ERIC Number: EJ1132540
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 21
To Draw or Not to Draw? Examining the Necessity of Problem Diagrams Using Massive Open Online Course Experiments
Chen, Zhongzhou; Demirci, Neset; Choi, Youn-Jeng; Pritchard, David E.
Physical Review Physics Education Research, v13 n1 p010110-1-010110-12 Jan-Jun 2017
Previous research on problem diagrams suggested that including a supportive diagram, one that does not provide necessary problem solving information, may bring little, or even negative, benefit to students' problem solving success. We tested the usefulness of problem diagrams on 12 different physics problems (6A/B experiments) in our massive open online course. By analyzing over 8,000 student responses in total, we found that including a problem diagram that contains no significant additional information only slightly improves the first attempt correct rate for the few most spatially complex problems, and has little impact on either the final correct percentage or the time spent on solving the problem. On the other hand, in half of the cases, removing the diagram significantly increased the fraction of students' drawing their own diagrams during problem solving. The increase in drawing behavior is largely independent of students' physics abilities. In summary, our results suggest that for many physics problems, the benefit of a diagram is exceedingly small and may not justify the effort of creating one.
Descriptors: Science Education, Large Group Instruction, Online Courses, Technology Uses in Education, Educational Technology, Teaching Methods, Visual Aids, College Science, Mechanics (Physics), Science Process Skills, Item Response Theory, Assignments, Time on Task, Problem Solving, Freehand Drawing
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
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