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A study of the effects that grouping laboratory partners based on logical thinking abilities have on their problem solving strategies in a general chemistry course

Posted on:2006-05-18Degree:Ph.DType:Dissertation
University:Clemson UniversityCandidate:Nammouz, Minory SuhilFull Text:PDF
The development of problem solving skills and strategies is generally of importance in science education and specifically in chemistry, and is usually assessed by traditional methods such as laboratories, homework, and examinations. However, for instructors, developing a deep understanding of how students solve the problems is difficult and very time consuming. One potential way to address this problem is an internet-based software package known as IMMEX (Interactive Multimedia Exercises). Originally developed at the UCLA Medical School, it has now been expanded to K-12 and college classrooms. IMMEX Problems are case-based and cover a wide range of subject areas. Using this software the students are able to navigate throughout the problem space by choosing the necessary items from a range given to them. The student is provided with immediate feedback; if the student chooses an incorrect answer, most problems will allow for a review of the problem space and submit a second. The IMMEX system tracks the strategies used through a search path map for each problem the student answers; then these data are collected and analyzed using artificial neural networks for pattern recognition.; In the present study, students were allowed to stabilize on a problem solving strategy by working five problems before conclusions were drawn regarding their acquired strategies. The major difference now being that any changes in strategy that occurred during and after the intervention of group-work would be by a student that had previously settled on a preferred strategy. The effects of group composition on students' problem solving strategies were also studied.; The results presented in this study support the use of collaborative learning as a method that improves students' problem solving strategies. It was found that a collaborative learning environment would not only improve students' problem solving strategies in the groups, but would also carry over their individual subsequent performances. Furthermore, this research shows that the group make-up has an effect on the adopted strategies. In addition this study revealed that logical thinking ability can predict students' success, therefore, it could be used as a warning device for the instructors on the need for interventions. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)...
Keywords/Search Tags:Problem solving, Strategies
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