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Role of beliefs and emotions in numerical problem solving in university physics education Documents

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Role of beliefs and emotions in numerical problem solving in university physics education 

written by Madelen Bodin and Mikael Winberg

Numerical problem solving in classical mechanics in university physics education offers a learning situation where students have many possibilities of control and creativity. In this study, expertlike beliefs about physics and learning physics together with prior knowledge were the most important predictors of the quality of performance of a task with many degrees of freedom. Feelings corresponding to control and concentration, i.e., emotions that are expected to trigger students' intrinsic motivation, were also important in predicting performance. Unexpectedly, intrinsic motivation, as indicated by enjoyment and interest, together with students' personal interest and utility value beliefs did not predict performance. This indicates that although a certain degree of enjoyment is probably necessary, motivated behavior is rather regulated by integration and identification of expertlike beliefs about learning and are more strongly associated with concentration and control during learning and, ultimately, with high performance. The results suggest that the development of students' epistemological beliefs is important for students' ability to learn from realistic problem-solving situations with many degrees of freedom in physics education.

Published by the American Physical Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. The citation for the article is: M. Bodin and M. Winberg, Role of beliefs and emotions in numerical problem solving in university physics education, Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 8 (1), 010108 (2012), 10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.8.010108.

Published February 29, 2012
Last Modified May 24, 2012