Developing science students’ metacognitive problem solving skills online

Rowan W. Hollingworth, Catherine McLoughlin

Abstract


Technology is increasingly being harnessed to improve the quality of learning in science subjects at university level. This article sets out, by incorporating notions drawn from constructivist and adult learning theory, a foundation for the design of an online environment for the acquisition of metacognitive problem solving skills. The capacity to solve problems is one of the generic skills now being promoted at tertiary level, yet for many learners problem-solving remains a difficulty. In addition, there are few instances of instructional design guidelines for developing learning environments to support the metacognitive skills for effective problem solving. In order to foster the processes of metacognitive skills explicitly in first year science students, we investigated areas where cognitive support was needed. The aim was to strengthen the metacognitive and reflective skills of students to assist them in adopting strategies and reflective processes that enabled them to define, plan and self monitor their thinking during problem solving. In tertiary science, both well-structured and ill-structured problems are encountered by students, thus a repertoire of skills must be fostered. A model for supporting metacognitive skills for problem solving is presented in the context of an online environment being developed at the University of New England.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.1772

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