Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Curriculum and Instruction
Dale S. Niederhauser
Ill-structured problem-solving ability is key to success in our personal and professional lives. A small but growing body of research has investigated ill-structured problems; however, little if any research has examined strategies that individuals use while solving ill-structured problems in the context of a web-based problem-solving environment. Further, this research has not addressed the relationship between these strategies and problem-solving performance. Two objectives were addressed in the current study. The first objective was to characterize students' ill-structured problem-solving strategies in a Web-based problem-solving environment. Cluster analysis revealed four groups of students who approached the same online problem-solving task in considerably different ways. Some students tended to focus on writing tasks, while others focused on exploring resources. Students also differed on their resource use, and the degree to which they discriminated relevant from irrelevant resources. The second objective was to examine the effect of these problem-solving strategies on students' problem-solving performance. Forced-order hierarchical regression showed that the problem-solving strategies students used were significant predictors of problem solving performance when learner characteristics had been controlled. Results of the current study are discussed in light of previous research, and implications of the study for educators and for problem-solving researchers are presented.
Digital Repository @ Iowa State University, http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/
Toy, Serkan, "Online ill-structured problem-solving strategies and their influence on problem-solving performance" (2007). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 15916.