Instruction for Information Problem Solving

Jimmy Frèrejean

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisThesis 1: fully internal

    185 Downloads (Pure)


    Finding information online for educational purposes (i.e., information problem solving, IPS) constitutes a complex task that requires knowledge, skills, and attitudes to perform correctly. Research exploring the problems students encounter with IPS shows there are major deficiencies in all aspects in people of all age groups. This indicates that IPS is a complex cognitive skill, and instruction should focus on teaching these skills and subskills in an integrated and coordinated fashion, working on developing the necessary declarative knowledge, practicing the necessary skills, and forming the right attitudes in order to learn how to deal with new information problems. While its importance as an essential 21st century skill is widely acknowledged, most educational institutions struggle with the application of instructional guidelines and encounter problems with the implementation of IPS instruction, often leading to subpar instruction in short library training sessions that forego the benefits of whole-task instruction. Embedding IPS instruction within a meaningful context, presenting it simultaneously with domain-specific instruction can lead to deeper learning and improved transfer. The aim of the research carried out for this dissertation is to investigate instructional design principles in order to formulate practical guidelines for teachers and instructional designers who wish to design instruction for effective and efficient IPS. It attempts to overcome shortcomings of previous research and focuses on the application of IPS skills in ecologically valid and realistic settings, making use of authentic learning tasks that require integration of the skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary for effective and efficient IPS. In addition, the instructional interventions presented incorporate measurements of transfer or delayed learning effects. Study 1 investigates effects of built-in task support (e.g., completion tasks, emphasis manipulation) on the acquisition of IPS skills. Study 2 focuses on effects of a modeling example, while Study 3 discusses an integrated training design where IPS instruction is embedded in a domain-specific educational program. The final study dives deeper into general characteristics of students’ IPS process, and how student, query, and source characteristics predict the selection of relevant and trustworthy sources.
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Brand - Gruwel, Saskia, Supervisor
    • Kirschner, P.A., Supervisor
    • van Strien, J.L.H., Co-supervisor
    Award date8 Dec 2017
    Electronic ISBNs978-94-9273-905-6
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2017


    • information problem solving
    • information literacy
    • instructional design
    • emphasis manipulation
    • completion strategy
    • modeling examples
    • integrated instruction
    • log file analysis


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