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Development of Procedural Knowledge in the Simulated Classroom

The quality of teaching is determined by the teachers’ content knowledge (CK), pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) and pedagogical knowledge (PK). At the same time, the professional knowledge is predictive for the future success of students. All these dimensions of professional knowledge are taught in university lectures. In general there are two types of knowledge, the declarative (factual knowledge) and the procedural knowledge (practical knowledge). A challenge for teacher students lies in the connection between the two types of knowledge, as individual pieces of declarative knowledge may remain isolated and may hence not be converted into procedural knowledge. This insufficiently developed knowledge structure can manifest itself in lack of reflective or affective patterns in teaching. The project ProSim – Development of Procedural Professional Knowledge with the Simulated Classroom – focusses on the interface between declarative and procedural knowledge and supports the development of professional competence of biology teachers.

The use of a Simulated Classroom (SKR) is an option for the acquisition of procedural knowledge. The SKR consists of a virtual school class, whereby the pupils are characterized by individual ability profiles. According to the pre-set ability parameters, answers are given to evolutionary questions based on faulty or alternative beliefs. The task of the students will be to identify the misconceptions and preconceptions expressed during the sequence of teacher questions and pupil responses. On the basis of the selected teacher questions, it is possible to examine the students’ procedural diagnostic knowledge. Subsequently, the participating teacher will be asked to select appropriate measures to correct the faulty or alternative beliefs of the virtual pupils in the sense of the conceptual change theory.


The aim of this study is the development of a digital instrument for assessing procedural professional knowledge of teacher students (Teacher Education Program) in the fields of biology education and pedagogical psychological. The SKRBio training tool enables biology teacher students to apply declarative and procedural knowledge in the context of evolutionary topics, thereby promoting procedural diagnostic knowledge and procedural knowledge on learning processes. ProSim is a collaborative project between the Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education (Subproject: ProSimBio) and the Institute for Educational Psychological Teaching and Learning Research (Subproject: ProSimPsy). The overall project management is coordinated by IPN.

Participating institutes:

The project is headed by Prof. Dr. Ute Harms (Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education) and Jens Möller (Institute for Educational Psychological Teaching and Learning Research)

Educational Psychological, Kiel University
Prof. Dr. Jens Möller
Nils Machts

Department of Biology Education, IPN
Prof. Dr. Ute Harms
Julian Fischer