Information problem solving by experts and novices: Analysis of a complex cognitive skill

Saskia Brand-Gruwel*, Iwan Wopereis, Yvonne Vermetten

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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    In (higher) education students are often faced with information problems: tasks or assignments that require them to identify information needs, locate corresponding information sources, extract and organize relevant information from each source, and synthesize information from a variety of sources. It is often assumed that students master this complex cognitive skill of information problem solving all by themselves. In our point of view, however, explicit and intensive instruction is necessary. A skill decomposition is needed in order to design instruction that fosters the development of information problem solving. This research analyzes the information problem solving process of novices and experts in order to reach a detailed skill decomposition. Results reveal that experts spend more time on the main skill ‘define problem’ and more often activate their prior knowledge, elaborate on the content, and regulate their process. Furthermore, experts and novices show little differences in the way they search the Internet. These findings formed the basis for formulating instructional guidelines.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)487-508
    Number of pages22
    JournalComputers in Human Behavior
    Issue number3
    Early online date18 Nov 2004
    Publication statusPublished - May 2005


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