Collaborative problem solving in a control technology learning environment, a pilot study

Jari Lavonen, Veijo Meisalo, Matti Lattu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


We have investigated collaborative problem solving in a teaching experiment, which was organised for 34 eight-grade pupils in a control technology learning environment. The participating teacher was trained by us and pupils had available kits, interfaces and computers equipped with a novel icon oriented programming tool, Empirica Control. Pupil activities were video recorded and the analysis proceeded through writing video protocols, edited into episodes and then classified into categories. Categories were mainly derived empirically. In the analysis, we used concepts such as collaboration and problem solving, in accordance with social constructivism. The data showed that typical learning processes were collaborative (62% of all episodes) as well as dynamic problem-solving processes, in several stages. Pupils worked quite independently of the teacher, as they learned to use the programming tool autonomously in their technology projects. It appears, however, that more teacher support, such as introducing handbooks, planning tools and advanced programming skills, would have been an advantage. Some ideas about further development of study processes in modern learning environments are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-160
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Technology and Design Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Collaborative learning
  • Control technology
  • Learning environment
  • Problem solving
  • Programming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Engineering


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