Instructional strategies for developing problem-solving skills: The worked-example effect using ill-structured visual pattern recognition problems
Jordan V. Anastasiade, Capella University, United States
Capella University . Awarded
Instructional strategies that are embedded in computer-based tutoring systems have been used to enhance learners' ability to solve problems ever since computers were first built. While considerable attention has been paid to the issue of solving well-structured problems, an often-overlooked ingredient needed to ensure the overall success of computer-based tutoring consists of the underlying instructional strategies necessary in solving ill-defined problems. Therefore, this study investigated the effectiveness of instructional strategies, embedded in a computer-based cognitive tutor, in terms of helping learners solve ill-structured problems. The study differentiated learners on three levels with respect to their proficiency in solving visual pattern recognition problems, such as Bongard problems. For the purpose of this study, a computer-based tutor system was designed and built to operate with three distinct instructional strategies: (i) examples only, (ii) examples-problems, and (iii) problems only. A study of a 3 (learner level) x 3 (instructional type) x 3 (post-test problem type) Multiple Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) investigated the learners' post-test performances as results of the interaction between the learners' prior skills and the instructional strategies of the tutoring system. The formative research has demonstrated that the basic assumptions underlying the Adaptive Control of Thought-Rational (ACT-R) and the Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) concepts of the human cognition architecture are equally applicable to ill-structured domains. Accordingly, the worked-example effect and the expertise reversal effect were obtainable in an ill-defined domain, such as visual pattern recognition. Therefore, worked examples and tutored problems are not redundant tools, but synergistic forms of support meant to increase the learners' ability to solve ill-structured problems.
Anastasiade, J.V. Instructional strategies for developing problem-solving skills: The worked-example effect using ill-structured visual pattern recognition problems. Ph.D. thesis, Capella University.
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