When students do an activity, such as solving a problem, the experimenter can ask them to "think aloud" as they work and record their speech. Usually, this is done by running Camtasia or some other screen-capture recording system so that the analyst can see what the students are talking about and doing. Speech quality is often better if students wear close-talk headset mikes.
There was once considerable controversy about whether think-aloud data collection affected students' cognition. After many experiments comparing performance with and without such data collection, the answer is "it depends" on what the activity is. See
- Ericsson, K. A., & Simon, H. A. (1980). Verbal reports as data. Psychological Review, 87(3), 215-251.
- M. W. van Someren, Y. Barnard, J. A.C. Sandberg (1994) The Think Aloud Method: A practical guide to modelling cognitive processes, Academic Press, London, 1994.