Design of a computer-based learning environment to support diagnostic problem solving towards expertise development
Learning through problem solving is a pedagogical approach that situates learning in problem-solving contexts. As a form of constructivist learning, problem solving has received increased attention in complex and ill-structured domains such as scientific inquiry and medical education. However, effective learning in problem-solving contexts is difficult to realize because problem-solving tasks often involve complex processes that are inaccessible to learners. It is important to make such complex processes visible for observation and practice, and provide learners with necessary help during the learning process. This study explored the design of a computer-based learning environment that helps medical students to externalize the sophisticated process of diagnostic problem-solving and provides them with adaptive feedback when they work with a number of simulated clinical cases. The proposed approach attempted to utilize expert knowledge to transform open-ended problem-solving experience into systematic and deliberate effort towards expertise development.