Date of Award:

1996

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

Lani Van Dusen

Abstract

Research on analogical problem solving has delineated several factors that impact one's ability to spontaneously generate a correct solution strategy to a target problem. These factors include, but are not limited to, type of analogy provided to subjects (i.e., partial versus complete), the level of isomorphism between analogies and target problems, and the solver's level of analogical problem-solving expertise

Recently, researchers have begun to focus on providing solvers with direct instruction on analogical problem-solving processes and strategies in an effort to augment analogical problem-solving ability. The most common type of instruction (i.e., teacher-generated) involves providing direct instruction on problem-solving processes and strategies without input from the solver. A second type of instruction (i.e., learner-generated) that has gained some attention in the literature but has not yet been tested in the realm of analogical problem solving involves learners actively participating in developing analogical problem-solving strategies while being guided by the instructor.

Using an experimental design. the present study examined the differential effects of type of analogue (i.e., partial versus complete), level of expertise (i.e., novice versus expert). and type of training (teacher-generated, learner-generated, or no training) on spontaneous generation of correct solution strategies to two target problems.

Findings indicate that solvers. regardless of training group or ability level. were better able to solve the target problem to the complete analogies than the target problem to the partial analogies. x2 (1, N = 116) = 18, p < .001; d = .85. Moreover, there was no advantage for expert solvers to participate in problem-solving training. However. when examining novice solvers. findings indicate that direct instruction on problem-solving processes and strategies resulted in better performance when solving the partial analogy than did no instruction (d = .61). Also, active participation in the learning process resulted in better performance when solving the partial analogy than did no instruction (d = .80).

Limitations of the study, implications for educators, and recommendations for future studies are provided.

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