Towards a conceptual framework for identifying student difficulties with solving Real-World Problems in Physics

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This paper develops a conceptual framework for identifying the challenges and obstacles university students encounter when solving real-world problems involving Physics. The framework is based on viewing problem solving as a modelling process. In order to solve a real-world problem, the problem solver has to go through the steps and do the tasks of such a process. The paper presents a theoretical analysis of what it takes to solve three real-world problems, demonstrating how the framework presented captures the essential aspects of solving them. Moreover, it is argued that three steps critical for real-world problem solving – initial analysis of the problem situation, choice of relevant physical theory (the so-called paradigmatic choice) and mathematization – are not covered by existing models of problem solving in Physics. Finally, the existing research on student difficulties with problem solving in Physics is placed within the framework.
TidsskriftLatin - American Journal of Physics Education
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)3-13
Antal sider11
StatusUdgivet - mar. 2012


  • Problemøsning
  • Virkelige problemer
  • universitetsniveau

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