Reference : Students' exploration strategies in computer-simulated complex problem environments: ...
Scientific journals : Article
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Theoretical & cognitive psychology
Students' exploration strategies in computer-simulated complex problem environments: A latent class approach
Greiff, Samuel mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Education, Culture, Cognition and Society (ECCS)]
Molnár, Gyöngyvér [> >]
Martin, Romain mailto [University of Luxembourg > Rectorate >]
Zimmermann, Johannes [> >]
Csapó, Benő [> >]
Computers and Education
248 - 263
Yes (verified by ORBilu)
[en] Complex problem solving ; Exploration ; Isolated variation ; Scientific reasoning ; Latent class analysis
[en] Complex problem solving (CPS) is considered an important educational achievement indicator. Previous research has indicated that CPS performance depends to a substantial extent on the way students explore problem environments. In this study, we investigated qualitative differences in the way students interact with such environments. In a sample of N = 2226 Hungarian students in Grades 6 to 8, we applied a latent class approach to investigate the use of the principle of isolated variation as an exploration strategy across six CPS tasks that were developed within the MicroDYN approach. Six qualitatively different class profiles emerged: proficient explorers, intermediate explorers, low-performing explorers, rapid learners, emerging explorers, and nonpersisting explorers. We further validated the profiles by comparing the latent classes with regard to students' overall CPS performance and additional indicators of task exploration. In analyzing age-related and gender differences on a cross-sectional level, we found only a small progression toward better performing class profiles from Grade 6 to Grade 8 (e.g., 14.6% of students in Grade 6 were proficient explorers vs. 24.6% in Grade 8; 27.1% of students in Grade 6 were low-performing explorers vs. 25.8% in Grade 8), and there were no substantial gender differences. This study contributes to the understanding of how students interact with complex problems and is the first to address whether variations in these behaviors indicate qualitatively different levels of strategic behavior. We discuss the theoretical underpinnings and potential of identifying class profiles of students' exploration behavior in the field of educational psychology.

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