Effect of Cooperative Problem-Based Lab Instruction on Metacognition and Problem-Solving Skills

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While most scientists agree that laboratory work is an important part of introductory science courses, there is scant evidence for the relationship between laboratory work and student learning, particularly at the college level. This work reports the quantitative component of a mixed-methods study of the effect of cooperative problem-based laboratory instruction on problem-solving ability and regulatory metacognitive activity. For this purpose, a previously reported assessment, IMMEX, was used. Mixed-methods evidence suggests that students in such an environment showed improved problem-solving skills and strategies, and showed increased regulation of metacognitive skills, despite a lack of explicit instruction. This work puts forth the proposal that providing an environment that is conducive to social interaction and reflection allows students to develop these desirable skills.

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Journal of Chemical Education, v. 89, issue 6, p. 700-706