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Scaffolding the development of problem-solving skills in chemistry: guiding novice students out of dead ends and false starts

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Abstract

To scaffold the development of problem-solving skills in chemistry, chemistry educators are exploring a variety of instructional techniques. In this study, we have designed, implemented, and evaluated a problem-solving workflow – “Goldilocks Help”. This workflow builds on work done in the field of problem solving in chemistry and provides specific scaffolding for students who experience procedural difficulties during problem solving, such as dead ends (not being able to troubleshoot) and false starts (not knowing how to initiate the problem-solving process). The Goldilocks Help workflow has been designed to scaffold a systematic problem-solving process with a designation of explicit phases of problem solving, to introduce students to the types of questions/prompts that should guide them through the process, to encourage explicit reasoning necessary for successful conceptual problem solving, and to promote the development of metacognitive self-regulation skills. The tool has been implemented and evaluated over a two-year period and modified based on student and instructor feedback. The evaluation demonstrated a shift in students’ beliefs in their capacities to use the strategies required to achieve successful problem solving and showed their capacity to employ such strategies.

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Publication details

The article was received on 09 Jan 2017, accepted on 05 May 2017 and first published on 06 May 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7RP00009J
Citation: Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2017, Advance Article
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    Scaffolding the development of problem-solving skills in chemistry: guiding novice students out of dead ends and false starts

    E. Yuriev, S. Naidu, L. S. Schembri and J. L. Short, Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2017, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C7RP00009J

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