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

17 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
Externally publishedYes


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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