenarios were analyzed with regard to the underlying structure, automation and elaboration level as qualities of knowledge [1] at the start and end of the second seminar phase. As expected, explanations in the inquiry-based seminar concept were superior with regard to the structure of knowledge. Furthermore, participants in the inquiry-based seminar required less time for their explanations, which points toward an improvement in knowledge automation, and were superior in the elaboration level of knowledge. The availability of instructional support during testing also improved the structure and elaboration level. The results demonstrate the usefulness of inquiry-based learning in the context of theory application training in teacher education and provide insights for further training measures.


De Jong T, Ferguson-Hessler MG. Types and qualities of knowledge. Educ Psychol. 1996;31(2):105-113. DOI: 10.1207/s15326985ep3102_2 External link