04 March 2008

The difference between students and experts in solving physics problems

Here's an interesting remark I came across in the blog Confused at a higher level:
As she said, if you give the same problem to a novice and an expert and ask them to think out loud, you will see a completely different intellectual structure to the approach. For an introductory mechanics problem, for instance, a student will say things like “oh, it’s an inclined plane. I should think about which forces are involved. Wait, is there friction? What about the normal force? What axes should I choose? Oh no, this is a complicated one — there’s gravity and a spring as well.” And so on. An expert will say something like: ‘Hmm, that’s probably best done by a conservation of energy analysis. Ok, which potential energies do I have to track …” And so on. Neither approach misses the point, but the latter constrains you, and focuses you much faster.

No comments:

Post a Comment