Solving open-ended problems, and the influence of cognitive factors on student success
Problem solving is an essential skill for undergraduate chemists to acquire. Many problem solving activities encountered on undergraduate programmes are algorithmic, and require lower order cognitive skills to be applied in order to reach a solution. We have developed a number of open-ended problems that use a real life context and require the application of higher order cognitive skills. Students cognitive style has been determined and correlated with success in solving these problems. Early indications are that there is a correlation between field independence and problem solving ability.