Getting Out of Order: Avoiding Lesson Effects Through Instruction

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

This chapter describes two experiments that test the felicity-conditions hypothesis that people learn best if a task is taught one subprocedure per lesson. In these experiments, children were taught multiplication skills by a human tutor. Although there was a slight trend that presenting one topic per lesson led to fewer errors than presenting two topics, the more important finding is that there is better transfer to new problems when teaching two subprocedures per lesson: about one-third fewer errors at test. These results suggest that it is crucial to learn when to apply a particular element of knowledge. Lessons that deliberately change the element of knowledge needed from problem to problem are more difficult for learners but can enhance the learner's ability to apply different types of knowledge and to transfer their learning. This effect also suggests why textbooks have evolved to use one disjunct per lesson and is also consistent with good practice in system documentation. The study further suggests not only that teaching multiple items per lesson is safer if there is someone to help remove any confusion but also that some small amount of reordering by a teacher can help the learner to compensate for poor orders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIn Order to Learn: How the sequence of topics influences learning
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780199893751, 9780195178845
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Teaching
Confusion
Aptitude
Textbooks
Documentation
Transfer (Psychology)

Keywords

  • Felicity-conditions hypothesis
  • Instruction
  • Learning
  • Order effects
  • Subprocedures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

VanLehn, K. (2010). Getting Out of Order: Avoiding Lesson Effects Through Instruction. In In Order to Learn: How the sequence of topics influences learning Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195178845.003.0012

Getting Out of Order : Avoiding Lesson Effects Through Instruction. / VanLehn, Kurt.

In Order to Learn: How the sequence of topics influences learning. Oxford University Press, 2010.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

VanLehn, K 2010, Getting Out of Order: Avoiding Lesson Effects Through Instruction. in In Order to Learn: How the sequence of topics influences learning. Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195178845.003.0012
VanLehn K. Getting Out of Order: Avoiding Lesson Effects Through Instruction. In In Order to Learn: How the sequence of topics influences learning. Oxford University Press. 2010 https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195178845.003.0012
VanLehn, Kurt. / Getting Out of Order : Avoiding Lesson Effects Through Instruction. In Order to Learn: How the sequence of topics influences learning. Oxford University Press, 2010.
@inbook{e970d96496a944d3bafae0f1fb2953c3,
title = "Getting Out of Order: Avoiding Lesson Effects Through Instruction",
abstract = "This chapter describes two experiments that test the felicity-conditions hypothesis that people learn best if a task is taught one subprocedure per lesson. In these experiments, children were taught multiplication skills by a human tutor. Although there was a slight trend that presenting one topic per lesson led to fewer errors than presenting two topics, the more important finding is that there is better transfer to new problems when teaching two subprocedures per lesson: about one-third fewer errors at test. These results suggest that it is crucial to learn when to apply a particular element of knowledge. Lessons that deliberately change the element of knowledge needed from problem to problem are more difficult for learners but can enhance the learner's ability to apply different types of knowledge and to transfer their learning. This effect also suggests why textbooks have evolved to use one disjunct per lesson and is also consistent with good practice in system documentation. The study further suggests not only that teaching multiple items per lesson is safer if there is someone to help remove any confusion but also that some small amount of reordering by a teacher can help the learner to compensate for poor orders.",
keywords = "Felicity-conditions hypothesis, Instruction, Learning, Order effects, Subprocedures",
author = "Kurt VanLehn",
year = "2010",
month = "4",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195178845.003.0012",
language = "English (US)",
isbn = "9780199893751",
booktitle = "In Order to Learn: How the sequence of topics influences learning",
publisher = "Oxford University Press",

}

TY - CHAP

T1 - Getting Out of Order

T2 - Avoiding Lesson Effects Through Instruction

AU - VanLehn, Kurt

PY - 2010/4/1

Y1 - 2010/4/1

N2 - This chapter describes two experiments that test the felicity-conditions hypothesis that people learn best if a task is taught one subprocedure per lesson. In these experiments, children were taught multiplication skills by a human tutor. Although there was a slight trend that presenting one topic per lesson led to fewer errors than presenting two topics, the more important finding is that there is better transfer to new problems when teaching two subprocedures per lesson: about one-third fewer errors at test. These results suggest that it is crucial to learn when to apply a particular element of knowledge. Lessons that deliberately change the element of knowledge needed from problem to problem are more difficult for learners but can enhance the learner's ability to apply different types of knowledge and to transfer their learning. This effect also suggests why textbooks have evolved to use one disjunct per lesson and is also consistent with good practice in system documentation. The study further suggests not only that teaching multiple items per lesson is safer if there is someone to help remove any confusion but also that some small amount of reordering by a teacher can help the learner to compensate for poor orders.

AB - This chapter describes two experiments that test the felicity-conditions hypothesis that people learn best if a task is taught one subprocedure per lesson. In these experiments, children were taught multiplication skills by a human tutor. Although there was a slight trend that presenting one topic per lesson led to fewer errors than presenting two topics, the more important finding is that there is better transfer to new problems when teaching two subprocedures per lesson: about one-third fewer errors at test. These results suggest that it is crucial to learn when to apply a particular element of knowledge. Lessons that deliberately change the element of knowledge needed from problem to problem are more difficult for learners but can enhance the learner's ability to apply different types of knowledge and to transfer their learning. This effect also suggests why textbooks have evolved to use one disjunct per lesson and is also consistent with good practice in system documentation. The study further suggests not only that teaching multiple items per lesson is safer if there is someone to help remove any confusion but also that some small amount of reordering by a teacher can help the learner to compensate for poor orders.

KW - Felicity-conditions hypothesis

KW - Instruction

KW - Learning

KW - Order effects

KW - Subprocedures

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84922760955&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84922760955&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195178845.003.0012

DO - 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195178845.003.0012

M3 - Chapter

AN - SCOPUS:84922760955

SN - 9780199893751

SN - 9780195178845

BT - In Order to Learn: How the sequence of topics influences learning

PB - Oxford University Press

ER -