Scientific problem solving in a virtual laboratory: A comparison between individuals and pairs

  • Métrailler Y
  • Reijnen E
  • Kneser C
 et al. 
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Abstract

This study compared individuals with pairs in a scientific problem-solving task. Participants interacted with a virtual psychological laboratory called Virtue to reason about a visual search theory. To this end, they created hypotheses, designed experiments, and analyzed and interpreted the results of their experiments in order to discover which of five possible factors affected the visual search process. Before and after their interaction with Virtue, participants took a test measuring theoretical and methodological knowledge. In addition, process data reflecting participants’ experimental activities and verbal data were collected. The results showed a significant but equal increase in knowledge for both groups. We found differences between individuals and pairs in the evaluation of hypotheses in the process data, and in descriptive and explanatory state- ments in the verbal data. Interacting with Virtue helped all students improve their domain-specific and domain-general psychological knowledge.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Individuals versus pairs
  • Learning environment
  • Scientific problem solving
  • Virtual laboratory
  • Virtue

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