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Title:Teaching students to solve complex problems based on large bodies of information
Author(s):Hurley, Walter L.
Subject(s):problem solving
Abstract:Students in the sciences are exposed to large bodies of information within their chosen discipline. Instructors typically transmit that knowledge as discrete parcels of information via lectures, books or class notes. Students become adept at memorizing and temporarily storing that information. However, when students are asked to apply that information to solve complex problems based on real-life situations, they often struggle to perform in that higher cognitive level. In this study, an alternative approach is used to enhance student learning. Students first are assigned to solve real-life case studies that contain significant data related to the case. The process of solving the cases is organized in a stepwise manner through an online case studies module. Each step is linked to a body of background information, called a case resource, which is organized so that students can make their own decisions about which sections of information they need to understand before going on to the next step in the case study. Students gain understanding of the background knowledge, not as discrete parcels of information, but rather in terms of how that information relates directly or indirectly to the problem. Upon completion of the case modules, students indicate that they are more confident of their knowledge of the subject area and of their problem solving abilities.
Issue Date:2006
Genre:Conference Poster
Publication Status:unpublished
Peer Reviewed:not peer reviewed
Date Available in IDEALS:2009-02-25

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