Exploring Inquiry-Based Problem-Solving Strategies in Game-Based Learning Environments

Jennifer Sabourin, Jonathan Rowe, Bradford W. Mott, James C. Lester

Guided inquiry-based learning has been proposed as a promising approach to science education. Students are encouraged to gather information, use this information to iteratively formulate and test hypotheses, draw conclusions, and report their findings. However, students may not automatically follow this prescribed sequence of steps in open-ended learning environments. This paper examines the role of inquiry behaviors in an open-ended, game-based learning environment for middle grade microbiology. Results indicate that students’ quantity of information-gathering behaviors has a greater impact on content learning gains than adherence to a particular sequence of problem-solving steps. We also observe that information gathering prior to hypothesis generation is correlated with improved initial hypotheses and problem-solving efficiency.

The final publication is available at Springer via https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-30950-2_60.