Effects of Guidance on Learning about Ill-defined Problems

We present a study that examines the effects of guidance on learning about addressing ill-defined problems in undergraduate bi- ology education. Two groups of college students used an online laboratory named VERA to learn about ill-defined ecological phenomena. While one group received guidance, such as giving the learners a specific problem and instruction on problem-solving methods, the other group received minimal guidance. The results indicate that, while performance in a problem-solving task was not different between groups receiving more vs. minimal guidance, the group that received minimal guidance adopted a more exploratory strategy and generated more interesting models of the given phenomena in a problem-solving task.