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Self Reported Behaviors And Heuristic Beliefs About Learning And Preparing For Problem Solving Exams

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Assessment Issues

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1004.1 - 8.1004.14



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Paper Authors

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Roger Ware

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Charles Yokomoto

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Maher Rizkalla

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3230

Self-Reported Behaviors And Heuristic Beliefs About Learning and Preparing for Problem Solving Exams

Charles F. Yokomoto, Maher E. Rizkalla, Roger Ware Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

1.0 Introduction

In this paper, we describe a study of the self-reported behaviors and heuristic beliefs of students as they relate to solving homework problems and preparing for problem-solving exams. The purpose of the study is to develop an understanding of our students and to determine if our faculty’s assessment of our students in this area is an accurate one. Often times, faculty members think, consciously or unconsciously, that students study and prepare for exams the same way we did and that the primary difference is in intellectual capacity, and this may cause us to teach in ways that do not lead to effective learning.

The first phase of the study was reported at the 2002 Frontiers in Education Conference by August, et al1, where the self-reported learning behaviors and heuristic beliefs about learning of students in two technology classes as the Northeastern University were compared with the recommended best practices of the instructors of the course. They pointed out that people develop habits of learning from their experiences through a trial and error learning process, citing Lindsay and Norman2, who say that “perhaps the most powerful description of the controlling factor of behavior is the Law of Effect: An action that leads to a desirable outcome is likely to be repeated in similar circumstances.” They also mention the discussions on differences in learning styles have become quite common in engineering education circles, and these styles also reflect trusted habits of learning. Combining the concept of The Law of Effect and the notion of differences in learning styles has helped us to understand that students may have different beliefs about how learning takes place and different habits of learning.

Several related papers have been published recently on helping students modify their study habits in order to improve learning, such as Wright et al.3 who described how students used journals to help them modify their study habits. Landis and Prather4 described a process for changing students behaviors and attitudes in order to promote success among first-year engineering students. Landis5 described behaviors of successful students, basing his approach on the published works of Tinto6, Noel-Levitz7, and Astin8, and Mack et al. 9 talked about helping freshman focus on behaviors that promote success and achievement in engineering.

In this paper, we will present the results of an expansion of the Northeastern University study, this time conducted at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, where the survey of students and faculty was expanded to include the following:

• Students in a sophomore level course in analog electronics were asked to report their learning

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Ware, R., & Yokomoto, C., & Rizkalla, M. (2003, June), Self Reported Behaviors And Heuristic Beliefs About Learning And Preparing For Problem Solving Exams Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11846

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