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Seminar- Understanding Student Use of Worked Examples to Support Problem Solving via Real-Time Measurements of Problem-Solving Events

January 27, 2017 @ 11:30 am

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Understanding Student Use of Worked Examples to Support Problem Solving via Real-Time Measurements of Problem-Solving Events

EB III 2201

Edward Berger

School of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University

School of Engineering Education, Purdue University

Corresponding Author Email: bergere@purdue.edu


Worked-example videos for engineering problem solving are ubiquitous and freely-available to students, and they often use worked-example videos to support their problem solving assignments—especially homework and problem sets. The worked-example research suggests that learning by worked examples can be both effective and efficient for students. However, very few studies have examined the real-time processes used by students who seek to solve problems with the support of worked examples. In this presentation, we explore our on-going research results that use eye gaze technology to quantify student usage of worked-example videos. We conducted 24 laboratory experiments in which participants were asked to solve a problem on paper, and each had access to a worked example video that was described as “potentially helpful”. We collected real-time records of student problem solving events via a Livescribe system, video usage via an eye gaze capture system, and student thought processes via an audio recorded think-aloud protocol. Students use an astonishing variety of strategies when engaging with worked-example videos, and many of these approaches appear to be completely ad hoc. Students most frequently used the video in a kind of pattern matching process in which they mimicked the solution approach in general, often including diagrams or specific terms in the governing equations, as illustrated in the worked-example video. Although few of their strategies for worked example use were systematic, many students nonetheless completed the problem with reasonable success. As expected, worked-example video usage—in both extent and details—is a complex function of student sophistication and confidence as a learner, comfort with the subject matter, and individual goals about task performance and efficiency. However, this research suggests that many students would benefit from stronger guidance about best practices for use of worked-example videos to support their problem solving.


Edward Berger is an Associate Professor at Purdue University with an appointment split between the School of Engineering Education and the School of Mechanical Engineering. His current research examines teaching, learning, pedagogy, technology, and department-level change processes around engineering education, with specific emphasis on his expertise in mechanical engineering and higher education. Prior to joining Purdue, he spent nearly 10 years at the University of Virginia, and during his final six years there he served as the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs in the School of Engineering. Prior to that, he spent almost nine year at the University of Cincinnati. His research interests have migrated from his core disciplinary expertise in tribological systems, including both mechanical and biological systems, to his current focus on teaching and learning in higher education. His BS, MS are in Mechanical Engineering from Penn State, and his PhD is in Mechanical Engineering, Purdue (1996).



January 27, 2017
11:30 am
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