Learning Environments Research

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 287–305 | Cite as

The Use of Additional Information in Problem-Oriented Learning Environments

  • Cornelia Gräsel
  • Frank Fischer
  • Heinz Mandl


Self-directed learning with authentic and complex problems (problem-oriented learning) requires that learners observe their own learning and use additional information when it is appropriate (e.g. hypertextual information in computer-supported learning environments). Research results indicate that learners in problem-oriented learning environments often have difficulties using additional information adequately, and that they should be supported. Two studies with a computer-supported problem-oriented learning environment in the domain of medicine analysed the effects of strategy instruction on the use of additional information and the quality of the problem representation. In Study 1, an expert model was used for strategy instruction. Two groups were compared: one group with strategy modelling and one group without. Strategy modelling influenced the frequency of looked-up hypertextual information, but did not influence the quality of learners' problem representations. This could be explained by difficulties in applying the general hypertext information to the problem. In Study 2, the additional information was presented in a more contextualised way as graphical representation of the case and its relevant concepts. Again, two groups were compared: one with a strategy instruction text and one without. Strategy instruction texts supported an adequate use of this graphical information by learners and had an effect on the quality of their problem representations. These findings are discussed with respect to the design of additional help systems in problem-oriented learning environments.

control strategies hypertext problem-oriented learning strategy instruction 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Albanese, M. A., & Mitchell, S. (1993). Problem based learning: A review of literature on its outcomes and implementation issues. Academic Medicine, 68, 52-81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barrows, H. S. (1985). How to design a problem-based curriculum for the preclinical years. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  3. Barrows, H. S. (1986). A taxonomy of problem-based learning methods. Medical Education, 20, 481-486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bereiter, C., & Scardamalia, M. (1989). Intentional learning as a goal of instruction. In L. B. Resnick (Ed.), Knowing, learning, and instruction (pp. 361-385). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  5. Boshuizen, H. P. A., Schmidt, H. G., Custers, E. J. F. M., & van de Wiel, M. W. (1995). Knowledge development and restructuring in the domain of medicine: The role of theory and practice. Learning and Instruction, 5, 269-289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bransford, J. D., Sherwood, R. D., Hasselbring, T. S., Kinzer, C. K., & Williams, S. M. (1990). Anchored instruction: Why we need it and how technology can help. In D. Nix & R. J. Spiro (Eds.), Cognition, education, and multimedia: Exploring ideas in high technology (pp. 163-205). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  7. Chi, M. T. H., Bassok, M., Lewis, M. W., Reimann, P., & Glaser, R. (1989). Self-explanations: How students study and use examples in learning to solve problems. Cognitive Science, 13, 145-182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt. (1992). The Jasper series as an example of anchored instruction: Theory, program, description, and assessment data. Educational Psychologist, 27, 291-315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt. (1993). Designing learning environments that support thinking: The Jasper series as a case study. In T. M. Duffy, J. Lowyck, D. H. Jonassen, & T. M. Welsh (Eds.), Designing environments for constructive learning (pp. 9-36). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  10. Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt. (1997). The Jasper project: Lessons in curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional development. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  11. Collins, A., & Brown, J. S. (1988). The computer as a tool for learning through reflection. In H. Mandl & A. Lesgold (Eds.), Learning issues for intelligent tutoring systems (pp. 1-18). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  12. Collins, A., Brown, J. S., & Newman, S. E. (1989). Cognitive apprenticeship: Teaching the crafts of reading, writing, and mathematics. In L. B. Resnick (Ed.), Knowing, learning, and instruction. Essays in the honour of Robert Glaser (pp. 453-494). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  13. Dillon, A., & Gabbard, R. (1998). Hypermedia as an educational technology: A review of the quantitative research literature on learner comprehension, control, and style. Review of Educational Research, 68, 322-349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dolmans, D. H. (1994). How students learn in a problem-based curriculum. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Maastricht, Limburg, The Netherlands.Google Scholar
  15. Fischer, F. (1998). Mappingverfahren als kognitive Werkzeuge für problemorientiertes Lernen [Concept mapping as a cognitive tool for problem-oriented learning]. Frankfurt, Germany: Lang.Google Scholar
  16. Fischer, F., Gräsel, C., Kittel, A., & Mandl, H. (1997). Strategien zur Bearbeitung von Diagnoseproblemen in komplexen Lernumgebungen [Strategies for working with diagnostic problems in complex learning environments]. Zeitschrift für Entwicklungspsychologie und Pädagogische Psychologie, 29, 62-82.Google Scholar
  17. Friedrich, H. F., & Mandl, H. (1992). Lern-und Denkstrategien — Ein Problemaufriss [Learning and thinking strategies — A critical overview]. In H. Mandl & H. F. Friedrich (Eds.), Lern-und Denkstrategien: Analyse und Intervention (pp. 3-54). Göttingen, Germany: Hogrefe.Google Scholar
  18. Gaudig, H. (1922). Die Schule im Dienste der werdenden Persönlichkeit [Schools for the development of personality]. Leipzig, Germany: Teubner.Google Scholar
  19. Glenberg, A. M., & Epstein, W. (1985). Calibration of understanding. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 11, 702-718.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gräsel, C. (1997). Problemorientiertes Lernen: Strategieanwendung und Gestaltungsmöglichkeiten [Problem-oriented learning: Strategy use and possibilities for design]. Göttingen, Germany: Hogrefe.Google Scholar
  21. Jonassen, D. H., Beissner, K., & Yacci, M. (1993). Structural knowledge: Techniques for representing, conveying and acquiring structural knowledge. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  22. Jonassen, D. H., & Mandl, H. (Eds.). (1990). Designing hypermedia for learning. Berlin, Germany: Springer.Google Scholar
  23. Kerschensteiner, G. (1912). Begriff der Arbeitsschule [The concept of the working school]. Leipzig, Germany: Teubner.Google Scholar
  24. Lyon, H. D., Healy, J. C., Bell, J. R., O'Donnell, J. F., Shulth, E. K., Wigton, R. S., Hirai, F., & Beck, J. R. (1990). PlanAlyzer: Cases on hematology. Hanover, NH: Dartmouth Medical School.Google Scholar
  25. Mandl, H., Gruber, H., & Renkl, A. (1996). Learning to apply: From ‘school garden instruction’ to technology-based learning environments. In S. Vosniadou, E. de Corte, R. Glaser, & H. Mandl (Eds.), International perspectives on the design of technologysupported learning environments (pp. 307-321). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  26. Paris, S. G., Lipson, M. Y., & Wixson, K. K. (1983). Becoming a strategic reader. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 8, 293-316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Prawat, R. S. (1993). The value of ideas: Problems versus possibilities in learning. Educational Researcher, 22(11), 5-16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Pressley, M., Snyder, B. L., Levin, J. R., Murray, H. G., & Ghatala, E. S. (1987). Perceived readiness for examination performance (PREP) produced by initial reading of text and text containing adjunct questions. Reading Research Quarterly, 22, 219-236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Resnick, L. B. (1987). Learning in school and out. Educational Researcher, 16(9), 13-20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Schmidt, H. G., & Boshuizen, H. P. A. (1993). On acquiring expertise in medicine. Educational Psychology Review, 5, 1-17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Schneider, W., & Pressley, M. (1989). Memory development between 2 and 20. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  32. Spiro, R. J., Feltovich, P. J., Jacobson, M. J., & Anderson, D. K. (1989). Multiple analogies for complex concepts: Antidotes for analogy-induced misconceptions in advanced knowledge organization. In S. Vosniadou & A. Ortony (Eds.), Similarity and analogical reasoning (pp. 498-531). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Stark, R., Graf, M., Renkl, A., Gruber, H., & Mandl, H. (1995). Förderung von Handlungskompetenz durch geleitetes Problemlösen und multiple Lernkontexte [Fostering action competence by guided problem-solving and multiple learning contexts]. Zeitschrift für Entwicklungspsychologie und Pädagogische Psychologie, 27, 289-312.Google Scholar
  34. Williams, S. M. (1992). Putting case-based instruction into context: Examples from legal and medical education. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 2, 367-427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cornelia Gräsel
    • 1
  • Frank Fischer
    • 2
  • Heinz Mandl
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Educational PsychologyUniversity of MunichMunichGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Educational PsychologyUniversity of MunichMunichGermany

Personalised recommendations