Characteristics of a cognitive tool that helps students learn diagnostic problem solving

Jared A. Danielson, Eric M. Mills, Pamela J. Vermeer, Vanessa A. Preast, Karen M. Young, Mary M Christopher, Jeanne W. George, R. Darren Wood, Holly S. Bender

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Three related studies replicated and extended previous work (J.A. Danielson et al. (2003), Educational Technology Research and Development, 51(3), 63-81) involving the Diagnostic Pathfinder (dP) (previously Problem List Generator [PLG]), a cognitive tool for learning diagnostic problem solving. In studies 1 and 2, groups of 126 and 113 veterinary students, respectively, used the dP to complete case-based homework; groups of 120 and 199, respectively, used an alternative method. Students in the dP groups scored significantly higher (p = .000 and .003, respectively) on final exams than those in control groups. In the third study, 552 veterinary students responding to a questionnaire indicated that the dP's gating and data synthesis activities aided learning. The dP's feedback and requirement of completeness appear to aid learning most.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-520
Number of pages22
JournalEducational Technology Research and Development
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2007


  • Cognitive load theory
  • Cognitive tools
  • Diagnostic problem solving
  • Feedback
  • Gating

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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