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Kevin and Mac publish in Phys Rev on troubleshooting

September 12th, 2017

Kevin is lead author on work with folks at Colorado, regarding troubleshooting in labs.

Investigating the role of socially mediated metacognition during collaborative troubleshooting of electric circuits
Kevin L. Van De Bogart, Dimitri R. Dounas-Frazer, H. J. Lewandowski, and MacKenzie R. Stetzer

Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 13, 020116 – Published 12 September 2017

Developing students’ ability to troubleshoot is an important learning outcome for many undergraduate physics lab courses, especially electronics courses. In other work, metacognition has been identified as an important feature of troubleshooting. However, that work has focused primarily on individual students’ metacognitive processes or troubleshooting abilities. In contrast, electronics courses often require students to work in pairs, and hence students’ in-class experiences likely have significant social dimensions that are not well understood. In this work, we use an existing framework for socially mediated metacognition to analyze audiovisual data from think-aloud activities in which eight pairs of students from two institutions attempted to diagnose and repair a malfunctioning electric circuit. In doing so, we provide insight into some of the social metacognitive dynamics that arise during collaborative troubleshooting. We find that students engaged in socially mediated metacognition at multiple key transitions during the troubleshooting process. Reciprocated metacognitive dialogue arose when students were collectively strategizing about which measurements to perform, or reaching a shared understanding of the circuit’s behavior. Our research demonstrates the value of the framework of socially mediated metacognition in providing insight into the nature of collaborative student troubleshooting in the context of electronics. As such, this framework may be a useful resource for future efforts to examine and support the development of student troubleshooting skills in other upper-division laboratory courses.


Posted in papers
Physics Education Research Laboratory
Department of Physics and Astronomy, 5709 Bennett Hall
Phone: 207.581.1033; 207.581.1030; 207.581.1237
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469