Solving physics problems with the help of computer-assisted instruction

Henk Pol*, Egbert G. Harskamp, Cor J.M. Suhre

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


The main goal of most physics textbooks is to develop declarative and procedural knowledge. Exercises provide pupils with opportunities to apply this knowledge. However, when confronted with more complicated exercises many pupils experience difficulties in solving them. A computer program about the subject of forces was developed containing hints for the various different episodes of problem-solving. A study was undertaken with a group taking part in the experiment (n = 11) who used both their textbook and the computer program, and a control group (n = 25) who used their textbook only.

There was evidence to show that the pupils from the group taking part in the experiment did achieve higher results in solving problems. Exploration and planning were improved but evaluation was not. It appeared that pupils involved in the experiment made better use of their declarative knowledge in solving problems than pupils from the control group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-469
Number of pages19
JournalInternational journal of science education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2005
Externally publishedYes


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