Previous studies have reported the importance and benefits of situating students in a real-world learning environment with access to digital-world resources. At the same time, researchers have indicated the need to develop learning guidance mechanisms or tools for assisting students to learn in such a complex learning scenario. In this study, a grid-based knowledge acquisition approach is proposed and a Mindtool is developed to help students organize and share knowledge for differentiating a set of learning targets based on what they have observed in the field. An experiment has been conducted in an elementary school Natural Science course for differentiating different species of butterflies. Forty-one fifth-grade students have been assigned to a control group and an experimental group to compare the effect of the conventional approach and that of the proposed approach. The experimental results show that the proposed approach not only improves students' learning achievements, but also significantly enhances their ability of identifying species in the field.
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