AbstractThis study was designed to determine if sixth-grade students' problem solving skills were improved by means of their experience with a computer-based logical puzzle game designed to increase reasoning skills, and, in turn, problem solving ability. Students worked on this game either in cooperative learning pairs or alone. Baseline and post-experimental problem-solving ability was measured through the administration of a Problem Solving Test; Form A was utilized as a pretest for this purpose, Form B was used as a post-test. Comparisons of problem-solving ability based upon post-test scores (Form B) were made among four groups of students (N = 106): Group 1: Students (n = 26) who worked on the computer-based puzzle game in cooperative learning pairs Group 2: Students (n = 27) who worked on the computer-based puzzle game as individuals Group 3: Students (n = 24) who worked on a computer-based social studies simulation in cooperative learning pairs Group 4: Students (n = 29) who worked on a computer-based social studies simulation as individuals.
A t-test comparison of post-test data between all students who worked on the puzzle game and all students who did not work on the puzzle game showed no significant difference between the two groups' problem solving abilities. However, an analysis of variance comparing the means of all four groups showed that the students in Group 1 performed significantly better (F=3.783, p<.05) than those in the other three. These results indicate that students who participated in a computer-based cooperative learning experience using software that fostered the use of problem solving skills showed significant improvement in their problem solving ability. Students who used the same software as individuals showed no such improvement, nor did students who participated in a computer-based cooperative learning experience using social studies software. Therefore, the data can be interpreted to suggest that the combination of cooperative learning and the use of a computer-based puzzle-solving game led to increased problem-solving ability.