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Investigating the role of socially mediated metacognition during collaborative troubleshooting of electric circuits

TitleInvestigating the role of socially mediated metacognition during collaborative troubleshooting of electric circuits
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsVan De Bogart, KL, Dounas-Frazer, DR, Lewandowski, HJ, Stetzer, MKR
JournalPhysical Review Physics Education Research
Date Published2017-09

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 individualstudents’ 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.

Short TitlePhys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res.