This study compared students' learning in troubleshooting and problem solving activities. The troubleshooting activities provided students with solutions to conceptual problems in the form of refutation texts; namely, solutions that portray common misconceptions, refute them, and then present the accepted scientific ideas. They required students to individually diagnose these solutions; that is, to identify the erroneous and correct parts of the solutions and explain in what sense they differed, and later share their work in whole class discussions. The problem solving activities required the students to individually solve these same problems, and later share their work in whole class discussions. We compared the impact of the individual work stage in the troubleshooting and problem solving activities on promoting argumentation in the subsequent class discussions, and the effects of these activities on students' engagement in self-repair processes; namely, in learning processes that allowed the students to self-repair their misconceptions, and by extension on advancing their conceptual knowledge. Two 8th grade classes studying simple electric circuits with the same teacher took part. One class (28 students) carried out four troubleshooting activities and the other (31 students) four problem solving activities. These activities were interwoven into a twelve lesson unit on simple electric circuits that was spread over a period of 2 months. The impact of the troubleshooting activities on students' conceptual knowledge was significantly higher than that of the problem solving activities. This result is consistent with the finding that the troubleshooting activities engaged students in self-repair processes whereas the problem solving activities did not. The results also indicated that diagnosing solutions to conceptual problems in the form of refutation texts, as opposed to solving these same problems, apparently triggered argumentation in subsequent class discussions, even though the teacher was unfamiliar with the best ways to conduct argumentative classroom discussions. We account for these results and suggest possible directions for future research.