Fostering information problem solving skills through online task-centred instruction in higher education

Esther Argelagos*, Consuelo Garcia, Jesús Privado, I.G.J.H. Wopereis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The competence to perform an academic literature review task in a digital context is of paramount importance for higher education students. However, both undergraduate and graduate students have difficulty finding, analysing, and processing such information for their academic tasks. Recent studies propose a task-centred approach to teach relevant knowledge and skills to perform review tasks. This paper presents a quasi-experimental study on the effects of an online task-centred course on the IPS skills development and self-efficacy perception of 80 graduate students in educational sciences. The Information Problem Solving (IPS) and Four-Component Instructional Design (4C/ID) models have been applied for course design and development. The results indicate that, after the course, students in the experimental group outperformed the control group on planning and search activities. These students also seemed to do better at defining research questions and processing the information found, though these results were not statistically significant. Finally, no differences were found related to the ability to present information. In addition, self-efficacy related to the IPS skills needed to perform an academic literature review task developed positively in the experimental group. Implications for instruction on these IPS skills in higher education are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104433
Number of pages14
JournalComputers & Education
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2022


  • Digital information
  • Higher education
  • Information problem solving
  • Literature review
  • Online education
  • Task-centred instruction


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