The Jasper experiment: An exploration of issues in learning and instructional design

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The Jasper Woodbury Problem Solving Series is an example of a video-based instructional macrocontext for complex problem generation and problem solving. The Jasper series and curricular materials are described and illustrated in this article. The theoretical framework underlying the series includes assumptions about educational goals and the nature of learning, including the importance of generative activities and cooperative learning situations. The authors argue that the Jasper series affords generative and cooperative learning activities in a way that traditional mathematics problem-solving materials do not. However, whether these features are utilized depends on the teaching model at work in the classroom. Three models of teaching—basics first, structured problem solving, and guided generation—that can be applied to the Jasper series are outlined. The strengths and weaknesses of each are discussed, and associated assessment issues are raised. The article concludes by pointing to the need for research on the impact of differing instructional design decisions.

Members of the Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt who contributed to this paper are Linda Barron, John Bransford, Olin Campbell, Ben Ferron, Laura Goin, Elizabeth Goldman, Susan Goldman, Ted Hasselbring, Allison Heath, Charles Kinzer, James Pellegrino, Kirsten Rewey, Robert Sherwood, Nancy Vye, Susan Warren, Susan Williams.