Example-based learning: exploring the use of matrices and problem variability

Mary A. Hancock-Niemic, Lijia Lin, Robert Atkinson, Alexander Renkl, Joerg Wittwer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The purpose of the study was to investigate the efficacy of using faded worked examples presented in matrices with problem structure variability to enhance learners’ ability to recognize the underlying structure of the problems. Specifically, this study compared the effects of matrix-format versus linear-format faded worked examples combined with equivalent problem structure versus contrast problem structure on learning. A total of 113 undergraduate students recruited from campus were randomly assigned to one of the four experimental conditions formed by a 2 × 2 factorial design. The results revealed three significant interactions on accuracy of anticipations, near transfer and medium transfer, suggesting that matrices foster learning when they contain contrast-structure problems but not with equivalent-structure problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-136
Number of pages22
JournalEducational Technology Research and Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • Example-based instruction
  • Fading example
  • Matrix
  • Problem structure
  • Worked example

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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