Web-based undergraduate chemistry problem-solving: The interplay of task performance, domain knowledge and web-searching strategies

Hsiao Ching She, Meng-Tzu Cheng, Ta Wei Li, Chia Yu Wang, Hsin Tien Chiu, Pei Zon Lee, Wen-Chi Chou, Ming Hua Chuang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigates the effect of Web-based Chemistry Problem-Solving, with the attributes of Web-searching and problem-solving scaffolds, on undergraduate students' problem-solving task performance. In addition, the nature and extent of Web-searching strategies students used and its correlation with task performance and domain knowledge also were examined. We recruited a total of 183 undergraduate students, all of whom are taking the freshman chemistry course, to participate in the study to solve three chemistry tasks across a semester. Mandated screen-capture software captured participants' on-screen Web-searching processes were recorded every five seconds. Results demonstrated that students' problem-solving performance was significantly improved from task 1 to 3.; students with more domain knowledge outperformed students with less domain knowledge. Students with higher problem-solving performance employed more existing knowledge and metacognitive Web-searching strategies.; students with lower problem-solving performance employed more cognitive Web-searching strategies. In addition, students' problem-solving performance was correlated with their domain knowledge, use of existing knowledge.; metacognitive Web-searching strategies. Moreover, students' use of existing knowledge was the major factor for predicting their problem-solving performance according to the regression model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)750-761
Number of pages12
JournalComputers and Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Sep 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Education

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