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Problem Formulation and Resolution in Online Problem-based Learning


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Presentation to the CADE conference, Montreal, May 2006 with Rick Kenny

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Problem Formulation and Resolution in Online Problem-based Learning

  1. 1. Problem Formulation & Resolution in Online Problem-based Learning Rick Kenny, Athabasca University Mark Bullen, British Columbia Institute of Technology
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>E-learning pedagogies must be defensible </li></ul><ul><li>E-learning pedagogies are evolving </li></ul><ul><li>E-learning instructional design must be guided by research and theory </li></ul><ul><li>Examination of problem-based learning in an online course </li></ul>
  3. 3. Authentic PBL Characteristics <ul><li>Problem-based </li></ul><ul><li>Problem-solving </li></ul><ul><li>Student – centred </li></ul><ul><li>Self-directed learning </li></ul><ul><li>Reflection </li></ul>
  4. 4. Effectiveness of PBL <ul><li>Meta-analyses examining use of PBL in Medical Education </li></ul><ul><li>Conventional curricula outperformed PBL on measures of basic science </li></ul><ul><li>PBL students scored higher on clinical examinations </li></ul><ul><li>PBL most positive effects when constructs assessed at level of understanding principles that link concepts. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Methodology <ul><li>Research Questions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What evidence is there that PBL fosters problem-solving behaviours and skills in undergraduate Agricultural Sciences students? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the nature of the problem-solving process which students apply when engaged in PBL activities? </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Methodology <ul><li>Research Setting </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Undergraduate Agroecology course </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fully online, WebCT </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Participants </li></ul><ul><ul><li>11 students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Two PBL groups </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Methodology
  8. 8. Methodology <ul><li>Context </li></ul><ul><li>PBL work took place in asynchronous discussion forums </li></ul><ul><li>Instructor participated by monitoring, guiding, clarifying </li></ul>
  9. 9. Analysis <ul><li>Content analysis based on Murphy’s OAD instrument (2004, 2005) </li></ul><ul><li>Based on Jonassen’s (1997) conceptual framework </li></ul><ul><li>Two main categories </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Problem formulation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Problem resolution </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Methodology – Modified Instrument Agreeing with problem as presented in OAD Defining PBL Space Reflecting on one’s thinking Identifying value of information Accessing and reporting on sources of information Clarifying (meaning, importance, accuracy of) information Seeking information to resolve lack of knowledge Identifying unknowns in knowledge Building knowledge Articulating a problem outside problem space Identifying causes of problem Identifying extent of problem Minimizing and/or denying problem Redefining problem within problem space Specifying ways that the problem manifests itself Indicator Problem formulation
  11. 11. Methodology – Modified Instrument Proposing solutions Identifying solutions Hypothesizing about solutions Planning to take action to resolve the problem Acting on solutions Coming to agreement about solutions Reaching conclusions Rejecting/eliminating solutions judged unworkable Critiquing solutions Weighing and comparing alternative solutions Agreeing with solutions proposed by others Evaluating solutions Indicator Problem resolution
  12. 12. Results - Pass 1
  13. 13. Results - Pass 2 17.5 66 6.9 26 Other 0 0 0 0 Acting on solutions 0 0 4.2 16 Reaching conclusions 10.3 39 13.8 52 Evaluating solutions 9.8 37 14.3 54 Identifying solutions Problem Resolution 50.7 191 57.8 218 Building knowledge 11.7 44 2.9 11 Defining problem space Problem Formulation % Cases % Cases Coder 3 Coder 1 Process
  14. 14. Results <ul><li>Only coded two levels: category, process </li></ul><ul><li>Cohen’s kappa used for inter-coder agreement (Cohen, 1960) </li></ul><ul><li>Categories </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Case 2, Group 1: 0.449 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Case 2, Group 2: 0.593 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Processes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Case 2, Group 1: 0.344 </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Issues <ul><li>The PFR process and PBL </li></ul><ul><li>Unit of analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Representing the PFR process in a PBL context </li></ul><ul><li>Training </li></ul>
  16. 16. Contact Information <ul><li>Rick Kenny </li></ul><ul><li>Associate Professor </li></ul><ul><li>Centre for Distance Education </li></ul><ul><li>Athabasca University </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Mark Bullen </li></ul><ul><li>Associate Dean </li></ul><ul><li>Learning & Teaching Centre </li></ul><ul><li>BC Institute of Technology </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>