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Influence of Problem Familiarity on Learning in a Problem Based Course

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ISAIJLS Volume 33, Number 3, ISSN 0020-4277


The results of an experimental study investigating the influence of problem familiarity on learning in a problem-based psychology course are presented. Participants worked with either a "familiar" or an "unfamiliar" version of the same problem. The following measurements were taken (1) a measure of problem quality as perceived by students, (2) number of explanations of the problem put forward by the students while discussing it, (3) quality of learning issues derived from the discussion, (4) amount of time spent on self-study, and (5) the amount of knowledge acquired as indicated by a test. The results demonstrate that participants in the "familiar problem" condition perceived the problem to be of higher quality than the participants in the "unfamiliar problem" condition. No significant differences in learning were found. The findings do suggest, however, that problems may be improved by making them more relevant to the everyday experience of students.


Soppe, M., Schmidt, H.G. & Bruysten, R.J.M.P. (2005). Influence of Problem Familiarity on Learning in a Problem Based Course. Instructional Science: An International Journal of the Learning Sciences, 33(3),. Retrieved August 21, 2019 from .

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