The University of Iowa

Electronic Graphic Organizers for Learning Science Vocabulary and Concepts: The Effects of Online Synchronous Discussion


This study investigated the content learning of fourth graders (N = 92) randomly assigned to complete electronic Frayer Models on life science vocabulary by themselves or while engaging in synchronous online discussions with a partner. The use of the graphic organizers was interspersed with other science activities. After seven weeks, all students significantly improved their science content knowledge (d ≈ 0.60), but the two treatment groups did not demonstrate significantly different performance after controlling for pretest abilities. Path analysis revealed the rubric scores on students' organizers were more strongly predictive of the posttest science benchmark in the online discussion group than the independent group, suggesting that collaboratively completing Frayer Models may help bolster the relationship between reading and science.


Reed, D. K., *Jemison, E., Folsom, J. S., & Weber, A. (in press). Electronic graphic organizers for learning science vocabulary and concepts: The effects of online synchronous discussion. Journal of Experimental Education. doi:10.1080/00220973.2018.1496061

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