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2016 IEEE 16th International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies

Collaborative problem-solving process in a web-based anchored instruction

Dai-Yi Wang
Department of Science and Communication Engineering
Providence University
Taichung City, Taiwan

Abstract—On-line videos are widely used on e-learning. instruction (WBA) that were a new online learning activity
However, the learning activities of on-line video still need to be based on anchored instruction and composed of on-line
designed and evaluated especially. Wang (2010) proposed a video learning and collaborative problem-solving learning.
web-based anchored instruction that were a new online This activity was carried out in an online platform, that
learning activity based on anchored instruction and composed supports annotation of videos and collaborative problem-
of on-line video learning and collaborative problem-solving solving.
learning. In this study, the author investigated the process of Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) is a critical and
collaborative problem solving and examined the relationships
necessary skill across educational settings and in the
among students’ learning styles, learning outcomes and
workforce. While problem solving as defined for PISA 2012
problem-solving abilities in the web-based anchored
instruction. The results showed that problem analysis and
[9] relates to individuals working alone on resolving problem
group discussion had a significant relation with learning situations where a method of solution is not immediately
outcomes, and personal annotations made before collaborative obvious, in CPS groups of individuals join their
learning could contribute to subsequent group discussion. understandings and efforts and work together on solving
these problem situations. Collaboration has distinct
Keywords-video learning; problem-solving process; learning advantages over individual problem solving [10].
style; anchored instruction [11] adopted a quasi-experimental design, with teaching
method as the independent variable (the web-based anchored
I. INTRODUCTION instruction vs. the traditional anchored instruction) and the
Thousands of online courses are now being offered, such learning outcomes assessment result and the self-reported
as OpenCourseWare (OCW) which are course lessons problem-solving ability as dependent variables to examine
created at universities and published for free via the Internet the effect of the web-based anchored instruction. The
and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) which are experimental results showed that the web-based anchored
online courses aimed at unlimited participation and open instruction, performed as well as the traditional anchored
access via the web. Most of these courses adopt video instruction, could effectively improve learners' learning
lectures, because videos can motive learners, engage them outcomes and problem-solving abilities. In this study, the
and focus their attention on the learning material. Some objective is further to investigate the process of collaborative
empirical studies have sought to determine the effects of problem solving and examine the relationships among
video material on learning [1,2,3,4,5,6]. However, the studentsȽ learning styles, learning outcomes and problem-
learning activities of on-line video still need to be well solving abilities in the web-based anchored instruction.
designed and evaluated especially.
Video is a rich and powerful medium. It is suitable for II. WEB-BASED ANCHORED INSTRUCTION
active learning, problem-based learning, and situated The web-based anchored instruction that integrates
learning, because it can help students learn in a real-world problem-solving activities in the instruction. The problem-
situation by being able to effectively model or demonstrate solving activities are based on six steps, including browse the
concepts or procedures in complicated contexts [1,4]. The topic, make annotations (discover the problem and search for
Cognitive and Technology Group at Vanderbilt (CTGV) embedded data), analyze subproblems, discuss with group
introduced the theory of anchored instruction in 1990. members (search for related information and plan solutions),
Anchored instruction is a technology-based learning present solutions of the group (execute the plan), and review.
approach that uses materials designed with multimedia and Step 1 (Browse the topic) and Step 2 (Make annotations):
real-life stories to present diverse information. In this Learners are enabled to acquire knowledge by viewing the
approach, knowledge is embedded, and students are provided video. If any idea, question or key point comes to them as
access to rich resources to think and solve problems from they watch the video, they can pause the video any time to
multiple perspectives. The goal of this approach is to prepare make an annotation. The annotation will then appear on the
students with an ability to apply problem-solving skills they right side of the screen. If they click on the annotation, the
have acquired from various disciplines to real-life video will jump to the position where the annotation is
problems[7]. [8] proposed a Web-Based Anchored created and replay.

2161-377X/16 $31.00 © 2016 IEEE 163

DOI 10.1109/ICALT.2016.34
The objective of this study is to investigate learners’
problem-solving process in the web-based anchored
instruction. In this study, 56 participants were recruited from
two eighth-year classes of a junior high school in New Taipei
City. They were received the web-based anchored instruction
at a computer lab. The learning processes of participants
were analyzed to explore the learning behaviors in the online
anchored instruction, such as annotation, analysis of
subproblems, and group discussion, as well as the effect of
learning styles on learning outcomes.
A. Instructional video
From the database held by National Education
Information Center, we selected No. 51 Organic
Figure 1. Illustration of activities in Step 3-Analyze subproblems Compounds (3)~Daily Products Containing Organic
Compounds as the experimental video. This video contains
learning materials embedded in situations and is therefore
suited for research of situated learning. We edited the video
to shorten its length from 30 minutes to 10 minutes. The
edited video was primarily about an introduction of various
types of detergents, how soap is produced, and why soap
can remove stains.
B. Learning outcomes assessment
Based on the knowledge embedded in the video and the
problems that the participants were expected to solve—soap
production and its stain removal mechanism, we designed a
Figure 2. Illustration of activities in Step 5-Present the solutions of the group test to evaluate the participants’ learning outcomes. To
ensure the content validity of the test, we invited two senior
teachers of physics and chemistry to evaluate the test items.
The test items were modified based on their suggestions.
C. Measurement of problem-solving ability
In order to quantify the problem-solving behavior of the
participants, we developed criteria to measure the
participants’ performance in each problem-solving step
according to related literature [12,13,14,15].
Figure 3. Illustration of activities in Step 6-Review Each participant’s problem-solving behaviors were rated.
To explore the effect of learning styles and problem-solving
Step 3 (Analyze subproblems): As shown in Fig. 1, processes on learning outcomes, we proposed a path model
annotations made by all members in the same group will and included related independent variables into the
appear on the right side of the screen. At the bottom left is an regression model. After four times of multiple regression, we
area for group discussion. Shown in the column at the obtained the standardized regression coefficient as the path
bottom right are subproblems proposed by three participants. coefficient. The path analysis result is shown in Fig. 4.
Step 4 (Discuss with group members): Members are
allowed to discuss in the synchronous discussion area and
present their results or data about each subproblem.
Step 5 (Present solutions of the group): As shown in Fig.
2, members discuss in the left column of the screen and
present the solutions of the group in the orange columns on
the right side.
Step 6 (Review): As shown in Fig. 3, members review
their learning processes and write down their feedbacks on
this learning activity.
Figure 4. Path analysis result

In this model, four paths are significant: (1) the path The authors would like to thank the Ministry of Science
between the text-based learning style (negative correlation and Technology of the Republic of China for financially
coefficient) and learning outcomes; (2) the path between supporting this research under Contract No. NSC 102-2511-
making annotations and group discussion; (3) the path S-126 -003 -MY3.
between analyzing subproblems and learning outcomes; and
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