University of Oulu

Pöysä-Tarhonen, J., Häkkinen, P., Tarhonen, P. et al. “Anything taking shape?” Capturing various layers of small group collaborative problem solving in an experiential geometry course in initial teacher education. Instr Sci 50, 1–34 (2022).

“Anything taking shape?” : capturing various layers of small group collaborative problem solving in an experiential geometry course in initial teacher education

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Author: Pöysä-Tarhonen, Johanna1; Häkkinen, Päivi1; Tarhonen, Pasi2;
Organizations: 1Finnish Institute for Educational Research, University of Jyvaskyla, P.O. Box 35, 40014, Jyvaskyla, Finland
2Honeywell Inc., P.O. Box 1001, Viestikatu 1-3, 70601, Kuopio, Finland
3Faculty of Education and Psychology, University of Jyväskylä, P.O. Box 35, 40014, Jyvaskyla, Finland
4Faculty of Education, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 8000, 90014, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2022
Publish Date: 2021-12-02


Collaborative problem solving (CPS) is widely recognized as a prominent 21st-century skill to be mastered. Until recently, research on CPS has often focused on problem solution by the individual; the interest in investigating how the theorized problem-solving constructs function as broader social units, such as pairs or small groups, is relatively recent. Capturing the complexity of CPS processes in group-level interaction is challenging. Therefore, a method of analysis capturing various layers of CPS was developed that aimed for a deeper understanding of CPS as a small-group enactment. In the study, small groups of teacher education students worked on two variations of open-ended CPS tasks—a technology-enhanced task and a task using physical objects. The method, relying on video data, encompassed triangulation of analysis methods and combined the following: (a) directed content analysis of the actualized CPS in groups, (b) process analysis and visualizations, and (c) qualitative cases. Content analysis did not show a large variation in how CPS was actualized in the groups or tasks for either case, whereas process analysis revealed both group- and task-related differences in accordance with the interchange of CPS elements. The qualitative cases exemplified the interaction diversity in the quality of coordination and students’ equal participation in groups. It was concluded that combining different methods gives access to various layers of CPS; moreover, it can contribute to a deeper articulation of the CPS as a group-level construct, providing divergent ways to understand CPS in this context.

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Series: Instructional science
ISSN: 0020-4277
ISSN-E: 1573-1952
ISSN-L: 0020-4277
Volume: 50
Pages: 1 - 34
DOI: 10.1007/s11251-021-09562-5
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
Funding: Open Access funding provided by University of Jyväskylä (JYU). This study was funded by the Academy of Finland (Grant Number 273970).
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