This study investigated the influence of five problem characteristics on students' achievement-related classroom behaviors and academic achievement. Data from 5,949 polytechnic students in PBL curricula across 170 courses were analyzed by means of path analysis. The five problem characteristics were: (1) problem clarity, (2) problem familiarity, (3) the extent to which the problem stimulated group discussion, (4) self-study, and (5) identification of learning goals. The results showed that problem clarity led to more group discussion, identification of learning goals, and self-study than problem familiarity. On the other hand, problem familiarity had a stronger and direct impact on academic achievement.

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Keywords Academic achievement, Achievement-related classroom behaviors, Problem characteristics, Problem-based learning
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Journal Advances in Health Sciences Education
Sockalingam, N, Rotgans, J.I, & Schmidt, H.G. (2011). The relationships between problem characteristics, achievement-related behaviors, and academic achievement in problem-based learning. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 16(4), 481–490. doi:10.1007/s10459-010-9270-3