A Collaborative Problem Solving Approach to Support Science Learning with Computer Simulations: the Development and Evaluation of Collaborative Simulations and Activities(1/3)

Project Details


Many prevailing simulation-based learning environments have been available tofacilitate science learning. In the meanwhile, there is an increasing interest in thedevelopment of students' collaborative problem solving (CPS) competency,particularly when PISA will evaluate collaborative problem solving with computers.Therefore, how to facilitate students to develop the collaborative scientific problemsolving (CSPS) competency when students are learning sciences become critical.However, most computer simulations are built to support individual exploration,rather than for collaborative problem solving. In other words, the manipulation of thesimulation by an individual student will not affect the state of the simulation which isused by another student. It is difficult to maintain a shared understanding about thecurrent status of the problem. Another common difficulty facing educators andresearchers is that students often demonstrate low level participation or the superficiallevel of interaction while participating in collaborative problem solving activity. Thismay be caused by the lack of positive interdependency and interaction.To address these difficulties, this project proposes to applying collaborative problemsolving framework as the principle to design computer simulations and CSPSactivities. Such a framework emphasizes the following principles:(1) Collaborative simulations as a joint workspace to enhance shared understanding:This project will develop collaborative simulations that support students located atdifferent places to work on a shared simulation to search for solution to solve aproblem. Any action taken by any individual will immediately affect the state of thesimulations used by all other students. Simulations become a joint work space tounderstand the activity of others and the impact of the activity that may increaseshared understanding between students.(2) Jigsaw problem solving activity to strengthen cooperation: This project willsupport students to participate in Jigsaw problem solving activity. Each individualsplaying different roles need to closely coordinate with each other to work together inorder to achieve the group goal. Each individual is in charge of a specific task of acomplex system and is an indispensable part of the system. By increasing such apositive interdependency, it is hope to strengthen the cooperation and communicationbetween students.(3) Integrating science inquiry with collaborative problem: The frameworkemphasizes the use of problems as a driving force to engage students to understandthe scientific concepts associated with the problem in order to sort out a strategy tosolve the problem. Therefore, both conceptual understanding and collaborative problem solving strategies are interleaved. In other words, students have to know thereason of a scientific phenomenon (why) and work out a plan to apply the knowledgeto solve the problem (how).This project proposes a set of design principles to enact the collaborative problemsolving activities and will design collaborative simulations and collaborative learningenvironment to support the activities. In the first year, this project will discover theways to guide students to participate in the CSPS activity. In the second year, thisproject will compare the influence between the collaborative simulations andindividual simulations. In the third year, this project will discover the influence ofjigsaw problem solving activity. This project will explore the impact of differentformat of CSPS by observing students' collaborative problem solving strategy,perceptions toward problem solving and understanding about the scientificphenomenon. Implication and suggestion will be discussed based on the findings.
Effective start/end date1/08/1531/07/16

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.