Problem Solving Skills And Collaborative Skills


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Cognitive flexibility is a learning theory in which the students structure and restructure their knowledge collaboratively, in many different ways, in order to respond to a variety of different situational demands (Spiro et. al., 1995). This theory is created to address the real-world complexity and ill-structuredness of many knowledge domains, such as History, Medicine, Mathematics, and Engineering (Spiro et. al., 1995).

Tailoring the basic principles of the CFT in our experiment trying to (Spiro et. al., 1995): (i) Emphasis on knowledge construction not transmission. More specific, learners must construct text and schemata including basic and advanced Microsoft Word knowledge in order to complete the activities. (ii) Acquire the basic and advanced knowledge in a real-world context. The scenario of the experiment was designed to give students the opportunity to adapt their existing basic and advanced Microsoft Word knowledge in authentic situations. (iii) Focus on advanced knowledge acquisition, particularly in the use of hypertext.

Studies, based on CFT, point out that cognitive and metacognitive skills contribute to teaching process. There are many researches that investigated variables such as problem solving, collaborative and metacognitive skills. In this experiment problem solving skills, collaborative skills and reflecting thinking skills have been acknowledged as factors that contribute to teach engineers as prospective teachers in secondary schools. In particular, the CFT has been investigated by the relationships of these variables.

Researchers (Cañas et. al., 2003) have generally observed that when students use a problem solving strategy affected by environmental factors which are relevant to that particular strategy. However, it was observed that the effect depends on the problem solving strategy adopted by each person and especially the change of the restrictions introduced. Moreover, a similar study (Antolí et. al., 2005) point out that when participants were trained under constant conditions they showed a tendency to maintain their strategies. That is to say, the type of training can affect change or modify, in certain degree, the cognitive flexibility or what is the same thing, the possibility that the participants adapt to the new conditions of the environment.

Recent research, based on CFT hypothesized that collaborative learning would further enhance the CFT-based education process and evaluated this effect by organizing students to complete the module individually or in pairs and comparing test re­sults for these groups. So, it examined the effects of collaboration in a computer supported environment. The research data showed that students who collaborated had higher score than those who worked individually (Heath et. al., 2008).


The general purpose of this study was to present a framework developing an educational scenario for schooling and business practice, based on Cognitive Flexibility theory (CFT) and a technological supported environment. So, we present the application of CFT as an instructional and collaborative model in order to teach how to apply Microsoft applications in real problems of everyday educational life, fostering multiple cases and different perspectives of learning, in the mode of situated applications in higher education students.

So, in a section of workshop of the CLE course, 28, 4th year Digital Systems students were taught for 4 weeks period, attending the 12 weeks of the CLE course during a spring semester.

The study investigated the following questions:

The relationship between problem solving skills and collaborative skills in an experiment based on CFT.

The relationship between problem solving skills and reflecting thinking skills in an experiment based on CFT.

The relationship between collaborative skills and reflecting thinking skills in an experiment based on CFT.


This paper measured the variables problem solving skills, collaborative skills and reflecting thinking skills. These variables were measured by using rubrics, which were completed by the participants during and after the activity.

No significant difference was found between problem solving skills and collaborative skills t(23) = -27,607, p > 0.05, thus underlining the relationship between the methodological approach of problem solving theory and the development of collaborative skills. Also, no statistically significant difference was found between problem solving skills and reflecting thinking skills t(23) = 50,610, p > 0.05, therefore a correlation exists This finding underlines the fact that students develop cognitive and metacognitive skills by following the methodological approach of theory to solve problems. Finally, paired samples t-test revealed that no significant difference existed between collaborative skills and reflecting thinking skills t(23) = -74,606, p> 0.05. This phenomenal correlation between these variables implies that students apply the acquired knowledge in a practical context, while interacting with each other to complete the activity.


This research attempted to explore the relationships between the variables "Problem Solving skills", "Collaborative skills" and "Reflecting Thinking skills", in a technological supported environment. The relationship between the variables was significant positive and that means when a variable increases and the other increases. So, in a technological supported environment based on CFT that enhances the cognitive and metacognitive skills, the students demonstrate a high level of problem solving, collaborative skills and reflecting thinking. Furthermore, the learning concepts appear to become easier when the learners try to apply them to real problems of everyday life, especially when they link theory with practice. Finally, the findings of this study are tentative and need to be verified in further research.

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