Abstract

In order to facilitate the transition from learning from worked examples in earlier stages of skill acquisition to problem solving in later stages, it is effective to successively fade out worked solution steps - in comparison to the traditional method of employing example-problem pairs that is frequently used in cognitive-load research. In the present studies, the learning processes and mechanisms that occur when learning in a computer-based learning environment containing faded worked solution steps were examined across two experiments. The first experiment showed that the position of the faded steps did not influence learning outcomes; instead, individuals learned most about those principles that were faded. This suggested that specific self-explanation activities are triggered by faded steps. The second experiment investigated this hypothesis directly by collecting and analyzing thinking-aloud protocols generated by the learners during their interaction with the learning environment. No effect on productive learning events including self-explanations could be found. It could, however, be shown that fading is associated with fewer unproductive learning events and, thereby, lends itself to better learning outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-82
Number of pages24
JournalInstructional Science
Volume32
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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