Capturing and assessing conceptual change in problem solving
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] Many studies have shown that using cognitive conflict strategy, which is a common approach to foster conceptual change, is insufficient to induce change (Alervemann & Hague, 1989; Hynd & Alvermann, 1989). Some researchers have advocated problem solving to induce learners in conceptual change process (Jonassen, Howland, Moore, & Marra, 2003; Lesh and Lamon, 1992) as it is central to problem representation (Jonassen, 2003). One way to help learners develop their problem representations is through encouraging learners to build dynamic models of the real world systems. This study argues that the relationship between conceptual change and problem solving is dynamic as they constantly interact with each other. Analyses of this study reveal that students who constructed problem representation did significantly perform better in the post Knowledge Test, and problem solving is to a certain extent determined by the formation of conceptual models. Also, the types of strategies students used to build a coherent understanding which is the central phenomenon are influenced by domain knowledge, structural knowledge, and epistemological beliefs. Students who are more likely to adopt the self questioning strategy not only able to construct better problem representations, but they also undergo significant conceptual changes.
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