Visual attention for solving multiple-choice science problem: An eye-tracking analysis

Meng Jung Tsai, Huei Tse Hou, Meng Lung Lai, Wan Yi Liu, Fang-Ying Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

120 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study employed an eye-tracking technique to examine students' visual attention when solving a multiple-choice science problem. Six university students participated in a problem-solving task to predict occurrences of landslide hazards from four images representing four combinations of four factors. Participants' responses and visual attention were recorded by an eye tracker. Participants were asked to think aloud during the entire task. A 4 (options) × 4 (factors) repeated measures design, two paired t-tests and effect sizes analyses were conducted to compare the fixation duration between chosen and rejected options and between relevant and irrelevant factors. Content analyses were performed to analyze participants' responses and think aloud protocols and to examine individual's Hot Zone image. Finally, sequential analysis on fixated LookZones was further utilized to compare the scan patterns between successful and unsuccessful problem solvers. The results showed that, while solving an image-based multiple-choice science problem, students, in general, paid more attention to chosen options than rejected alternatives, and spent more time inspecting relevant factors than irrelevant ones. Additionally, successful problem solvers focused more on relevant factors, while unsuccessful problem solvers experienced difficulties in decoding the problem, in recognizing the relevant factors, and in self-regulating of concentration. Future study can be done to examine the reliability and the usability of providing adaptive instructional scaffoldings for problem solving according to students' visual attention allocations and transformations in a larger scale. Eye-tracking techniques are suggested to be used to deeply explore the cognitive process during e-learning and be applied to future online assessment systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-385
Number of pages11
JournalComputers and Education
Volume58
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jan 1

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Students
science
Landslides
student
Decoding
Hazards
electronic learning
university

Keywords

  • Applications in subject areas
  • Evaluation methodology
  • Interdisciplinary projects
  • Media in education
  • Teaching/learning strategies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Education

Cite this

Visual attention for solving multiple-choice science problem : An eye-tracking analysis. / Tsai, Meng Jung; Hou, Huei Tse; Lai, Meng Lung; Liu, Wan Yi; Yang, Fang-Ying.

In: Computers and Education, Vol. 58, No. 1, 01.01.2012, p. 375-385.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Tsai, Meng Jung ; Hou, Huei Tse ; Lai, Meng Lung ; Liu, Wan Yi ; Yang, Fang-Ying. / Visual attention for solving multiple-choice science problem : An eye-tracking analysis. In: Computers and Education. 2012 ; Vol. 58, No. 1. pp. 375-385.
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