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Expert-Novice Comparisons to Illuminate Differences in Perceptions of Problem Solutions Documents

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Expert-Novice Comparisons to Illuminate Differences in Perceptions of Problem Solutions 

written by Kathleen A. Harper

Comparing the performances of experts and novices on particular problem solving tasks has been a popular technique in problem solving research, uncovering differences in the ways the two groups categorize, approach, and solve problems. Applying this technique, two samples of students and one sample of experts categorized pre-written solutions to a mechanics problem. The responses reveal differences in how the beginning college students, more experienced college students, and physics instructors view solutions. Students focus on the solutions' surface features and presentation, while instructors look more closely at the deep structure. These differences indicate that instructors should consider modifying the way in which in-class and handed out problem solutions are presented to students.

Published September 9, 2004
Last Modified July 7, 2013

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