Type of Document Dissertation Author Lee, Youngmin Author's Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-10072004-120306 Title Student Perceptions of Problems’ Structuredness, Complexity, Situatedness, and Information Richenss and their Effects on Problem-Solving Performance Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Educational Psychology and Learning Systems, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Marcy P. Driscoll Committee Chair Allan C. Jeong Committee Member Neil H. Charness Committee Member Richard L. Tate Committee Member Keywords
- Problem-Solving Performance
- Information Richness
Date of Defense 2004-08-25 Availability unrestricted AbstractThe purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of problem characteristics in terms of perceived structuredness, complexity, situatedness, and information richness on mathematical problem-solving performance. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was used to analyze the effects of problem characteristics obtained from subjects’ ratings of their perception on their problem-solving performance. Three research questions were examined: 1) How are mathematical word problems perceived by problem solvers in terms of their’ structuredness, complexity, situatedness, and information richness; 2) How do the perceived structuredness, complexity, situatedness, and information richness of problems relate to mathematical problem-solving performance; and 3) How do the perceived structuredness, complexity, situatedness, and information richness of problems relate to each other.
The descriptive data showed that traditional word problems in school were perceived as somewhat well-structured and information-rich, but also somewhat decontextualized and simple. The SEM analysis showed the following results. First, learners’ perception of structuredness and situatedness had a positive effect on successful problem solving performance. That is, the more structured problems are perceived by students, the more likely they are to solve the problems without difficulties. In addition, the attempt to actively engage problem solvers in social and cultural environments to complete successful problem solving is led by situatedness.
Second, perception of information richness had no direct effect on problem solving-performance. Too much information may confuse problem solvers in choosing useful information required for problem solving, as well as cause problem solvers to fail to solve the problem finally. Third, learners’ perception of complexity had a negative effect on successful problem solving performance. This result showed that the more complex the problem is, the less successful problem solvers are to solve the problem. Fourth, the structuredness attribute had a positive effect on perceptions of complexity. Many researchers have argued that the structuredness attribute affects the complexity attribute negatively.
However, this result did not support their assertions. It might be the case that structuredness overlaps with complexity so that the two attributes may not be clearly distinguished to the solvers. Fifth, the information richness attribute affected the perceptions of situatedness negatively. This result showed that too much information might hinder problem solvers in remembering a specific situation required for problem solving, as well as cause problem solvers to link what they have in their mind with the useful information nested in the situation. Sixth, the structuredness attribute had a positive effect on perceptions of situatedness. This result can be interpreted that a high level of structuredness enables problem solvers to identify situation with which they are familiar.
Finally, the information richness attribute had a negative effect on perceptions of complexity. This result showed that the more rich the information presented in problems, the less the perceived complexity of the problems. This study of problem characteristics enables instructional designers to develop new problems that engage learners in the real world situation. In addition, this study can support instructional designers to select a problem that has already been developed effectively
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