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Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research
written by Shih-Yin Lin and Chandralekha Singh
In this study, we examine introductory physics students' ability to perform analogical reasoning between two isomorphic problems which employ the same underlying physics principles but have different surface features. 382 students from a calculus-based and an algebra-based introductory physics course were administered a quiz in the recitation in which they had to learn from a solved problem provided and take advantage of what they learned from it to solve another isomorphic problem (which we call the quiz problem). The solved problem has two subproblems while the quiz problem has three subproblems, which is known from previous research to be challenging for introductory students. In addition to the solved problem, students also received extra scaffolding supports that were intended to help them discern and exploit the underlying similarities of the isomorphic solved and quiz problems. The data analysis suggests that students had great difficulty in transferring what they learned from a two-step problem to a three-step problem. Although most students were able to learn from the solved problem with the scaffolding provided and invoke the relevant principles in the quiz problem, they were not necessarily able to apply the principles correctly. We also conducted think-aloud interviews with six introductory students in order to understand in depth the difficulties they had and explore strategies to provide better scaffolding. The interviews suggest that students often superficially mapped the principles employed in the solved problem to the quiz problem without necessarily understanding the governing conditions underlying each principle and examining the applicability of the principle in the new situation in an in-depth manner. Findings suggest that more scaffolding is needed to help students in transferring from a two-step problem to a three-step problem and applying the physics principles appropriately. We outline a few possible strategies for future investigation.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education - Applied Research
- Instructional Material Design
Education - Basic Research
- Learning Theory
= Transfer
- Graduate/Professional
- Reference Material
= Research study
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Free access
License:
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.
Rights Holder:
American Physical Society
DOI:
10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.9.020114
PACSs:
01.40.gb
01.40.Ha
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created December 18, 2013 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
April 16, 2015 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
October 10, 2013
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AIP Format
S. Lin and C. Singh, Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 9 (2), 020114 (2013), WWW Document, (https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.9.020114).
AJP/PRST-PER
S. Lin and C. Singh, Using an isomorphic problem pair to learn introductory physics: Transferring from a two-step problem to a three-step problem, Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 9 (2), 020114 (2013), <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.9.020114>.
APA Format
Lin, S., & Singh, C. (2013, October 10). Using an isomorphic problem pair to learn introductory physics: Transferring from a two-step problem to a three-step problem. Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res., 9(2), 020114. Retrieved June 28, 2022, from https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.9.020114
Chicago Format
Lin, Shih-Yin, and Chandralekha Singh. "Using an isomorphic problem pair to learn introductory physics: Transferring from a two-step problem to a three-step problem." Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 9, no. 2, (October 10, 2013): 020114, https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.9.020114 (accessed 28 June 2022).
MLA Format
Lin, Shih-Yin, and Chandralekha Singh. "Using an isomorphic problem pair to learn introductory physics: Transferring from a two-step problem to a three-step problem." Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 9.2 (2013): 020114. 28 June 2022 <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.9.020114>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "Shih-Yin Lin and Chandralekha Singh", Title = {Using an isomorphic problem pair to learn introductory physics: Transferring from a two-step problem to a three-step problem}, Journal = {Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res.}, Volume = {9}, Number = {2}, Pages = {020114}, Month = {October}, Year = {2013} }
Refer Export Format

%A Shih-Yin Lin %A Chandralekha Singh %T Using an isomorphic problem pair to learn introductory physics: Transferring from a two-step problem to a three-step problem %J Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. %V 9 %N 2 %D October 10, 2013 %P 020114 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.9.020114 %O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article %A Lin, Shih-Yin %A Singh, Chandralekha %D October 10, 2013 %T Using an isomorphic problem pair to learn introductory physics: Transferring from a two-step problem to a three-step problem %J Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. %V 9 %N 2 %P 020114 %8 October 10, 2013 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.9.020114


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