Scaffolding middle school students' content knowledge and ill-structured problem solving in a problem-based hypermedia learning environment

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Bulu S. T., Pedersen S.

ETR&D-EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT, vol.58, no.5, pp.507-529, 2010 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 58 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11423-010-9150-9
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.507-529
  • Keywords: Prompt scaffolds, Ill-structured problem solving, Hypermedia, Science, SCIENTIFIC EXPLANATIONS, SCIENCE, METACOGNITION, REFLECTION, CONSTRUCTION, QUESTION, PROMPTS
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


This study investigated the effects of domain-general and domain-specific scaffolds with different levels of support, continuous and faded, on learning of scientific content and problem-solving. Students' scores on a multiple-choice pretest, posttest, and four recommendation forms were analyzed. Students' content knowledge in all conditions significantly increased from pretest to posttest. However, the continuous domain-specific condition outperformed the other conditions on the posttest. Although domain-general scaffolds were not as effective as domain-specific scaffolds on learning content and problem representation, they helped students develop solutions, make justifications, and monitor learning. Unlike domain-specific scaffolds, domain-general scaffolds helped students transfer problem-solving skills when they were faded. Several suggestions are discussed for making improvements in the design of scaffolds to facilitate ill-structured problem solving.