Students’ Generic and Domain-Specific Critical Online Reasoning Task-solving Processes and Strategies and Their Development over the Course of a Degree Program in and across the Four Domains (Economics, Medicine, Physics, Sociology)

Digital media and online information environments influence the acquisition of student knowledge and learning processes. An effective way to understand the reasons for these influences are the analysis of task-solving strategies that can be determined by the recording of eye movements together with retrospective think-aloud protocols . Previous research found that task-solving strategies vary between correct and incorrect responses to domain-specific tasks, and students have difficulties in successfully transferring task-solving strategies to other (task and learning) contexts. Similarly, the task-solving processes in critical online reasoning (COR) tasks of high and low performing students differ, e.g. in the time spent on websites. Thus, it can be expected that the detailed analysis of task-solving strategies will reveal reasons for high and low domain-specific (DOM) and generic (GEN)-COR performances.

C07 aims to identify task-solving strategies of high- and low-performing students in GEN- and DOM-COR tasks and the developments thereof. It will also investigate the effects of prior domain knowledge as well as the influence of media- and content-related, narrative and linguistic features of Web information on differences of task-solving strategies and COR performances.

C07 will record eye movements and retrospective think-aloud protocols of students’ subgroups (from the total sample) from each domain during GEN- and DOM-COR tasks at each measurement. Both methods will be used in the GEN- and DOM-COR tasks that use real Internet as well as the Internet-like simulations. The positions and sizes of areas of interest will be determined together with B-projects. Next, C07 will investigate the role of task-solving strategies for successful task performances and how they are linked to students’ domain knowledge in mediation and multilevel analyses.

C07 will identify successful and unsuccessful task-solving strategies and changes therein, and these task-solving strategies as well as their development will be compared across the four measurements and the four domains. The results will reveal the interplay between the task-solving strategies and domain knowledge as well as the performance in GEN- and DOM-COR tasks. Furthermore, with these results, C07 will be able to develop the necessary fine-grained basis for the design of targeted instructional interventions for the 2nd research phase.

C07 provides insights into task-solving strategies and relates them to students’ domain knowledge and COR task performance together with the A-projects and with a particular focus on online information features together with the B-projects. The results of successful and unsuccessful task-solving strategies will provide guidelines for the design of new COR tasks especially using the Internet-like simulations in the A-projects, and it will provide information about areas considered and ignored by students within the Internet environment during task-solving for the B-projects.