The worked example effect, the generation effect, and element interactivity

2020-04-01T09:22:08Z (GMT) by Ouhao Chen Slava Kalyuga John Sweller
The worked example effect indicates that examples providing full guidance on how to solve a problem result in better test performance than a problem-solving condition with no guidance. The generation effect occurs when learners generating responses demonstrate better test performance than learners in a presentation condition that provides an answer. This contradiction may be resolved by the suggestion that the worked example effect occurs for complex, high-element interactivity materials that impose a heavy working memory load whereas the generation effect is applicable for low-element interactivity materials. Two experiments tested this hypothesis in the area of geometry instruction using students with different levels of prior knowledge in geometry. The results of Experiment 1 indicated a worked example effect obtained for materials high in element interactivity and a generation effect for materials low in element interactivity. As levels of expertise increased in Experiment 2, thus reducing effective complexity, this interaction was replaced by a generation effect for all materials. These results suggest that when students need to learn low-element interactivity material, learning will be enhanced if they generate rather than study responses but if students need to learn high-element interactivity material, study may be preferable to generating responses.