Instruction Emphasizing Effort Improves Physical Problem Solving
By: Daoquan Li
Published: 05/16/2012
Uploaded: 11/10/2017
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: 2012 (May) Teachers College Columbia University Ed.D. Dissertations, Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: complex problem solving, Computer Simulation, learning motivation

Description/Abstract: Effectively using strategies to solve complex problems is an important educational goal and is implicated in successful academic performance. However, people often do not spontaneously use the effective strategies unless they are motivated to do so. The present study was designed to test whether educating students about the importance of effort in achievement improved students’ problem solving, beyond the level produced by exposure to effective learning strategies alone, in the context of computer simulation-based physics problem-solving. Sixty-two 4th and 5th grade elementary
students were randomly assigned to two groups: 1) strategy-only control group, in which
the students only received strategy instruction, such as “control of variable” strategy; 2)
the strategy-plus-effort experimental group, in which the students not only received the same
strategy instruction, but also an intervention educating them about the importance of
the effort in achievement. Instruction that emphasized efforts in addition to strategy learning
produced greater learning than strategy instruction alone in 1) physics problem solving
performance (p < .05); 2) persistence in facing academic difficulties (p < .05); 3)
effective strategy use during problem-solving (p < 0.5); and 4) effort beliefs toward
physics problem solving (p < 0.5). In addition, when receiving negative feedback, the
control group students were more ready to quit the problem solving, than the
experimental group students did (p < 0.5). The findings indicate that, instruction
emphasizing effort offers a promising approach to promote learning and motivation in
physics problem-solving.