Ill-structured problem solving requires a variety of skills and strategies that K-12 students often lack due to limited exposure to these problems and a reliance on superficial problem-solving strategies (Greiff et al., 2013; Jonassen, 1997, 2000; Mayer & Wittrock, 2006). This study employed a computer-based problem-solving program called Solve It!, which scaffolds students through a general problem-solving process to identify and support solutions to ill-structured physics problems. Using a sequential explanatory mixed methods design, this study examined the impact of the prompt response and narrative writing tasks on seventh grade students’ (N = 117) physics content knowledge and problem-solving strategy acquisition while solving ill-structured problems in Solve It!. Students were randomly assigned to one of four conditions, which varied in the type of writing tasks students completed. Findings from this study revealed a significant increase in physics knowledge and problem-solving strategies across conditions. Due to the small sample size and several limitations with the study design, condition effects did not emerge. However, students in the narrative writing condition with low physics prior knowledge did benefit from the narrative writing task. Implications for this research include the use of computer-based environments to teach both content and problem-solving strategies simultaneously and the potential to use narrative writing tasks for learning.
|Advisor:||Nietfeld, John L.|
|School:||North Carolina State University|
|School Location:||United States -- North Carolina|
|Source:||DAI-A 77/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Language arts, Educational psychology|
|Keywords:||Ill-structured problem solving, Narrative writing, Prompt response, WRiting tasks|
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